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How to Match Jewelry with Your Outfit

It’s that time of year again! Holiday parties and get-togethers are a fun opportunity to dress up and show off your flair for fashion. That said, choosing the right jewelry to coordinate best with the clothes that you wear takes thought and doesn’t come easily to everyone. It’s important that your jewelry reflects your personality and compliments your outfit. When the time comes to accessorize, do you sometimes imagine Joan Rivers giving you a harsh critique? To help eliminate some of the guesswork, we’ve put together a few guidelines on how to match jewelry with your outfit. The next time you find yourself in doubt about your accessory options, refer to these simple suggestions and you’ll keep the fashion police away.

Dress for the Occasion: Matching Jewelry

The first rule of fashion is to wear an appropriate outfit. Being overdressed or underdressed can make you feel out of place, and you don’t want to be the center of attention for the wrong reasons. Below are some general guidelines on what type of jewelry works for different types of occasions.

1. What type of jewelry to wear to work:

This depends on where you work of course, but generally, this is a time to be understated. Do you work in an office, school, hospital, or otherwise serious environment? Choose simple, classic pieces such as small hoops, stud earrings, small pendants, chain bracelets or simple single bangles. Diamonds or gemstones are appropriate but stick to solitaire rings and studs or small amounts of pave.

 Large Disc Pendant and Offset Circle Stud Jewelry for Work

Large Disc Pennant in 14k yellow gold on 14k yellow gold chain with brown diamonds (left)
Offset Circle Studs in 14k Yellow Gold/White Diamonds (right)

If your job is in a more casual environment you can show a little more personality with your pieces – larger hoops and small dangle earrings, layered bangles, large pendants or layered necklaces – but stay away from statement pieces or too much sparkle. Simple jewelry, especially pieces made of alternative materials such as wood and leather, are also great for laid-back looks.

O ID Bracelet and Oval Wood Totem Pendant from Marion Cage

"O" ID Bracelet in Sterling Silver with Brown Leather (left)
Wood Point Scatter Necklace in Bloodwood/Bronze (right)

2. What type of jewelry to wear to dinner, drinks, or a night out with friends:

Typically this is a smart-casual or dressy-casual occasion. It’s also a time to really let your personality shine! Almost anything goes but don’t come to the table (or bar) dripping in jewels meant for a special occasion. This is a great time to break out those long dangle earrings you’ve wanted to wear, stack on several rings, some fat bangles or wear a tiered necklace. It’s okay to draw a little attention. You’re out to have a good time!

Spicula Dangle Earrings and a Small Point Three Tier Necklace

Spicula Dangle Earrings in 14K Yellow Gold (left)
Small Point Three Tier Necklace in 14K Yellow Gold Points on a Sterling Silver Oxidized Chain (right)

3. What type of jewelry to wear to a cocktail party, black-tie event, formal celebration, or special occasion:

Now is really your time to shine! For dressy occasions, your jewelry should be elegant. Is your dress a showstopper? Then keep your jewelry simple and sumptuous. Try large diamonds or gemstones to make your look pop. If your dress is a solid color with a streamlined cut, use your jewelry to up the ante. Chandelier earrings or a statement necklace composed of multiple stones and tiers will do the trick – but pick one or the other! If your earrings are the focal point of your ensemble, you may want to skip the necklace. On the other hand, if your necklace is the centerpiece, pair it with simpler stud earrings. For a high-drama look, pile on sparkly bracelets and chic stacking rings.

Mirror Trace Necklace and Portail Dangle Earrings

Mirror Trace Necklace in 14k yellow gold/brown ombre pave diamonds (left)
Portail Dangle Earrings in 18K White Gold Plated in Black Rhodium with White Diamonds (right)

Consider Your Neckline!

It’s crucial to think about what accessories will work with the cut of your neckline. If your necklace and your neckline are in conflict, your entire ensemble becomes unbalanced. Always make sure that the length of your necklace is significantly shorter or longer than your neckline, so that it doesn’t get lost in the mix.

Here’s a list of what jewelry common neckline styles, and what type of jewelry compliments them best.

1. What jewelry to wear with a V-neck dress:

A V-neck may be the most versatile neckline when it comes to necklace options. You can either mirror the V-shape with your necklace, or compliment it with a curve. For a short V-neck, a choker or short chain is the way to go. As the V-neck gets deeper, the options multiply! Chokers, chains, and short to medium pendant necklaces are all great for medium V-necks. Deep V-necks are great with a lariat or sautoir necklace, and also lend well to layers of necklaces. Above all, be sure to never choose a necklace that sits below the V.

Jewelry to Wear with a V-Neck Shirt or Dress

Tiered Totem Pendant in Sterling Silver/18K Yellow Gold (left)
Mirror Points Necklace in 18K Yellow Gold with Oxidized Silver Chain (layed with Long Mirrored Points Necklace in 18K Yellow Gold/Oxidized Silver Chain (right)

2. What jewelry to wear with a turtleneck:

Turtlenecks are best with long necklaces or no necklace at all. Long earrings can be tricky with turtlenecks, so it’s safest to stick to studs, hoops, or very short drops if you’re in doubt. If you’re skipping the necklace, add a bracelet or two (or three) to spice things up.

Jewelry to Wear with a Crew Neck Shirt or Dress

Ankole Tassle Sautoir  in Sterling Silver Plated in Black Rhodium/14K Yellow Gold (left)
Totem Amulet in Sterling Silver with 18K Rose Gold (right)

3. What jewelry to wear with a crew neck:

When the neckline goes high, the necklace goes low. Wear medium to extra-long chains and pendants with crew or boat neck tops. Make sure that they sit at least 2 inches below the collar and go as long as you like. Strands of beads as well as tiered and layered necklaces are also great options.

4. What jewelry to wear with a halter or one-shoulder top:

If your top or dress is a halter or one-shoulder style, don’t compete with your neckline. Skip the necklace! This is your opportunity to wear statement earrings like long dangles or chunky cuffs. Jazz things up with bangles or stacks of bracelets.

How to Decide Which Gemstones to Wear: Color-coordinating Jewelry and Wardrobe

Follow the basic rules of color theory when coordinating your wardrobe and jewelry. The color wheel is a great tool to help you determine which colors fit together best. If you've ever been curious what kind of jewelry goes with a red/blue/green, or any color dress, the answers are here.

Gem Color Wheel

Start with the color of your outfit or jewelry and look directly across the color wheel to find its complementary color. Complementary colors create the most vibrant look, because they are in high contrast with one another. For example, if you are wondering what jewelry to wear with a navy blue dress, find blue on the color wheel and look across. Orange is its direct complement, so gold-toned jewelry would be a great choice. If you are dressing up for the holidays, you might be curious as to what jewelry matches a green dress. Look no further than rubies or spinels. For a red dress, emeralds are perfect!

Spinel Cascade Necklace and Egg Drop Earrings

Spinel Cascade Necklace (left)
Egg Drop Earrings in Sterling Silver Plated win Black Rhodium with Rubies (right)

Another way to utilize the color wheel is to choose analogous colors. These are the colors that are right next to each other on the wheel. Analogous colors create a harmonious look without being too monotonous since the colors are similar yet different. For example, if you want to choose jewelry to wear with a royal blue dress, go with green or violet gems. A purple gemstone, such as our geo tanzanite necklace.

geo tanzanite necklace

Not sure what jewelry to wear with that little black dress? Black goes with any color! Black on black, looks super chic, too. Our top choice when it comes to black jewelry is black rhodium jewelry with black diamonds.

Arabesque Dangle Earrings and Vertical Shard Necklace

Arabesque Dangle Earrings in Sterling Silver Plated in Black Rhodium with Black Pave Diamonds (left)
Pave Shard Necklace in 18K White Gold Plated in Black Rhodium with Black Diamonds (right)

At Marion Cage, we are always happy to help you make exquisite jewelry selections based on what fits your style.

Whether you’re searching for the perfect piece for a special event or looking for a treasure to wear every day, we are always here for you, online and in-store on Magazine Street!

One-of-a-Kind Designer Jewelry in the Making

In creating our Fall/Winter 2018 Collection, owner and creative director Marion Cage McCollam found a new source of inspiration in the form of geometric gemstones. Each and every stone having its own unique cut meant the birth of a stunning collection of one-of-a-kind designer jewelry. Marion began by laying out multiple combinations and configurations to arrive at the most striking arrangements possible of the tanzanite and spinel geometric gemstones. Then, she worked with skilled artisans to have the stones finely bezel set and finished into a collection of one-of-a-kind pieces. Learn about the details of that process from beginning to end—the inception, the trial and error, the result, and the reward—and discover what makes this exquisite collection so unique.

Geometric Gemstones — The Inspiration

Geometric gemstones like these—which come in a variety of beautiful colors and are hand-cut to achieve unique, faceted, geometric shapes—became the inspiration for the Fall/Winter 2018 Collection from Marion Cage.

Inspiration for a collection can come from anywhere and at any time. It can happen on a trip to a museum, on a stroll through the countryside, in discovering another artist’s work, or in discovering a new medium or method of fabrication. Marion often finds her inspiration in nature and in the materials she uses themselves. Most of our designs are based on a unique source of formal inspiration that is then abstracted through the process of translating it and making it—literally—our own. We typically use gemstones in a pave setting (where very small stones are set closely together) to further accentuate certain curves or angles in the forms of our jewelry.

Our latest collection started a bit differently when a parcel of beautifully colored, hand-cut geometric gemstones caught Marion’s attention on a visit to one of her stone dealers in New York. “For this collection, the starting point was the stones,” said Marion, “specifically spinel and tanzanite that were cut into a myriad of faceted, geometric shapes. From the start, it was clear that stones needed to be the stars of the show.”

Immediately drawn to these unique stones, Marion was reminded of the faceted geometric shapes she developed in both her Facets jewelry collection and her Peak cabinetry hardware collection. “Stones in jewelry are traditionally cut into more conventional shapes, like round, oval, or square, and working with these shapes has never really interested me. As an architect, I have always had an affinity for asymmetry and complex geometries, so it makes sense that the types of stone cuts I choose to work with would reflect that.”

The geometric gemstones that inspired the Fall/Winter 2018 Collection from Marion Cage are reminiscent of the faceted geometric shapes in our Facets jewelry collection and Peak cabinetry hardware collection. Our Long Shard Studs earrings from the Facets Collection are shown on the left in 14k yellow gold with white pave diamonds, while our geometric Ingot Knob is shown on the right from the Peak Collection.Long Shard Studs in 14k yellow gold with white pave diamonds (left)
Ingot Knob (right)

Selecting and Arranging the Tanzanite and Spinel Stones — The Design Process

The tanzanite stones shown here have the characteristic rich blue-violet color of tanzanite and are hand-cut as geometric gemstones for our Fall/Winter 2018 Collection.

Once Marion had fallen in love with the unique tanzanite and spinel stones, she knew that these would be the focal point of her next collection and went straight to work, taking the parcels home so that she could carefully select the stones that would create the most striking designs. When choosing stones, shape was just as important as color. She arranged them on paper as many times as necessary, trying multiple combinations until arriving at the final designs. Marion says this was her favorite part of designing the collection.

“I had never worked with cut stones before, so this was a lot of fun for me,” Marion said. “Putting together countless different shapes to make a finished composition as well as discovering all of the amazing ways to combine the colors of the stones with the different colors of gold were also highlights of the design process.”

These geometric gemstones, ranging from blue-violet tanzanite to ruby red spinel, are shown on paper as Marion arranged them for the Fall/Winter 2018 Collection.

Setting the Stones and Fabrication — The Production Process

There are many steps involved in the creation of a collection of jewelry—from design to production—and we’ve come to understand that every step of the process is important. As designers, dreaming up new ideas is where our hearts lie. However, it is equally important that ours designs be properly engineered so that they are not only beautiful to look at, but comfortable and durable to wear.

Once the stones were selected and the designs were all laid out, it was time to bring the pieces to life in gold. For this step, Marion worked closely with her team of fabricators to design and construct the bezels and components by hand and to carefully set each stone. Not without a bump or two in the road, the collection finally materialized beautifully.

“I am always looking to test the limits of the materials I work with in my designs,” said Marion. “That said, I have learned to rely on and respect the knowledge and experience of the craftspeople that I work with. My stone setter and I went back and forth for weeks about how thin he could get the metal around the stones. I wanted it to be as thin as possible. When I insisted he use a thinner gauge wire than he recommended, I paid the price. In the end, some of the bezels were not strong enough to hold the stones, so those pieces had to be completely redone in order for us to have a salable design.”

Geometric gemstones become one-of-a-kind designer jewelry in the Fall/Winter 2018 Collection from Marion Cage. For example, these Geo Tanzanite Dangle Earrings feature 18k rose gold with blue-violet tanzanite stones, and these Geo Spinel Stacking Rings in 18k rose gold feature pale pink spinel stones.Geo Tanzanite Dangle Earrings in 18k rose gold with tanzanite stones (left)
Geo Spinel Stacking Rings in 18k rose gold with spinel stone (right)

The Appeal of One-of-a-Kind Designer Jewelry and Our Fall/Winter 2018 Collection

There is something very special about owning and wearing a design that you know isn’t going to be seen anywhere else—ever. Many customers find this to be the icing on the cake when falling for a particular piece of one-of-a-kind jewelry.

When asked about the type of customer she hopes this new collection will appeal to, Marion said, “I don’t really have a ‘target audience.’ I like to think there is something for everyone in my work as a designer.” For this collection in particular, however, the stones were cut such that each is a one-of-a-kind, helping to distinguish this jewelry collection from others.

“Because each stone is unique, so is each setting,” Marion said. “All of these factors combined make the audience for this collection one that appreciates handmade, one-of-a-kind jewelry. I am most drawn to the uniquely beautiful combinations of geometry and color in this collection, and I feel sure our customers will, too. I also think customers will feel very special knowing they are wearing unique, one-of-a-kind designs.”

Along with the unique colors and shapes that characterize this collection, customers are sure to appreciate the exclusivity factor of these pieces as well. Shop our Fall/Winter 2018 Collection today online or in our gallery, and feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about this one-of-a-kind designer jewelry.

What Is Black Rhodium Jewelry?

Black rhodium jewelry, such as this Arabesque Star Pendant and matching Arabesque Star Earrings, gives jewelry a radiant luster.Arabesque Star Pendant and matching Arabesque Star Earrings in black rhodium plated white gold with black pave diamonds

“What is that metal?” This is a question we often receive from customers who come into our New Orleans jewelry gallery and lay eyes on black rhodium plated jewelry for the first time. Uniquely dark and shiny, black rhodium jewelry is quite striking, and we carry a black rhodium plated version of nearly every piece of Marion Cage jewelry. Given the bounty of curiosity surrounding one of our favorite finishes, we’re here to share information about this material’s properties, benefits, and care.

Black Rhodium Jewelry: The Basics

Our black rhodium plated sterling silver Peak Stacking Ring comes in a dark and rich gunmetal gray, compared here to the lighter colored sterling silver Peak Stacking Ring.Peak Stacking Rings in matte and black rhodium plated sterling silver

Rhodium is a type of platinum that is rare, very hard, and corrosion resistant. Given this metal’s higher melting point and durability, jewelers typically use rhodium as a plating, rather than a solid metal, to make gold or silver jewelry extra bright and shiny. Black rhodium is, in fact, just one of many colors of rhodium. In its natural state, rhodium is silver-white and is typically plated onto white gold to give it a brighter, more luminous finish. By binding ink to rhodium, however, dark colors can be created that vary from light gray to black. At Marion Cage, our black rhodium jewelry is typically a very dark and rich gunmetal gray.

Why We Love Black Rhodium

The dark gunmetal gray of black rhodium plating in these Arabesque Dangle Earrings feels cool and edgy, while the sparkle of the black pave diamonds becomes more subtle.Arabesque Dangle Earrings in 14-karat white gold, black rhodium plated with black pave diamonds

Why do we love black rhodium jewelry so much?

  • The Look: Black rhodium gives jewelry a dark, radiant luster and has a cool, edgy feel. We love how the sparkle of our pave diamond pieces becomes more subtle and understated when plated in black rhodium.
  • The Durability: Black rhodium is also extremely tough and able to resist scratches and corrosion. Plus, it doesn’t tarnish!
  • The Cost: While black rhodium is a precious metal and a member of the platinum family, it is less expensive than platinum.

Maintaining Black Rhodium Jewelry

These Ankole Studs in black rhodium plated sterling silver and any other black rhodium jewelry from Marion Cage can be replated at our gallery free of charge.Ankole Studs in black rhodium plated sterling silver

It is important to note that, like any plated finish, rhodium plating will fade over time and with wear—particularly if the piece comes into direct and frequent contact with your skin. We recommend removing your plated jewelry prior to bathing, swimming, or washing your hands, as exposure to salt and other chemicals can cause damage to the plating. For more information on cleaning and caring for your jewelry, read our short guide.

When plated with a thick, high-quality rhodium plating, most black rhodium jewelry will maintain its finish for up to a year. If necessary, you can always bring your black rhodium jewelry to a professional jeweler for polishing and replating. At Marion Cage, we frequently replate pieces purchased from our gallery free of charge as a service to our customers.

Marion Cage Black Rhodium Jewelry in New Orleans or Online

At Marion Cage, we offer only the best in beautiful, handmade jewelry. If you’re looking for black rhodium jewelry, then you’ve come to the right place. We’re proud of our extensive collection of black rhodium plated jewelry. It’s just the right look when you need something deliciously dark! Shop online, visit our New Orleans jewelry gallery, or contact us today.