I have really narrowed down my jewelry collection over the past few years, partly because I've been focusing on defining my own personal style and trying to have my wardrobe reflect that, and partly because I don't wear a ton of jewelry. I have a core set of simple, good quality, and versatile pieces that go with everything, a few pieces that are a bit more unique or statement pieces, and some pieces that are sentimental from family, travels, etc. I tend to prefer brass and gold - I like the way the warmer tones go with my wardrobe and skin tone. I also usually just stick to earrings. Sometimes I'll wear a bracelet, and I usually don't wear necklaces, although I have a few that I'll pop on every once in a while. Defining these categories, as well as the specific types of jewelry I gravitate towards and enjoy the most, has been a really helpful exercise in slimming my collection down to just the ones that I either wear consistently or are really sentimental. It also helps me avoid purchasing new pieces that I either don't need, or don't match my style.
These are the pieces I wear most days. I haven't been wearing a lot of jewelry lately, but when I do, I almost always reach for these. I wear my wedding band, engagement ring, and other gold band all of the time. I only take those off when I'm exercising with weights, cleaning with harsh chemicals, or swimming. That was a requirement when picking out my rings - I didn't want to have to take them off all the time. The earrings and bracelet are great because they go with absolutely everything, and are lovely. It makes accessorizing easy!
Wedding Band: I wanted a thin wedding band to go with my thin engagement ring - this one is 1.5 mm. It's a tad wider than my engagement ring but I wanted it to have a little more heft to not risk it breaking or bending. I also didn't want to have to worry about taking it off all of the time - it's affordable, so if something does happen to it I can get a new one without much fuss.
Engagement Ring: Other than not wanting to take them off all the time, another requirement for my wedding rings was to be super simple and dainty, so I subtly suggested this engagement ring with a small, bezel set diamond to Cary before he proposed. The bezel setting gives it a bit more of a modern look, which I love. I also highly recommend this company if you are in the market for jewelry!
Thin Band: I got this thin, 1 mm band to wear on my right hand. just a little something to keep things balanced.
Small Gold Hoops (similar): I like to wear these hoops on their own with a pair of studs, or together. I loved the layered look of two pairs of different-sized hoops. I got these two pairs of simple gold hoops on our trip to Milan. I think it's nice to have memories associated with jewelry - now every time I go to put these on it gives me a nice boost of happiness!
Brass Dot Studs (similar): Everyone needs a pair of simple studs in their jewelry box. I got these right before I graduated from my PhD program in Ithaca, NY. They were made by a local jeweler there.
Bracelet: I like to throw this on if I need a little something extra for going out to a restaurant, etc. This is just a simple and affordable one from Madewell, but there are a ton of similar options out there.
I just love this category - while I don't wear these items every day, they are fun and are great options to have when I'm putting together an outfit. If you have a similar approach to jewelry, I highly recommend collecting these pieces over time - all of these were either purchased on a trip, gifted by friends, or passed down by family.
Medium/Large Hoops: I love a good pair of larger hoops. They are great statement pieces while still staying simple. I got these at a little boutique on vacation at the beach. These ones are by Sorrelli, but I don't think they make this particular pair anymore. I have a pair of gold ones on my wish list (below).
Geometric Earrings (similar; similar): I purchased these from a little old man selling earrings on the street in Catania, Sicily. He told me that they were all made of brass, and he made them himself. Not only do I think they are lovely, but they have a wonderful memory associated with them.
Wood Earrings (similar): I really like wood earrings. I think they provide a nice contrast to typical metal jewelry but are still neutral. A friend got this pair for me on a trip to South Africa.
Blue Copper Earrings: This is the one pair of colored jewelry I still wear regularly. These were also given to me from a friend by one of her trips abroad - I believe she got them in Prague.
Wood Bangle (similar; similar): Wood bracelets have a similar effect as wood earrings - they give a little variety while staying neutral. I got this one on a college trip to Belize.
Pearl Necklace (similar): This used to be my mom's - she doesn't really wear jewelry so I've taken it off her hands. This is a nice simple one for when I get a little more dressed up.
Wood Necklace: I love this necklace. It's definitely a statement piece, and is bigger than anything else I own, but I think it is so beautiful and interesting. A friend sent this to me as part of a care package when I started grad school.
I don't wear these often, but they represent important memories or people in my life. I think it's OK to have some items that are purely sentimental, I just try not to let this category get too big.
Bracelets: I got these in South Africa while on a study abroad trip in college. I love the different colors of gold, brass, and copper.
Turquoise rings: These are from a little street market in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I also got these while on a study away trip in college. Before I transitioned to my gold bands, these were my every-day rings.
Amethyst earrings: I found these stored away at my grandma's house a while back - maybe high school or college. They were my mom's when she was younger - she didn't hold on to much from her 20's, so these are pretty special to me. I also think they are really cool!
Turquoise earrings: These were my grandma's - I am pretty sure we bought them for her, so they aren't super old or anything, but they remind me of her.
Lace bracelet: One of my best friends got this pretty lace on one of her study abroad trips in college and made me this sweet bracelet. It's so lovely and delicate I'm almost afraid to wear it!
Pearl necklace: This used to be my mom's necklace - she's never worn jewelry much, so I've been holding onto it. I think it's nice to have a set of pearls around for special occasions.
On My Wish List
While I have a great set of core pieces, there are a few things in my collection that I would like to replace with high quality versions, including diamond studs, small pearl studs, and medium gold hoops. These pieces are incredibly versatile and timeless.
1. Tiny Diamond Studs // 2. Tiny Pearl Studs // 3. Medium Gold Hoops
Other Pieces I Love
1. Tiny Birthstone Ring // 2. Brass Ring // 3. Angular Ring // 4. Small Dot Studs
5. Small Gold Studs // 6. Bezel Diamond Studs // 7. Tiny Gold Hoops // 8. Minimal Brass Earrings
9. Diamond Hoop Earrings // 10. Brass Sunset Earrings // 11. Tortoise Shell Hoops // 12. Wood Hoops
13. Brass Cuff // 14. Brass Collar // 15. Brass Bead Necklace // 16. Brass Bar Necklace
I store most of my jewelry in a white Pottery Barn jewelry box I got in high school (here is a similar one they sell now). It's fairly old and a bit bigger than I need, but it works for now, especially for storing my sentimental and statement pieces. I also keep a small bowl in my nightstand drawer for when I forget to take my earrings out before bed. I keep my wedding band, engagement ring, and small ring that I wear on my right hand on all of the time - I only take them off if I'm exercising with weights, cleaning with harsh chemicals, or swimming.
This post is not sponsored or in partnership with any of the aforementioned brands, and there are no affiliate links included. All opinions are my own.