Thursday, November 3, 2011

Making it match - tips for the wearer and for the designer

You take care to make sure your shoes don't clash abominably with your clothing; you wouldn't wear purple pants with a red shirt - but so often I see people wearing earrings, bracelets, and necklaces, all in different (and incohesive) styles.

I wouldn't say it's imperative for jewellery to match up perfectly. It doesn't need to be a matching set to match. I've put together five tips for the jewellery aficionado to pull it all together, and another five tips for the jeweller on making matching pieces.

You're a devotee of lovely jewellery. Keep your style cohesive by following a few rules:

1. Choose the right colours. Of course they don't need to be perfect, but if you have an electric blue stone in your necklace, don't choose earrings or a bracelet with clashing colours.

2. Find the right balance. If you have earrings that are very elaborate and "loud" choose a bracelet or necklace that is simple. Maybe you have the kind of personality that can pull off a "loud" style in all of your jewellery pieces? Then you should choose a perfectly matching set.

3. Metals should match. Typically, it looks a bit off if you are wearing yellow gold rings and silver toned rings at the same time. You might not think anyone is noticing, but I can assure you that somebody is! That somebody is ME, and I'm silently judging you. Just kidding. But I'm serious about matching metals. Just do it.

4. Think about the clothes you're wearing. You like long, flowing skirts and you're into boho chic? That huge pair of gypsy hoops and 25 bracelets works with your outfit. Don't make the same mistake and wear the same jewellery with a business suit. Of course, that's an obvious example, and most fashion choices are much more subtle than that, but just take a second to ask yourself if your jewellery feels right with the clothes you have on.

5. Break the rules sometimes. Why not? Be an innovator. You might hit on something great.

You make jewellery. How can you put together a lovely matching set for a client or for yourself?

1. Use the same materials for all pieces. This is the easiest way to make it all come together. Use the same colour of gems, beads and metal.

2. Repeat the same techniques in all matching pieces. It's not absolutely imperative to do so, but it will certainly tie the jewellery together with a common style if the same techniques are utilized. I used filigree, granulation, and a dark patina on the earrings and necklaces above. Repetition of the same technique tells the wearer that the jewellery is a set (and pulls attention away from the fact that the paua in the earrings are far more blue than the cab in the necklace!

3. Keep notes, sketches, and photographs. You never know when you are going to be asked for something that matches something you sold ages ago. It's such a good resource to have a comprehensive record of your designs, anyway. I always refer back to my sketchbook to cannibalize old ideas, and I think I might totally forget about pieces I've sold if I didn't photograph everything!

4. Don't be lazy. So you have three identical components and you want to throw one on a chain, and the other two on earring hooks? I think you can do better!

5. Go ahead and break the rules. Like I've already mentioned, the stones in the necklace at the top don't quite match the earrings in the set. The bracelet above is executed in a different metal than the earrings. As long as you can get a sense of cohesion, I believe you've made a matching set. Just don't break rule #4.

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