Bold yet easy to wear, cuff bracelets are our new (old) favorite. The statement making bracelets can be found in every material; and they look just as great with a sweater and jeans as they do with a little black dress.
The best classic cuff design is the Maltese Cross by Verdura. Originally designed in 1936 by Duke Fulco di Verdura for Coco Chanel, the bracelet is still produced by Verdura today. Each bracelet is fitted to the customer’s wrist and some of the bracelets have a detachable cross that can be interchanged with cuffs of various materials. Elsa Peretti’s Bone Cuff for Tiffany & Co. is quite possibly the sexiest piece of jewelry around. The classic organic design is available in 18kt yellow gold, silver, or ruthenium over copper for the budget conscious.
Bakelite, which is a dense synthetic resin, is a colorful option for cuffs. Invented in 1907, it was popular in kitchen items and jewelry through the 1940s because of the ease with which it could be molded and carved. It can be found in modern and vintage jewelry; although some of the very colorful, unusual period pieces can be as expensive as their precious metal counter parts.
If you dare follow in the path of the great style icon Coco Chanel you may want to stack your cuffs or wear a pair, one on each wrist.
Pearls are like the little black dress of your jewelry collection. Pearls are beautiful, come in many subtle variations of color to flatter any skin tone while casting light on to the wearer’s face. They pop into our minds when we think of many style icons such as Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Gloria Guiness (in photograph), Wallis Simpson and our new First Lady, Michelle Obama.
Today women have many options for wearing pearls. The single strand pearl necklace or ear studs, no matter what the millimeter size, are always classics. But, many female power brokers are seen wearing a single strand of large South Sea or Tahitian pearls: Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader is always seen in pearls. Thanks to the low cost of Chinese freshwater pearls, rope length necklaces, found in many different shapes and pallets, are a fun alternative. These can be worn long, straight or with a knot, or wrapped around the neck or wrist several times, reminiscent of Coco Chanel. So, whichever style fits your personal style, pearls are versatile and fabulous!
In closing, I am not sure whose grandmother said it first, but pearls should always be the last thing put on and the first thing taken off. They, as well as the string that holds them, are very delicate and can be stained or damaged by lotion, perfume or hairspray.
For more information I recommend: The Pearl Book: the definitive buying guide, by Antoinette L. Matlins, PG, GemStone Press, Woodstock, VT