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Wrap Around

Pamela Ditmer McKuen covers the statement necklace.

    A statement necklace is a powerful piece of jewelry. Purposely oversized, eye-catching and often outrageous, it commands attention: Be who you are or who you want to be, and everyone will know.
    Unlike other fashion trends, this one is more about the wearer than the creator, says image consultant and author Eve Michaels of Beverly Hills, California.
    “A statement necklace gives the woman a chance to creatively express her unique personality, fashion type and flair,” Michaels says. “In uncertain economic times, it makes us feel more glamorous, and that’s a good thing. It’s as if we are celebrating abundant times, even if at the moment this seems like wishful thinking.”
    “Almost every woman looks good wearing highly visible jewelry at or near the neckline,” says Jill Maier, vice president of design for Stamford, Connecticut-based Carolee. “Color or sparkle only adds to the effect.”
    Accessories have been on the super-size-me track for a few years—first handbags, then shoes, and now jewelry. But it’s not just a matter of big. It’s about the mix and the silhouette. Silver and gold. New and old. Layers of chains or pearls or both. A bib of seed beads, a choker of crystals, a truly remarkable pendant, anything asymmetric.
    Renowned for his startling design alchemy is Irish-born Tom Binns. His Tough Chic collection pits pearls, silver and crystal against iconic skulls and spikes. He’s done cameo with rusted metal and many an exclusive vintage reconstruction. (Most prices are $700 to $1,500, but can go higher)
    For über-drama, NYC-based Tara & Sons offers a double-strand necklace of marble-sized black Tahitian and white South Sea pearls, centered by a blossom fashioned from nearly 10 carats of black and white diamonds ($79,995).
    At Steve Quick Jeweler in Lincoln Park, the “Riviera” necklace has a lot to say about traditional elegance. It’s made up of a single strand of diamonds, similar to a tennis bracelet. The stones can be graduated with larger ones in front and smaller ones in back. Prices start about $6,500 and head skyward.
    The custom jeweler also stirs conversation with a strong color palette, offering such novelties as spessartite garnets and rubelites. Perhaps you prefer multi-hued sapphires by the yard.
    “We’re also doing combinations of less exotic stones, like garnet and citrine and peridot, all on the same piece, sometimes with very large stones or interspersed with pearls,” says Steve Quick. “The result is a beautiful splash of color for someone who wants a statement necklace, but without the diamond price.”
    Carolee LUX, the upscale collection by Carolee, is showing assorted semi-precious stones, freshwater and simulated pearls and light-bending crystals. Delicate and elegant is the Flowers in Bloom grouping, where pearls and crystals of varying size are fashioned into floral medallions. One piece is a pearl torsade—a thick necklace made from multiple strands and then twisted, clasped by a single large medallion ($295). Another piece is a strand of graduated pearls with a bib-like bouquet of medallions in front ($350).
    The great thing about statement necklaces is they go round-the-clock. Some women might save the more glittery pieces for ritzy social occasions, but it’s really a matter of personal style. You’ll see high-drama jewelry worn with jeans and simple sheath dresses. Just remember to let the necklace do the talking.
    “For the corporate woman, tone the statement way down to a bold whisper, please,” says Michaels. “Large gold chains or some ropes of pearls are more than enough.”
    “Necklines should be simple and uncluttered,” says Maier. “Evening is easy because necklines are usually low and open, creating a nice ‘canvas’ of skin. For daytime, stick to collarless necklines, v-necks or open jackets that leave space for a focal point.”
    On the November cover of O, The Oprah Magazine, Oprah Winfrey wore a black v-neck sweater to frame her statement-maker by Karry’O. It’s a necklace of large hammered and smooth gold discs dotted with orange and black cabochons ($2,289).
    “Statement looks can be created simply by layering pieces a woman may already own or by buying new pieces to combine in unique ways,” says Michaels. “Fearless fashion.”

Published: December 05, 2008
Issue: Winter 2008 - Annual Philanthropy Guide


Great articles
Hi, I just wanted to say that I love reading your articles. As a bride-to-be on a tight budget, I recently discovered an online bridal jewelry store called GlamForLess.com. Though their website is plain and simple, I found some great deals on jewelry sets for me and my bridesmaids. I think other readers on a tight budget may also find GlamForLess.com to be helpful. You may want to check them out at http://www.glamforless.com/ and inform other readers about it. Keep up the good work. Best regards, Lisa Bloom
Lisa Bloom, Aug-26-2009