December 14th, 2022
On My Mind

Jewelry Wardrobe

Image courtesy of Sidney Garber

I hosted a lunch yesterday for Ann Mashburn to celebrate the opening of her permanent shop on Madison at 74th Street. Ann sat with Brooke Garber Neidich, owner of Sidney Garber. Brooke was wearing gorgeous, signature Sidney Garber pieces. Talk naturally turned to jewelry and another guest mentioned that she stopped storing her jewelry in individual pouches, she now has everything laid out on trays so she can quickly see what she has. It’s the same concept as not keeping shoes in their boxes where they can easily be forgotten. Mother did this with a tray of magnificent cocktail rings, another for watches, bracelets, and so on. To be able to do this, one must have a wardrobe of jewelry that can be mixed and matched.

This, of course, got me thinking. I may have a dozen grey skirts — yet, two watches, a handful of earrings, a love bracelet, and a trinity, signet, and wedding band are all that I wear every day. These items, plus a few significant rings from Mother, are the extent of my jewelry wardrobe. I mentioned to Brooke that my everyday pieces are like amulets and, weirdly, their constancy is comforting. Also, perhaps, a tad predictable and boring. Thoughts?

  • Such a great topic P. As the daughter of a jeweler this is something I have thought about many times at different phases of my life. I recently designed a wardrobe wall with our Amish cabinet makers and several drawers in the chest are lined with felt. multi tiered and slidable. I told them I need to see things. Clearly my age is starting to show. I keep missing opportunities to wear pieces that get lost. The drawers will hold smaller jewelry and sunglasses. They were also were willing to modify one side of one of the armoires to include a pull out section that can hold up to 100 necklaces that I can see outside of the cabinet. I love classic & sentimental timeless pieces but I am totally flexible to get everything out in the open and experiment with this idea.

    Amy Thorne RichardsonDecember 14th, 2022  8:26 AM

  • Like all my other other accessories changing up my jewelry daily makes me beyond happy. The mixing of pieces with essentials is what makes everything look interesting. Be selective and thoughtful in your purchases and you’ll enjoy every moment of wearing. In hindsight I regret building an extensive clothing wardrobe…if I could do it all again? I’d spend all that money on JEWELRY !

    joann fielderDecember 14th, 2022  8:40 AM

  • My issue is security. What to do when you are not at home? Suggestions?

    CarolDecember 14th, 2022  8:59 AM

  • Great topic, I agree…
    I have my everyday core ~ Cartier Tank, wedding rings, a small assortment of earrings but it’s my 3 gold bangles that take it to the next level by adding a colourful Hermes enamel bangle to the mix.
    I have them in varying widths , solids and patterns.
    When you wear a lot of neutrals, it’s sometimes the only splash of colour.

    SusanDecember 14th, 2022  9:08 AM

  • My mother gave me the advice when I was a teenager to only buy good jewelry – no costume which ends up costing thousands itself. I mostly followed that advice and I’m very glad. She also recommended putting a safe in my home to keep the jewelry, on a shelf in my closet, so it’s easy to access but safe. That too was great advice.

    MegDecember 14th, 2022  9:26 AM

  • Fabulous topic! I recently installed a bunch of small white hooks along the edges of the woodwork in my closet. My necklaces, belts, and anything else that can hang are on view. I am more likely to switch up my accessories, and enjoy admiring my collection each time I open the door. To Carol’s excellent point- I plan to install a new door with a combination lock, so that clothes as well as jewelry are secure.

    KristiDecember 14th, 2022  9:43 AM

  • I tend to wear the same things daily. Recently I have been making myself think about my jewelry choices and wear different pieces instead of my jewelry uniform. Having things hidden in a safe makes it harder.

    Heidi WeddendorfDecember 14th, 2022  9:52 AM

  • At 81 I have decided to stop with the jewellery! Recently a much-loved bracelet broke in 2 places : possible substitutes were rejected, except for one that I could not afford. So I settled for cash for the weight of the gold and the cash came in handy for Christmas expenses. Am content with 3 rings : an emerald ( flawed, but who cares ) and a full diamond eternity and a half eternity with chips of emerald. For fun I switch up my earrings : huggies or pearls. That’s me now!

    KateDecember 14th, 2022  11:04 AM

  • Timely post. I was just this morning looking at my three watches (that I rarely wear) and trying to decide what which one watch I would love, that I could trade them for. I do realize I like “signature” jewelry, and when I think of you P, I think of you with your amulet pieces.

    KathyDecember 14th, 2022  12:00 PM

  • Preston-

    No photograph for me – help if you can.


    JaniceDecember 14th, 2022  12:01 PM

  • Jewelry is my favorite topic, and so personal. I think part of the question here is not whether you need more (more is more is more for me!) but are you actually going to wear more? The women in our family are big bracelet stackers- you always knew they were nearby because you could hear the bangles or charms jingling. I can tell you the occasion for every piece of jewelry I wear (beyond wedding rings or graduation gifts) and some of them were just because. It doesn’t make them any less important or sentimental, they just have a different story. Looking forward to this conversation…

    bllDecember 14th, 2022  1:07 PM

  • Well, ever since I learned about Sidney Garber from KIC I have been pretty focused on building up my jewelry wardrobe! I now have a number of their pieces, which really fit my style, and my husband is in on the game when he is looking for a gift for me. I bought a lock box from Smythson that allows me to lay everything out on trays so that I can change things up. I always wear the same Rolex because otherwise it winds down, but I change my jewelry a lot. I try to buy pieces that are very easy to get on and off – no fiddly clasps. I love Brooke’s spring bracelets and pave stretch bracelets for that reason!!

    LaurenDecember 14th, 2022  1:28 PM

  • I used to have wear jewelry to match my mood or outfit, mixing high and low. Now, diamond studs, a necklace I had made with sister’s fingerprint and bracelet with Dad’s plus a watch. Oh and silver bangles I don’t take off. I invested in a sonic jewelry cleaner though and love it.
    It’s like scent don’t you think? I mean, we change our attitudes as time goes by as to what makes us happy. Sometimes variety works and sometimes totems.

    SueMDecember 14th, 2022  2:03 PM

  • Security! Can’t wear all the nice watches or jewellery in London. I do wear a mixture of fake and real bracelets and hope that no one notices. And my diamond studs. Some pretty earrings when I head out to dinner but only in a cab and preferably with my husband. But most remains in the safe.

    MMSDecember 14th, 2022  2:26 PM

  • Oh, jewelry. I love this topic, particularly with references to your mother whose hands I can picture. The last ring I saw her wear was a vintage black onyx oval stone set in an oval elongatedl sterling. I think it was Scandanavian. She had a story behind every piece she wore.

    I have bought Traum jewelry trays on Madison Avenue to organize and store some jewelry– while I wait to buy a small Traum safe. In pink. That may take a good, long while, but I customize my imagined Traum safe online frequently. In the meantime, I tend to mostly organize my fine jewelry collection by color. Most colors, like greens, whether emeralds or tsavorite or green enamel, are stored with other green pieces in pouches in boxes, but orange, (sapphires) yellow (citrine) and brown (smoky topaz) are combined and kept together, as are pink (tourmaine and sapphire) and purple (amethyst). Plain gold without stones are also kept separate, as are my pieces with diamonds. Pearls also are a separate category in storing. It’s not a strict way to store for easier access, but it will have to do until I get my Traum safe! Some pieces are vintage or antique, and some are new.

    My thinking is that my clothing, including my shoes, hats, purses, scarves, and coats, are meant to accessorize the jewelry I want to wear on a given day! I love my jewelry as much as I loved my Ginny dolls when I was a child, and it’s as much a daily interaction now as playing with dolls was then, and I’m 73. My obsession with jewelry doesnt seem to moderate with age, even though I have started to give some away to family. Much of it I inherited from my mother who was no less obessed than I.

    JackieDecember 14th, 2022  3:08 PM

  • This is a conversation where I knew that I wanted to listen before speaking. I’ve appreciated everyone’s comments. I enjoy a consistent core: the same rings, a few go-to earring options, a meaningful watch and bracelets on one wrist. I then rotate additional pieces, usually one or two at a time. Rotating pieces lets me generally keep the visual lines of signature pieces, reduces time spent considering options, and lets me play with daytime scale. I don’t think that a signature jewelry core is boring, any more than a well-honed wardrobe is dull. It’s a pleasure to see women who have distilled their styles.

    RMDecember 14th, 2022  6:03 PM

  • I agree with RM on the appeal of a core collection and wearing some signature pieces. Of course, our style evolves over the years, and sometimes we just grow out of certain jewelry. I’ve been more interested in jewelry than clothing in recent years; I shop slowly, so a well chosen, well edited jewelry wardrobe (vs. an extensive selection) suits me. It’s been fun looking and shopping, as I’ve chosen pieces that I never would have considered in my thirties, forties, or fifties. My jewelry philosophy is very much like wardrobe/accessories: buy well and buy less, and only buy things you truly feel excited about and elevates your spirit when wearing. I do love pearls and could easily go overboard in this category. I also like to mix some good costume jewelry with better pieces. Babe Paley was notorious for mixing costume with high jewelry.
    MMS raises an increasingly common issue – wearing anything of value on our once-great city streets now poses a personal safety risk.

    PaulaDecember 15th, 2022  1:13 AM

  • Well, what can I say, very very sad that we posses beautiful pieces and are afraid to wear it. Interesting times.
    Remember myself a couple of years ago in Barcelona, wearing beautiful pair of earrings when going with my husband and a very young son for dinner, suddenly I realised that surroundings look more like in other places than Europe, took off my earrings discretely and asked my husband to stop searching for very special places, nobody mentions unfortunately that they are located in very weird areas. Less and less are safe but didn’t know that London became so wild. Monaco is still ok though but I will better not develop this topic.

    Rue des GirofleesDecember 15th, 2022  2:37 PM

  • “Listen before speaking” – that advice works in any context! The theme that most resonates with me here is that of investing less in a wide-ranging wardrobe and more in quality, meaningful accessories that be self-expressive and personal. Between quality (even the most expensive cashmere ultimately pills), trends (what kind of jeans am I supposed to be wearing now?), and shifts in fit, clothing is NOT forever! But luxurious leather goods and yes jewelry can be almost so. Thank you all for the great ideas. I wear one of my three watches and one of several pair of earrings every day. Time to switch it up!

    Lisa MacDecember 15th, 2022  5:08 PM

  • As I look ahead to another milestone birthday, the comments here make me appreciate the chance to build on life experiences. I can’t place the photographer’s name, but I’m reminded of a global photography project that featured very young adults. The photographer captured their vulnerability; he commented on how the young often don’t know, yet, who they are. So they try on styles. Even where individual tastes evolve in this comments section, everyone seems to be enjoying who and where they are in life, and I enjoy seeing it!

    RMDecember 16th, 2022  7:01 AM

  • Completely an ‘amulet jewelry’ advocate – I’ve been wearing the same two watches and earrings for the last 25 years. My trendier pieces just never get used. It was fun to carefully add a timeless ring and necklace to the mix over the years. They sort of become part of your identity and it feels weird to be without them. I uniform-dress in a similar way. For my 50th in a few years, eyeing an all-gold watch.

    GeorgieDecember 16th, 2022  9:20 AM

  • Like everyone, I have a few pieces that I wear every day…and they are so dear to me. Jewelry is such a sentimental thing for me, tho for day to day wear, I have many pieces that would be impractical to wear- I do try to put them on once in a while anyway. Putting it out where I can see it is key for me…putting my less precious earrings in a clear specimen case helps me to wear them more often, as I can see them. Love to hear everyone’s thoughts on jewelry!

    MGDecember 16th, 2022  11:54 AM

  • My mom loved jewelry, yet in when it came my time to choose, I selected her most core, daily pieces including a gold leaf brooch that was so for her to be wearing starting at 25! Two gold bracelets; one a heavy chain and one a large bangle. I too have my own core jewelry wardrobe which fluctuates rarely day to day and marginally year to year. It’s mostly contained in velvet pull out trays. My gold chain necklaces hang on hooks.

    LisaDecember 20th, 2022  1:25 AM

  • Hi, in comments someone once mentioned custom leather jackets in St Helena CA. Any chance you have the company or designer name? I’m headed to Napa. Thx, Teri Volpert

    Teri VolpertMarch 11th, 2023  12:10 PM


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