Bling Goes Bold

Wedding Jewelry with Attitude

by Carolyn Gerin

articles_alt Wedding magazines are bigger than ever and filled with page after page of fresh ideas, most of them rendered in white—a virtual snowstorm of options. From the dress to the silk slingbacks to the jewelry, you could mix and match entire schools of design and philosophies of fashion, and as long as white is your co-pilot, you can’t possibly go wrong. 

White is a stunning color to be sure, and if it loves you, by all means wear it—your skin will benefit from its illuminating qualities. But if your inner bride is thirsting for something beyond white—perhaps a splash of aqua or fuchsia?—go ahead and indulge your fantasy. You’ll pump up the glam factor in your ensemble by adding color, and you’ll avoid looking like a production-line cupcake. After all, a wedding is an exuberant, passionate affair, not to mention the ultimate opportunity to strut your signature style and rule your runway.

Sure, you say. I’d love to inject a little color into the mix. And yet, like so many brides, you end up nixing the idea and defaulting to the predictable refuge of a classic all-white look. Why? If color in wedding jewelry and accessories is so hip and happening, then what’s keeping you from taking the plunge? Here’s our “dime store psychologist” explanation: The left side of your brain pleads “safety,” while the right side screams “sexy.” You want to exude glamour, but you don’t want to appear too trendy. You want to evoke Grace Kelly’s timeless elegance in your wedding photos, but you don’t want to look cookie-cutter. Making the decision to accessorize outside the box is just too scary, so you follow the path of least resistance and say, “Yes, I’ll take the simple strand of pearls and the diamond studs, please. They won’t compete with the dress, and they’re neutral enough for every day.”

Neutral? Everyday? For your wedding?

We don’t think so!

Tiny Risks = Big Benefits

Ladies, being innovative doesn’t mean taking huge risks. We’re not asking you to wear a shocking pink peek-a-boo petticoat under your gown, à la Gwen Stefani, but we are asking you to consider pairing colored accessories with a white or colored dress to jazz up your look. You’ll get kudos from your fashionista friends for having the guts to do it, and of course you’ll get the glory for looking runway fabulous.

But, you ask, what about tradition, family honor, and Mom’s pearls (especially if the pearls in question are non-negotiable?) If you must wear them, by all means do, but popping on a pair of ruby and pearl chandeliers turns up the wattage and it’s fresh. Mom’s happy and you’re looking hot, so everybody wins. If you embrace color as your friend, color will reward you in spades.

Getting to Glam

Size, color, shape and scale are all about point of view: those chartreuse shoulder duster earrings that look great on one woman might completely overpower another. To get with the program you’ll need to whip out your Elles and Vogues and educate your jewelry eye by creating a Style File that’s all about you. Chandelier earrings are still the rage, and look great with a messy updo. Candy-colored cocktail rings that recapture old Hollywood are back with a vengeance. Pearls are the thing for spring, but this time around, they’re the size of jawbreakers. So don’t think dainty and demure: supersize your gems, and get with the glam. The easiest way to add a little more zing, is a dash of color in your bling.


Operation Extraordinary Bling

We understand that although you may not have Liz Taylor’s jewelry budget, you still want something that makes a dramatic W-day statement (you will wear those turquoise-and-diamond chandelier earrings again—at that hot new restaurant with your hubby on date night). To help you out, we’ve compiled a short list of the rock stars of the rock trade for every price range.
So, ladies, eat a good breakfast, do your sun salutations, grab your Style File, and let’s start shopping. Just step into our jet-powered convertible for a journey to a gem-studded galaxy. Some of our picks require a little mouse action, and the rest a quick trip around the Bay Area, easy and breezy. Our savvy style sampling will take you way past basic bling.

Audrey takes the plunge

articles_alt Breakfast at Tiffany’s, a night on the town, and your wedding day all have one thing in common: a necklace that makes a big, bold statement yet is simultaneously “ladylike.” These punked-up pearls are not your mothers’ prom pearls—they have color, scale and attitude. Rubener Bautista, famed protégé of the late Harry Fireside, knows what women want: reinterpreted tradition with a sense of whimsy, and a nod to retro glam. Why do we love them? You can pile them on, or mix and match as needed for a mere $280 a strand. In gold, green, pink, blue and navy Majorca Pearls with sterling silver and Austrian crystal clasps.

Beach Blanket Bohemian

articles_alt  Just when you thought you were going to deposit that tax refund check into your 401K, you open Elle and see Maria Elena Uzcategui’s fabulous Double Gypsy turquoise-and-diamond 18K chandeliers and say to yourself, well I could put this check away for my retirement, but who the hell is going to care how hot I look then? So you rationalize: I can wear them with my Kate Hudson-esque, rich-hippie crinkled silk wedding gown and anytime I want to look sizzling on date night. I can even rock my “Desperate Housewives” look at the Safeway! These are all fiscally sound reasons to spend $2,900 on something real (and real gorgeous) for your wedding day. 

Vegas Vixenry

articles_alt You might almost bet the house on the Bellagio necklace by Forbeadin’, it’s that perfect. The right mix of marvelous and messy, it’s a jumble of freshwater pearls, Swarovski crystals and wrapped, gold-filled wire. Why do we love it? It’s equally at home at the high rollers table, the Baccarat Lounge, or a beach wedding. Throw it on with a blazer and a pencil skirt after the wedding, and dominate the sales meeting like a Bond girl. Not overly formal, but decidedly glam, the Bellagio weighs in at a modest $625, and is part of a luxury line of atelier creations by Donna Davis, custom tiara designer and jeweler extraordinaire.

Glitterati Gal

articles_altIf you loved Sharon Stone’s glamazon look in Casino, you’ll love the cocktail rings at Simayof. These rings are reminiscent of Palm Beach socialites, Valley of the Dolls, ladies who lunch, a chic updo, and martinis by the pool. Pair a My Michelle ring with some glittery diamond hoops and a strapless sheath and you are très chic. No need for a necklace—you’ve made your statement with aplomb (and a wink).  Fun cocktail rings in semiprecious stones surrounded by diamonds in 18K white and yellow gold range in price from $3,079 to $5,121. Ladies, if you love these rings as much as we do, raise your right hand!

Greek Goddess

articles_altYou are Venus rising from the Aegean wearing this 18K yellow gold and lemon citrine pendant from Christensen Heller Galleries. Strung on an amber silk cord, it glows against your tanned skin and sleek white column dress as you walk to meet your fiancé, Apollo. Well, maybe your fiancé is named Jay, but you can still be Venus, evoking another century with the loveliest necklace we’ve seen in a millennium. It’s simple, with a dash of clean Modernism, and we love its color, scale, informality and ability to do double duty: wedding dress and sundress. Retail price: $1,053.

About The Author: Carolyn Gerin is the creator and co-author of the bestselling Anti-Bride Guide, Anti-Bride Planner and Anti-Bride Etiquette Guide at Chronicle Books.


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