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Classics with a Twist

Spice up your favorite classic jewelry styles, with variations or touches that still work with any look.

They’re called classics for a reason. They are the jewelry styles so timeless they’re the go-to gift for life milestones and the must-haves for every woman’s jewelry box. They’re the necklaces chosen by female politicians who want to demonstrate their broad appeal, the earrings that can transition from day to evening without batting an eye or the bracelet that adds just a touch of no-nonsense feminine class to the black suit in the boardroom.

Yet once most women acquire the classics, where do they go next? For many women, graduating to more one-of-a-kind or designer pieces may not be quite the next step — they can be expensive and not as versatile as their beloved diamond studs or plain gold bangle. Yet they may be ready for something with just a bit more flair or personality than their play-it-safe staples. So if you’re ready for a twist on your beloved classics, here are a few recommendations.

The Classic: diamond stud earrings

The Twist: diamond drops or diamond shapes

Here’s what to love about discreet diamond studs: they’re demure enough to wear with your yoga pants and flip-flops to the coffee shop, stylish enough to accompany your business-casual sweater set and gorgeous enough to set off your little black dress.

If you’re ready for something with just a little more personality, consider a step up to a pair of short diamond drops, still intimate enough to practically hug the ear lobe but with just a little dangle to attract interest and express a bit of flair. Or stick with studs, but consider a new angle with a pair of heart-shaped or square (“princess-cut”) studs. You can also go for a slightly bigger diamond look with baguette earrings that surround the center stone with a flashier diamond look.

The Classic: cultured pearl strand

The Twist: pearl drops or alternated strands

Pearl strands are a lovely (and safe) accent for business and social attire alike. But some women might fear they come across as a bit conservative — and want a way to shake up these gorgeous gems from the sea.

A signature South Sea pearl drop necklace is one way to show off a soft, natural pearl without wearing an entire strand. Another option is a cultured pearl strand with a decorative diamond accent, adding an interesting conversation piece to your pearly whites. Finally, an alternated strand of pearls — with metal or other gemstones between the pearls themselves — adds a bit of breathing room to the traditional pearl strand.

The Classic: metal hoop earrings

The Twist: twisted hoops or gemstone hoops

Hoop earrings can be funky or traditional, urban or suburban, subtle or bold. It really depends on how you wear them — with quiet confidence or bold attitude.

When you’ve graduated beyond the unadorned gold or silver hoop, it might be time to explore a hoop with a bit more of a point of view. Hoops with a twist or swoop to them add some personality to the traditional circle. Engraved designs or double layers add depth and interest. Multiple colors of gold, or the addition of diamonds or color gemstones, adds shimmering beauty to an otherwise single-tone piece.

The Classic: bangle bracelet

The Twist: bangle with a different shape or accents

Adding a gold or silver bangle bracelet to your outfit suggests you dressed thoughtfully, as it adds a shimmering touch that catches people’s eyes when you gesture or use your hands throughout the day. Bangles can be simple and understated or stacked for a bigger impact.

If you’re ready to go beyond the basic bangle, try a “bypass” shape — a bangle that wraps your wrist without the ends meeting. You can shake things up with two-tone metal bangles, which are versatile enough to complement any color combination or other jewelry. Or, express yourself with a decorative charm bangle.

The Classic: diamond solitaire necklace

The Twist: setting variations or multiple stones

This simple, stunning classic, sitting daintily below the nape of your neck, is a thing of beauty. It goes equally well with T-shirts, V-neck sweaters, shift dresses and workout clothes. It’s so adaptable, in fact, that women who wear them often never take them off.

If you’re ready for something a little different but still covet the demure flicker of light hanging just at your neckline, consider a variation on the “DSN” (the nickname for diamond solitaire necklace). A diamond solitaire inside a decorative setting, for example, adds a touch of romance to the simple solitaire look. A three-stone drop necklace maintains the simple elegance of the diamond solitaire, but with a touch more splash. Another popular look is the diamond “station” necklace, a metal chain with multiple spaced diamonds. 

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