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How To Build a Jewelry Collection: 11 Must-Have Timeless Pieces

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Building a curated jewelry collection is just as important as creating a capsule wardrobe collection. In fact, it’s part of it! Building your collection is all about tailoring the right jewelry pieces to your personal style. When deciding what pieces to add to your jewelry collection, ask yourself: What do I need for everyday wear and special occasions? But don’t worry, you don’t have to come up with this list alone. To master how to build a jewelry collection, below you will discover the 11 must-haves you need in your stash!

But first, here are a few important things to keep in mind as you build your jewelry collection:

Choose the Right Metal for Your Skin Tone

Silver Jewelry

Before you choose what pieces of jewelry you need to build your collection, it can be helpful to know the best metal for your skin tone first. The pieces of jewelry you build your collection with can make a big impact on your overall look.

Should you get those gold earrings you love? Or the earrings in sterling silver? These are some dilemmas you may run into when finding a timeless piece that suits your complexion.

If you have fair skin with red undertones, experts recommend you avoid rose gold jewelry, as this tone will accentuate your pink undertones. You should pick silver jewelry instead because it will make your fair skin look fresh.

If you have cool or blue undertones, experts recommend silver jewelry to make your skin tone bright and clear.

Do you have warm undertones? Or is your skin tone olive and lightly tanned? Then choose gold jewelry as these will make you glow.

If you have a neutral skin tone then you’re in luck! Experts say any precious metal looks fantastic on people with neutral skin tones.

When in doubt, it’s best to visit a Color Analysis Professional so they can help you discover your best colors.

But if that’s not in the budget right now, it’s helpful to know that some jewelry pieces are more important to make sure they complement your skin tone than others. Things near your face, like earrings and necklaces are best if they match your skin undertones, while pieces like bracelets, rings, and watches aren’t as critical as they are away from your face.

But you may be wondering, “Should my metals and finishes match?” Well, that depends. For a timeless look, then yes, it’s best to have everything the same finish as coordinating jewelry is a no-fail way to look polished and put together.

But at the same time, it’s becoming less of a faux pas and more of a style statement to mix gold and silver jewelry.

Choose the Right Quality

Just like a clothing capsule wardrobe, the goal is to shop better and shop less. The point of building a jewelry capsule collection isn’t to fill your jewelry box with a bunch of cheap jewelry that will turn your skin green, leaving you to replace them in a few months.

Invest in the best jewelry you can afford and by following the styles on this list, you may find you never (or rarely) need to purchase any new jewelry again.

What to look for:

  • The term “Fine Jewelry”
  • Solid gold or silver
  • Gold or silver-plated
  • 14k+ gold
  • The word “diamond” instead of “rhinestone”

FYI, gold-plated and silver-plated are not the real thing, but they are still pretty good quality for what you are getting. Of course, if money is no option, then opt for real gold or silver as these will last longer.

Also, brass can be a good choice for jewelry, but if you’re sensitive to this metal and find you get a rash (no matter the quality), then it’s best to opt for sterling silver or stainless steel instead.

Where to shop:

You don’t go out to eat at Mcdonald’s and wonder why your meal doesn’t taste homemade. So you shouldn’t get your timeless jewelry at Forever21 and wonder why it doesn’t last.

Knowing where to shop is just as important as what pieces you get! These retailers have some of the best quality jewelry that’s also affordable:

The Pieces You Need for a Timeless Jewelry Collection

1. Hoops

If there’s one must-have piece that is a perfect accessory you need to build a jewelry collection, it’s hoops. These earrings don’t just elegantly dress up your earlobe, they work to make an outfit look chic and elevated too. Whether you opt for gold hoops or silver, they are a seasonless staple every woman needs in her jewelry capsule.

Small, medium, or large- which is the right choice? For a timeless look, choose small or medium hoops as these will subtly accentuate every outfit. If you’re only going to buy one pair, then choose an “everyday” hoop, meaning nothing too fancy or flashy. Ideally, you want a simple pair you can slip on every day and they’re so versatile they could match both your white t-shirt and your cocktail dress.

2. Dainty Necklace

A dainty necklace may seem like a small addition to a jewelry collection, but it is an unsung hero. You can wear it with literally anything for every occasion. This minimalist jewelry is also a great piece to instantly elevate a casual look. Not to mention it’s a quick and non-fussy way to look effortlessly put together on a busy morning.

And as your collection grows, this simple necklace can easily be layered with other pretty necklaces for a standout look.

Expert Tip: Buy dainty necklaces that come in sets of threes. Not only do you have a beautiful selection of dainty necklaces to choose from, but the layering has already been done for you.

3. Pendant Necklace

Pendant necklaces are versatile and subtly eye-catching. It can act as a statement necklace to bring life to a basic t-shirt or an unbuttoned blazer.

I love wearing my coin pendant necklace in the summer, but the best part is that this necklace can be easily customized, depending on your personal style.

The delicate chain can hold a bold and beautiful pendant that is meaningful to you, whether it’s your initials or someone else’s. I also have a pendant locket that houses pictures of my two boys, which makes this jewelry piece even better because it has personal significance.

The other fun part of a pendant necklace is that it can also be layered with a dainty pendant necklace!

Related: Everlane Sustainable Clothing Review | Good Basics for Your Wardrobe?

4. Watches (Gold, Silver, or Leather)

If there is one thing every perfect jewelry collection has in common, it’s a classic watch. This staple jewelry doesn’t just keep you on time, it works to make your outfit feel polished and to complete your other accessories too.

As you carry your work tote, this timeless jewelry will make your bag look extra sophisticated.

When picking a watch, you can go for gold, silver, or leather. Here it doesn’t matter what finish you opt for as much because it’s not close to your face. Plus, they all will still look chic!

5. Tennis Bracelet

This piece is coming back in popularity, but you can be sure it’s not just a passing phase. If something was popular decades back, then you can be sure it will be timeless for decades to come.

Initially, this piece of jewelry was called an eternity bracelet in the roaring twenties. But in 1978, when US tennis star Chris Evert lost her diamond and gold bracelet, she halted the match until she could find it (it was a pretty iconic moment!). In an interview after the match, she was asked about the incident and named her fine jewelry her “tennis bracelet.”

Tennis bracelets are great for stacking and layering on your wrist, as they can be paired with different things, like a classic watch.

A real diamond tennis bracelet will cost you thousands. So if you don’t want to spend that, you can choose a cubic zirconias tennis bracelet or skip the jeweled look altogether.

6. Tennis or Herringbone Chain Necklace

No jewelry collection is complete without a medium-weight necklace, usually in the form of a tennis necklace or herringbone chain necklace.

As you can guess, a tennis necklace is similar to a tennis bracelet. It is a jewelry trend that has been dominating the fashion world, but it is a piece that can be worn for years to come. This necklace will perfectly glisten against your skin and bring attention to your top.

And as far as a herringbone chain necklace, it’s the classier counterpart to a paperclip chain necklace. It can be layered effortlessly or adds the perfect amount of polish on its own.

7. Signet (or Dome) Ring

A signet ring is a staple jewelry item to build your jewelry collection. Though it has earned its reputation as a popular accessory among women, it was originally used by men as seals to confirm signatures on important documents.

Like the pendant necklace, a signet ring can be engraved with a monogram and other symbols to give the ring a unique and personal design. But if you aren’t a big fan of the signet ring, then consider a dome ring instead.

The styles are similar and either of them would give a chic addition to a jewelry box. If you want to adorn your fingers with the best jewelry choices, pick out a signet or dome ring!

8. Pearl Earrings

Nothing screams elegance like pearl earrings. These high-quality pieces can be used as a finishing touch for many different looks. From a little black dress to a white button-down shirt, it is a beautiful accent piece to make your outfit effortlessly luxe.

You can opt for a pair of drop earrings or simple yet cute stud earrings. Choose a drop pair if you imagine you’ll reserve your pearl earrings for formal occasions. Choose stud earrings if you still want that day-to-day appeal.

9. Pearl Necklace

You can always depend on a pearl necklace to give your outfit a glamorous look. A set of pearls have a timeless elegance, which would look amazing even when paired with a t-shirt.

If you want to build your jewelry collection with a pearl necklace, I recommend skipping the imitation pearls and investing in freshwater pearls instead.

Pearls are timeless but they can also have an outdated association. To update this style, choose a shorter pearl “choker” necklace over something long and chunky. You don’t want it to look fake or like it’s meant to be a part of a flapper’s costume!

10. Stud Earrings

A subtle way to add interest to a casual ensemble is with humble stud earrings. It could be with diamond studs or solid gold, no matter what the design is, they are all jewelry collection essentials.

Simple stud earrings have the power to look just as chic with your tank top as they do your LBD.

11. Dainty Rings

To effortless elevate your look, choose a pair of dainty stacking rings. These small but mighty jewelry pieces can be worn together or on their own, providing you with a bunch of styling ideas.

Make a statement by pairing them all together, or opt for understated elegance by wearing them separately.

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Buying chic and pretty jewelry is undoubtedly fun, but creating a cohesive collection that goes with your personal needs and signature look can be tough. And from huggies to ear cuffs to statement necklaces, there sure are a lot of styles out there that can easily overwhelm you. Luckily, this list will help you learn how to build a jewelry collection.

And though you’re not restricted to only wearing these 11 styles for the rest of your life, they are the perfect starting point. And you may find that you don’t need or want anything else!

Now, to keep your new jewelry collection neat and organized, you’ll need some storage boxes.

Up Next: 7 Best Jewelry Boxes for Earrings to Arrange and Showcase Your Favorite Pieces

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Founder and editor of My Chic Obsession, Carolyn is your trusted fashion maven. Carolyn's drive to help others achieve a classic and timeless wardrobe fuels her posts, making a go-to resource for style seekers worldwide. Beyond the wardrobe, she resides in the heartland of the Midwest, dreaming up new ideas and raising her two lively boys - her biggest fashion critics.