Kendall Reed holds many titles at Sotheby’s — including Vice President, Head of Fine Jewels and Global Head of Online Jewels. And considering Kendall’s been working her way through various jewelry positions since she first started at the acclaimed auction house as an intern, we knew she’d be the ideal thought-leader to help transition our wardrobe into autumn with her fine jewelry picks. Whether you’re a storied jewelry collector, or are just beginning to consider investing in your first pair of diamond studs, it’s never the wrong time to define your personal style through this versatile, wearable art form.
What is your advice for someone who is just starting a jewelry collection?
My first piece of advice is to buy what you love and what you think you’re going to wear, rather than being too influenced by trends or by retention value. If you’re just starting out, there could be a lot of pressure to make sure that you buy the “right” jewel at the “right” price, and my advice would be to focus first on pieces that you love, that you actually think you’re going to wear. Once you have a group of jewels that you are proud to wear, you can then focus on acquiring the building blocks for a jewelry collection.
What building blocks do you identify as the ones to go with?
Jewelry is very personal and my building blocks may differ from my friends or colleagues, however, I recommend building your collection with the following pieces:
• First, a pair of diamond studs, because they go with everything and can be worn from day to night.
• Some gold “day wear.” Day wear refers to gold jewelry that you can wear to work or at home with your kids, or out to brunch with your friends. On the site, we have some great options including a gold link bracelet by Cartier and a great necklace by Kieselstein-Cord.
• A “statement jewel,” meaning a piece of jewelry that can stand on its own. With a statement jewel, you can put on one piece and be ready to go without any additional accessories. My personal favorite statement jewels are by David Webb because the scale makes an impact.
• A jewelry watch. Although so many people don’t wear watches these days, a jewelry watch bridges the gap between design and function.
• A cocktail ring. This would be something different than a traditional diamond ring. Perhaps something with color like a big aquamarine or peridot, or a big amethyst. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it should be something fun that sparks a conversation.
• And then a brooch, because brooches are coming back into style. Brooches are great because you can wear them a bunch of different ways, on your shoulder, at your waist or in your hair.
Jewelry Collection Building Blocks
From left: Sotheby’s Diamonds Pink Boule Earrings, Cartier Gold Link Bracelet, Kieselstein-Cord Gold Necklace, Cartier Gold, Diamond and Pink Sapphire Ring, Victorian Yellow Gold, Cultured Pearl and Diamond Brooch, Modern Platinum, Citrine and Diamond Pendant and a Cartier Gold, Platinum and Diamond Wristwatch
The brooch is the one people might be least familiar with, and it does feel like an older person choice. How can it be worn in a modern way?
So, we at Sotheby’s Jewelry have been launching this whisper campaign that “The Brooch is Back,” and if you look at Sotheby’s Sale Director Frank Everett’s Instagram, he uses the hashtag #thebroochisback a lot. Many people think of brooches as “grandma’s jewelry” because they’re usually styled with heavy tweed or wool coats. However, brooches are a type of jewel that can be worn in myriad ways. One way to wear it that’s really fun is to put it on a wrap dress on the tie at the waist, or high up on the shoulder of a black dress. Of course, there are ways that you can update the traditional way of wearing them on your lapel. We have done some great photo shoots with brooches on jean jackets just to update them, and I also love brooches styled as barrettes in hair. I’ve seen this look on a lot of brides, and on the red carpet as well. Also, some of our clients add pendant loops to their brooches so they can wear them as a necklace.
You mean, the brooch can be a shapeshifter then? You might not realize that you’re actually looking at a brooch.
Exactly. And I think the Modern Gold and Diamond Bow Brooch would be so cool in the hair. And the Gold and Yellow Sapphire Bee Brooch listed on the site is one that we love to see people wear. One client of mine has a group of five that she likes to wear all together as a swarm on a jacket.
What are the things to watch out for when buying jewelry online?
Where you buy is obviously important, and this is where Sotheby’s is a great place to buy jewelry because expertise is our brand. You want to make sure that the jewelry is being authenticated and looked at by experts. Therefore, my advice would be to buy from websites and jewelers that have established track records, and from individuals who are experts in the field. Anyone can sell jewelry online, so buyers need to do their due diligence about authenticity and provenance.
Are there any big fall trends you see happening for jewelry?
We have noticed a huge return of ’70s and ’80s jewelry recently. Clients of all ages are seeking out big, bold gold pieces by jewelers like Van Cleef & Arpels, Bulgari and David Webb. In our offering, the rope hoop earrings are very ’70s, and some of the Cartier link bracelets as well as some of the Cartier rings. The Cartier panther, too, has a very ’80s aesthetic. Hoops in general are very in right now, and Sotheby’s Home has three different examples, including some by Bulgari and Cartier.
What are your tips for wearing multiple pieces of jewelry at once?
I would say that it is dependent upon your personal style. Personally, I am a jewelry minimalist and I usually only wear my wedding rings and a pair of earrings — but I love seeing my friends and clients pile on the jewels! I don’t think you need to be concerned with making sure all of the jewelry matches. We see a lot of people mixing metal these days. It used to be that people would only wear yellow gold with yellow gold; now people are mixing yellow gold with platinum. And we have some great examples in the Sotheby’s Home offering where the jewelers are doing that, mixing white metal and yellow metal. Feel free to have some fun and stack your bracelets or wear multiple necklaces. There doesn’t seem to be any rules these days, it’s really up to the individual. I love the individualism.
What about men wearing jewelry like brooches?
Oh yes, we’ve seen a lot of men on the red carpet wearing brooches recently. And that’s another reason why brooches are great! I love seeing men embrace more jewelry, as they used to just wear cufflinks and a watch. Now the brooch is back!
How can one incorporate a polished fall look into an outfit by choosing a piece of jewelry?
I think the Bulgari Stainless Steel Serpenti Watch would be a great thing to wear to work, because it’s a little bit unexpected and it can function as both a bracelet and a watch. It’s very ’70s, which again, is very in right now. I also love a long chain-style necklace as a complement to a fall look. You can wear them with sweaters, jackets, dresses and feel instantly more polished and put together. Great options for work. We have examples by Cartier and Buccellati on the site that I love. You can really dress them up or down.
If you could give women one piece of advice about jewelry, what would it be?
I know I am repeating myself, but please buy what you like and what you think you will love to wear. Sadly I see so many women that buy jewelry and just leave it in their jewelry box. Jewelry is meant to be worn and enjoyed! And there are no rules for when to wear it anymore. You can wear diamonds during the day and gold jewelry at night, if it suits your personal style. Jewelry doesn’t need an occasion anymore; and unless you’re wearing a 15 carat diamond ring, you can really wear it anywhere. Have fun and don’t be afraid to play around with your jewelry a bit in order to find what suits your lifestyle.
What are your top three favorite picks from the Sotheby’s Home Jewelry Shop?
I love the Yellow Sapphire and Diamond Bee Brooch, for the reasons that I mentioned above. It’s fun and whimsical, and would look great on a jean jacket or on a classic trench. I, myself, am looking for an alternative wedding band, so I like the Cartier White Gold and Diamond Trinity Ring. It is timeless; both dressy and casual, and would be the perfect transitional day-to-night jewel for me as a working mom. Something a little bit unexpected are the amethyst, diamond and gold Bulgari Gold Pesce Cufflinks. You can’t really tell at first, but they are actually little fish. We sold a similar pair of earrings recently (also by Bulgari) called “Mamma Pesce” Earclips, which features a larger version of this fish motif with three little fish dangling from the larger one. They’re called the “Mama Pesce” because it is designed to be the mama fish with three little babies swimming after her. The cufflinks are another iteration of the baby fish featured in those earclips.
Kendall’s Top Picks from Sotheby’s Home Jewelry Shop
From left: Italian Gold, Yellow Sapphire and Diamond Bee Brooch, Cartier White Gold and Diamond Trinity Ring and Bulgari Gold, Diamond and Amethyst Pesce Cufflinks