By: Rachael Taylor
With streams of party invites and office events that offer a chance to show your finery like no other time of year, winter is the time to bear jewelry that radiates.
For some, that will mean all-out glamour, tiaras and all (and for those interested in the current tiara revival, Phillips Hong Kong has a diamond version from 1888 up for offer next week). Large statement jewels like these – or perhaps a more wearable statement necklace – are the perfect way to transform a simple daytime outfit into striking evening attire. For easy office-to-holiday-drinks transitions, you might want to prepare your handbags and desk drawers with a tucked-away, glitzy neckpiece or pair of earrings.
There are subtler ways to bring festive cheer, too. Jewelry in the shape of a bow evokes the excitement of unwrapping gifts, while Victorian jewels might conjure up a merry scene of fire building by candlelight to roast wild game and chestnuts.
For additional festive jewel inspiration, I’ve selected my five favorite styles for the winter season.
Parade Your Pearls
While this classic gem can – and should – be worn year round, there is something about the soft luster of pearls that makes them a joy to wear in the winter. White pearls in classic strings or glamorous drop earrings will look wonderful by the fireside, and combining them with diamonds evokes a scene of snow and ice that will melt the most staunch of Scrooges. To capture a traditional holiday look, stick to Victorian and Art Deco styles. Darkly-hued Tahitian pearls also look great in winter, bringing a stormy edge that makes huddling indoors seem all the more inviting.
Converse With Cocktail Rings
How could the party season call itself such without a few festive drinks? And how better to lift them to our lips than with one hand (or two!) decorated with a dazzling sparkler. The key to a great cocktail ring is a large central gemstone, and it is a wonderful way to introduce color.
Why not stray away from the traditional colored gem trinity of ruby, sapphire, and emerald to try something a little moodier in palate, such as a brooding plum-hued Alexandrite and diamond ring up for sale at Phillips or a warm cinnamon Imperial topaz and diamond ring hitting the auction block at Lyon & Turnbull.
Glisten in Icy Diamonds
If you can’t beat the freezing temperatures this winter, join them by adorning yourself in ice-white diamonds. Phillips will soon offer some important diamond pieces including a 10.23 carat emerald-cut diamond ring by Harry Winston, a 9.14 carat pear-shaped diamond ring, and a pair of earrings set with two oval-cut diamonds weighing more than 5 carats each. On December 9, Weschler’s will also offer fine diamond jewelry and a selection of loose diamonds, which could be set in a completely bespoke design of your choosing (these also make for an alternative gift idea).
Keep a Classy Timepiece
Chunky chronographs and tired leather straps do not mix with party dresses. Instead, consider a watch that is as glamorous as your clutch. Ladies’ dress watches should be two things – delicate and dazzling. Diamond details add an instant shot of elegance; blanketing dials, adorning bezels, and often livening up bracelets, too.
At Phillips’ Hong Kong watch auction this month (November 29), there are many wonderful jewelry watches, including two of my all-time favorites (there are also some corkers on the horizon at Lyon & Turnbull and Weschler’s). They are a beautiful double retrograde timepiece from Van Cleef & Arpels’ Poetic Complication series that uses two lovers meeting on a moonlit bridge to mark the time instead of traditional hands; and a gloriously quirky Cartier Crash with a violet satin strap and a diamond-studded rose gold case that looks as though it is melting in the heat of the party.
Bundle Up With Brooches
As well as the more glamorous side to winter that is all canapés and mulled wine, there is the less desirable experience of battling through rain and wind and snow to get to your destination. Wrapping up against the elements is par for the course this season, but there is no reason it shouldn’t be a chance to introduce a modicum of elegance.
And as Frank Everett of Sotheby’s cheerfully remarked, “The brooch is back.”
Pashminas and coats can be transformed by the pinning on of a bejeweled brooch, and the A/W16 catwalks sanctioned that it is fashionable once more to pin a brooch – preferably a cluster of brooches – to jumpers, cardigans, dresses, shirts; pretty much anywhere. For something delightfully unusual, check out the diamond and sapphire cottage brooch on offer at Lyon & Turnbull in December.
However you choose to keep warm or deck yourself out for seasonal festivities now and into the New Year, consider taking advantage of one, if not all, of these ever-glistening styles.
See more modern, vintage & antique jewels for winter up for offer in upcoming auctions including Henry’s Auktionshaus’ Diamonds, Gemstones, Antique Jewellery, and Silver (November 24), Phillips’ Jewellery & Jade (November 28), Leonard Joel’s Jewels (November 28), Forum Auctions’ Jewelry & Jadeite (November 30), Lyon & Turnbull’s Select Jewellery and Watches (December 6), Auktionshaus Eppli’s Fashion, Jewelry, Accessories, and More (December 10), and more.
About Rachael Taylor
Rachael Taylor is a freelance journalist who writes about jewelry and watches for a number of titles, including The Financial Times. In her 10 years reporting on this rarified world, she has travelled to industry fairs throughout the globe, a Fairtrade gold mine on top of a Peruvian mountain, silver jewelry factories in Thailand, and regularly has access to the most sparkling jewels and people in the business.