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Buying your bridal jewellery should be a fun and enjoyable shopping experience. To help you save time I’ve put together a three part series to take away some of the guess work. The rest of the guessing you get to do is the fun stuff! Part One looks at researching shops and finding your personal style. Part Two looks at necklaces and necklines, to help you determine if you can match a necklace with your style of dress, or go for an earrings and bracelet set instead. Now that you’ve done some research from Part One and Part Two we can go forward.

5 Things to consider:
• What’s your budget? (allow for an extra 10 – 15% just in case).
• Is matching the style or era of your wedding gown important to you?
• What hairstyle will you be wearing? Will your earrings be visible?
• Will you be wearing a tiara? (If yes choose simple and elegant jewellery.)
• Would you like the jewellery to have after wedding wearability?

Colour me Beautiful
The Dress: The colour of your dress is key to deciding what metal to pair with it. Pure or bright white dresses are perfect with silver and platinum. Gold compliments cream or ivory coloured dresses. And barely off-white dresses, because it’s an in-between colour, can look great with either metal. The undertones of your dress will help your decide, creamy or yellowish (gold), gray or bluish (silver) or neutral (either metal).

Brave Souls: For you ladies who are getting married in a coloured dress (not white, or a shade of white), keep your jewellery simple. The fabric of your dress will determine the metal colour, some silks have an almost metallic undertone so use that as a guide. Don’t overdo it with jewellery in the same colour of your dress, if you want colour try a tint or shade of your dress colour, colourless gems or only metal jewellery.

Accessories: What is the style and colour of your shoes and clutch (or handbag)? You don’t need to be too matchy, you can mix shiny and matte finishes together in silver or gold. If you have silver shoes and a clutch with gold accents you can appease the two with mixed-metal jewellery. It’s easier though to stick to just one metal for such a formal occasion.

Themes & Decor: Your bridal jewellery should reflect the formality of your dress and wedding. Elaborate jewellery is best suited to formal or specially themed weddings. You can choose to match your jewellery with your theme or decor colours (hollywood glam in black and white, enchanted forest in blue and green), it can be obvious, subtle or not themed at all.

Sparkle, Shimmer and Pop
Pearls: From the classic single strand to modern mixed layers, pearls are always welcome at weddings. If traditional pearls aren’t your style look for modern designs that incorporate pearls with metals and gems for a more updated look. Pearls look great with any colour of dress, but true white pearls should be paired with a bright white dress. Cultured pearls are affordable and come a variety of colours, sizes and shapes.

Gems: Coloured gemstones are all the rage right now. Don’t be shy to add some colour to your ensemble. You don’t need to spend a fortune on fine jewellery pieces. Fine-fashion jewellery is an affordable alternative, and heirloom friendly too. No matter what colour your dress is there is a stone or combination of stones that will dazzle. Gemstones are extremely versatile, they come different price ranges, cuts and a rainbow of colours.

Imitation Stones: These man-made stones are quite formal and have high impact sparkle. Swarovski crystals are made of leaded glass, Cubic Zirconia is a man-made diamond substitute, and Rhinestones are made from glass or acrylic. More expensive Rhinestones are coated rock crystal, but these stones are more uncommon now. Imitation stones are an inexpensive alternative to diamond jewellery.

Jewellery Sets
If you’re wearing a medium to bold styled necklace your earrings should be understated. A tiara is a wonderful accessory that demands your other accessories be very simple and elegant. On the other hand if you have a high halter or asymmetrical dress, eye-catching earrings are all you need to complete your look. You can also go for an elegant or elaborate bracelet, or a cuff with short sleeve and sleeveless dresses. The best rule to have is ‘don’t overdo it and try to create a sense of balance’.

“Simplicity, carried to an extreme, becomes elegance.”
– Jon Franklin

Quick Tip: If comfort is important to you on your wedding day, or you don’t usually wear jewellery, look for earrings that aren’t too heavy and necklaces that are more delicate. Bib, elaborate and layered necklaces might be too hot, especially for a summer wedding.

Despite your planning and searching you may not find the piece you’ve been hoping for. That’s were a Jewellery Artist like me comes in. If you have an idea about what you want – it can be made into the jewellery you’ve always envisioned. You can shop ready to wear bridal jewellery or contact me for more information.

Don’t forgo your personal preferences when selecting bridal jewellery. You should look exactly the way you’ve dreamed. I hope this series has been helpful. Enjoy your special day!

Read Parts One and Two:
Bridal Jewellery Guide: Part 1 – Before you Buy
Bridal Jewellery Guide: Part 2 – Necklace Styles & Dress Necklines

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At this stage you’re probably ready to go shopping! Maybe you have a era-inspired or vintage dress and would like to stay in the same time-period. Or you’re looking for modern jewellery that’s in keeping with your dress and wedding style. These are some considerations, but don’t forget that your accessories can add character too. You don’t need to play by the rules. Having said though, you don’t want to have an unflattering neckline, so lets look at some ideal matches.

Special Note: If your dress is embellished, match the beads of your dress with your jewellery. For example if your dress is beaded with pearls, pearl jewellery is complimentary. If your dress is embroidered or embellished with crystals or rhinestones it’s extra important to keep the jewellery simple and understated.

V-neck-NecklineV- Neck
Choose a necklace that follows the lines of the dress. Make sure that the entire necklace can be seen and doesn’t get lost in your cleavage. If the v-neck is high look for choker or collar necklaces with or without a pendant.

Choose: Pendant, Y-drop or short Lariat

Sweetheart necklines come in a variety of styles: sleeveless, long sleeves, cap sleeves or straps. All of these sleeve styles aside the neckline rules stay the same. The necklace styles are very similar to the v-neck.

Choose: Pendant, Y-drop, short Lariat, Princess or Choker with or without a pendant or drop.

The round neckline can look good with a variety of necklaces, depending on your style you can select single or multiple strand necklaces, they can trace the inside shape of the neckline.

Choose: Pendant, Y-drop, short Lariat, Single or multi-strand necklace.

The scoop neckline is one of the most versatile styles for jewellery. The scoop shows the collarbone and normally stops just above the cleavage, so jewellery that rests along or just under your collarbone is the most flattering.

Choose: Collars and Chokers alone or with pendants, Princess length single or multi-strand necklace, Y-drops, short Lariats.

Off-the-Shoulder (Portrait)
Another gown with great jewellery versatility. Again you’ll want to imitate the lines of the dress keeping the necklace inside the shape of the neckline.

Choose: Chokers alone or with pendants, Princess length single or multi-strand necklace, Y-drops, short Lariats.

This classic and elegant neckline begs for simplicity. Necklaces can be worn close to the throat for a formal look, or long for a more modern approach.

Choose: Collar or Choker – single or multi-strand. Daring? Try a long Lariat or Rope wrapped, loose or knotted.

This neckline is high and round like a crew neck. It can be sleeveless or with sleeves. This style suits jewellery that fits close to throat like the Bateau.

Choose: Collar or Choker – single or multi-strand.

A very popular neckline for bridal gowns, and versatile. Keep necklaces and pendants at least an 1 inch above the neckline. If you want to try something more daring look for a glamourous long rope or lariat.

Choose: Collar, Choker, Pendant, Single or multi-strand. Daring? Try a long Opera length necklace, Lariat or Rope knotted.

One Shoulder or Asymmetrical Neckline
This style of dress looks best without a necklace. You can wear one, but a fabulous pair of simple stud, dangle, chandelier or shoulder-duster earrings would be ideal.

Choose: Earrings, Bracelets, Hair pin or Headpiece.

This neckline has well defined right angles and can be a relatively high neckline or it can rest just above the bust. Select organic shapes and curves to soften the neckline.

Choose: Collar or chokers, single or multi-strand. Princess necklaces that end 1 inch above the neckline.

Halters come in two styles, wide or high and narrow. High and narrow halters don’t suit necklaces, like the asymmetric neckline earrings and bracelets are best. The silhouette of the halter dress to the left is an example of a wide halter neckline. Below are the styles for the wider neckline.

Choose: Pendant, Y-drop, of short Lariat.

Queen Anne or Elizabethan
This neckline needs no adornment, let it shine by selecting jewellery that flatters the era of your dress.

Choose: Earrings, Bracelet, Hair pin or Headpiece.

Hopefully this helps you find the perfect type and length of jewellery for your dress. If you’re having difficulty picking a necklace or jewellery set remember to keep it simple. Coming soon is Part 3: Colours & Materials, where I’ll talk about the types of jewellery metals, gems and colours that hot for 2011 and beyond.

Read: Bridal Jewellery Guide: Part 1 – Before you Buy

Stay tuned for: Part 3 – Colours, Materials & Gems

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