How to Wear an Heirloom Jewel

Jewellery editor NATASHA SHERLING on how to wear an heirloom jewel on your BIG DAY and how to MAKE IT YOUR OWN


I find jewellery always makes a welcome gift – and never more than when it comes with the sentiment of being a family heirloom. With an eye on Glossy Weddings, I’m particularly thinking of brides-to-be at this time – but really these simple rules apply to anyone lucky enough to find themselves with new sparklers in/on their hands!

In an ideal world, these pieces will come your way weeks before they need to be worn. This gives time for a few must-dos. First on the list: bring the item(s) into a jeweller to be cleaned, and to have all prongs checked to ensure the stones are still safe in their settings.

Now, it’s time to establish if they will actually work with your dress and vision. If not, be ruthless. Maybe they can be worn for a rehearsal dinner or for brunch the next day?

Small tweaks are easy – I often talk about adding posts to clip-on earrings, for pierced ears. But another great one to know about is rhodium plating yellow gold – a fairly inexpensive and usually straightforward procedure that is far cheaper that resetting a whole piece, especially if the colour is the only thing putting you off because platinum or white gold is what you usually wear. Full redesign of a piece is of course no problem – although this might depend whether you’re keeping the jewel, or if it’s just acting as your ‘something borrowed’.

Finally, keep things fresh by changing how a jewel is worn. Modernise a brooch – attached it to a bouquet ribbon, or get your stylist to sew it into your hair, as inspired by Elle Fanning for Tiffany & Co – either to the side of an up do, or to assist in securing the veil in place. Depending on the shape and size of the brooch, the pin could be substituted for a shank by a good goldsmith, to make the most dazzling cocktail ring to wear long after the Big Day has passed.

Natasha Sherling

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