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There is strong archeological evidence that people were wearing jewelry as long as 5,000 years ago. True, the “jewelry” of ancient times differs significantly from that of today — necklaces, for example, were made from feathers, bones, shells and plant materials — but the desire to adorn one’s body with attractive, attention-grabbing baubles and trinkets runs deep in the human spirit and is as strong today as it ever was.
It would be nearly impossible to list every kind of jewelry, as every category can be broken down into several levels of subcategories. For example, the heading “rings” can be subdivided into engagement, wedding, class, promise, trinity, cocktail, antique, vintage, birthstone, purity, Claddagh, nugget, cluster, signet … and the list goes on.
Sotheby’s Home sells hundreds of pieces of fine jewelry, and the extensive collection includes rings, necklaces, earrings, watches, bracelets, cufflinks, brooches and more. They range from antique to vintage to contemporary, and represent many different styles, materials and time periods. Since there is so much to choose from, here are some helpful tips for buying jewelry.
Much like clothing styles, colors and patterns, necklaces can affect others’ perception of the height of the wearer. The standard lengths of necklaces (from shortest to longest) are collar, choker, princess, matinee, opera and lariat (also called rope). A short person can appear taller by wearing a longer necklace. Conversely, a tall person can wear a short necklace such as a choker or princess to appear shorter. Those with a petite build may want to choose more delicate pieces, while a larger person can wear necklaces that are thicker and heavier.
Faces come in many different shapes, such as round, oval, rectangular, square and heart-shaped. This can be taken into consideration when choosing earrings, as specific styles work well with certain types of faces. For example, those with a round face may want to avoid large, round earrings or those that are hoop-style, as they tend to make the face look fuller; long earrings, as well as rectangular-shaped ones, help elongate the face. Heart-shaped faces are thinner at the chin, so triangular-shaped or chandelier earrings that are wider at the bottom can give a more balanced look to the face. In the same way, short earrings and stubs work best with an elongated face.
Just as with faces, hands and fingers vary greatly. Some people have long, thin fingers, while others have fingers that are shorter and thicker. A thick ring on a short finger will make the fingers appear even shorter, so a person with short fingers may want to wear rings that are thinner, more delicate and have oval or rectangular settings. Those with long fingers can wear thicker, heavier rings, as they are still far enough from the knuckle.
Bracelets and Watches
Bracelets and watches can range from dainty, delicate chains to heavy pieces with large, decorative elements. Those with a petite build may opt for pieces that are smaller and more delicate, while those who are larger — with thicker arms or wrists — can wear heavier watches and bracelets with larger stones and elements.
Jewelry should be chosen carefully, as it is a very personal expression of style and character. The variety of pieces at Sotheby’s Home ensures that there is plenty to suit every taste, style and form.