Style bites – The etiquette of Jewellery

April 17, 2015

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From her wonderful Blog Edwardian PromenadeEvangeline Holland outlines the Edwardian etiquette of wearing jewellery, lets see how we can use this knowledge today.

1) A lady’s morning dress should be simple and refined, and suited to the time of day. Neither is much jewellery consistent; plain gold and silver ornaments are permissible, but never precious stones, except in rings.

In other words – Less is more! Simplicity is often the key to a refined and elegant look.  Even Chanel herself suggested that one should look in a full length mirror prior to leaving the house.  Have a good look and then… take 1 thing off.

2) In the ball-room jewellery is generally worn in sets; ornaments never look so well if pieces of different sets are displayed together; that is to say, if diamonds are in the brooch, a necklet of pearls and earrings set with emeralds would not look well if worn on the same occasion. All the ornaments should match in character as much as possible, but variety is allowed in the matter of bracelets.

On the dance floor aim for everything to match in some way.  Another way to achieve this is by choosing a theme (e.g. gold ‘Ancient Roman’ look) and keeping within that theme

Elise Panther

Elise Panther Necklace

3) It is not considered good taste for a man to wear much jewellery. A plain, handsome ring, studs, and sleeve-links, a watch-chain without pendants, will always look more seemly than a great display of elaborate ornaments.

So gentlemen… keep it simple, mind you if you are up for wearing french cuffs and a well tailored vest everyday then a beautiful set of cufflinks and fob chain and pocket watch can be divine!

4) Brides do not wear much jewellery, especially when they are young girls.

This makes perfect sence, on your big day you don’t want to be overshadowed by your accessories!

5) At the opera, the full brilliancy of evening dress is seen, with tiaras or diamond stars or combs in every head, and a proportionate display of jewellery on the neck and dress.

Ok, so this is the big one, one event you want to pull out all the stops… bring out the bling! This is one time when less is useless… more is best! but in saying that we don’t actually have these kinds of major societal events anymore.  The Opera during the Edwardian period was the height of the social calendar, its when you would be expected to rub shoulders with socialites etc.  So imagine the most formal, important or biggest event you have attended, this is what we’re talking about! make it our time to shine!

I hope you have fun with these little ‘rules’.



Etiquette of Good Society by Lady Colin Campbell

Etiquette for Every Day by Mrs. Humphry

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