11 Jewellery Rules To Follow

11 Jewellery Rules To Follow

Jewellery is the key to a woman’s heart – or so the age-old saying goes – and whether it’s a family heirloom, a special present from a loved one, or just something cheap but cheerful, getting it right (à la Marga Pau) can make or break a look. But how do we make that precious piece or string of pearls work in the modern day? We asked the experts for their advice…
Photography: @MARGAPAU

All products on this page have been selected by our editorial team, however we may make commission on some products.

Should you change your jewellery as you get older?

Monica Vinader, founder, Monica Vinader: I’ve never believed there should be any rules when it comes to styling or picking your jewellery – I’m all for wearing what you want, when you want.
Dinny Hall, founder & creative director, Dinny Hall: I’m a great one for the design ethos: update and renew. I don’t buy into the idea of looking dated just because you may be getting older. Jewellery should not be thrown away, though I have been known to put some things away for a long time only to wear in a different way some years later.  
Katie Rowland, head of creative & product, Astley Clarke: I don’t think our taste in jewellery is dictated by age but by our individual style. Women don’t hit a certain age and suddenly have to wear a twinset and pearls. Something that does change as you get older, however, is what you place value on within the realms of your own jewellery style. Materials and the quality of a piece become increasingly important.
Gail Goodrich, founder, Argent of London: There are no rules – wear what you enjoy and what suits you. Twenty years ago, I remember selling our timeless silver collar to both an 18-year-old and an 80-year-old on the same day. Both looked fabulous in it. My only rule is not to match your jewellery.

Are there any jewellery trends you should avoid? 

Monica: I don’t believe there are any styles that are off limits – wear whatever you feel good in, whether it’s trend-driven or classic.
Dinny: Heavy earrings which pull down the ear lobes is not a good look, and too many ill-fitting stacked rings stuffed onto fingers can look uncomfortable. But, in general, I firmly believe all grown-ups should be able to try any trend they want, and it’s never too late to get a piercing! That said, anything too big or small in the ears is a no-no.
Gail: Personally, I don’t follow jewellery trends. Trends are often made from inexpensive materials and I believe that, if you’re buying a proper piece, you want something well made.
Katie: Pearls with a twinset! Although the Queen wears them very well.

What are your thoughts on mixing metals? 

Monica: I have long been a fan of mixing metals, but I think women can be intimidated by this. Buying a few pieces in a new metal finish is an easy way to inject a fresh spin on your existing jewellery styling, and the beauty is you can really change that styling day to day. We also often hear people lament that a certain metal doesn’t look good on their skin tone, but mixing metals is an easy way to blend in a metal you want to try and get used to seeing it against your skin.
Gail: I’m wearing four necklaces today. Mixing metals was my raison d’être when I started because I love the combination of silver and gold. I think a gold pendant on a silver chain looks great. Twenty years ago, everyone was wearing silver and, perversely, as gold has got more expensive, more and more people are wearing it. But the end result is there are a lot of a fake gold pieces out there that don’t have the same longevity as the real stuff.

Which metals are best for an older-looking complexion?

Dinny: As with a younger complexion, it’s skin tone that matters, not age. Anybody of any age can wear any metals they choose, just work out which suit your colouring best.

Any jewellery trends that grown-ups shouldn't be afraid to try? 

Monica: Ear stacking! Styling multiple earrings with different shapes, textures and sizes is a great way to be fearless with your look and show more personality and attitude. This doesn’t mean you have to have a ton of piercings – cuffs provide a great alternative for those who want a stacked look without getting pierced. We’re gearing up to launch our first piercing studio later this month in our Duke of York boutique and the early access sign-ups really reflect a desire amongst customers of all ages to get additional piercings.
Dinny: There’s no age limit! My 83-year-old mother was due to have a second piercing pre-pandemic and it’s still on the cards.

What about the less is more rule? 

Gail: Less is not more, it’s about what works for you. Layering is fun! I’ve got one necklace at 15 inches, one at 16.5, one at 18 and sometimes a long one too. I’m also wearing six separate pieces on my right wrist.
Monica: I don’t think there’s a right answer here. Again, it’s about wearing what makes you feel best, whether that’s a minimalist or a statement piece. I look at someone like Lyn at @AccidentalIcon who really goes for both aesthetics, based on what she feels like wearing, and she looks amazing in both delicate and statement pieces.
Dinny: I’ve always been in favour of this rule, but some people do like to pile on the jewellery and, if you have the panache to do so, it can look great. But you need that sense style and confidence.
Katie: Only in terms of purchasing – in other words, buying well and buying better.

What are your thoughts on statement earrings as you get older? 

Dinny: I have a great friend, who is now in her seventies, and she can wear huge hoops and look incredible – if you’ve got a good jaw line, statement earrings can look spectacular. 

What about mixing styles?

Monica: I’m a huge fan of mixing contemporary jewellery with heirloom pieces – it’s such a treat for the eyes and an easy way to create a look that’s completely you, combining pieces only you own with something more widely available. As we all try to become more sustainable, more and more people are styling their jewellery this way – i.e. looking to buy pre-loved pieces or wear items they already own alongside some new.

Are brooches outdated? 

Dinny: Brooches can feel a bit dated. I designed one recently for our Suffragette collection with the three emblematic colours – violet, white and green – set in gemstones on the top. I wear it in place of a safety pin to give it a modern twist. Alternatively, you can wear brooches like badges, and a few collected together will look a bit fresher. But apart from that one, I don't think I’ll be designing more any time soon.

How can you update a string of pearls to feel more modern?

Dinny: My advice would be to wear them layered with chains, as one on its own – whether short or long – will feel dated. If you have a string of real pearls lying about at home, send them to be cleaned and restrung – it’s like a facelift for old pearls.

Which women in the limelight get jewellery just right?

Monica: Grece Ghanem has become a style icon: I love her fearless style choices and the way she uses jewellery to express herself.
Katie: She’s still young, but I think Leandra Medine-Cohen is a woman who unapologetically owns her personal style with an eclectic collection of jewellery.
Dinny: Sharon Stone, Helen Mirren, Michelle Obama, Susan Sarandon and professor/ fashion blogger Lyn Slater, to name a few.

DISCLAIMER: We endeavour to always credit the correct original source of every image we use. If you think a credit may be incorrect, please contact us at info@sheerluxe.com.

The GOLD Edition from SheerLuxe
Delivered to your inbox, monthly.