Jewelry has a broad history dating back to ancient civilizations of as early as 3,000 BC.
From the Irish claddagh ring to Native American talismans, almost every culture around the world has incorporated jewelry into their traditions in one way or another. Jewelry has been widely used to denote status, ward off evil, make a statement, serve a function, and as accents to an outfit.
Sometimes we lose sight of the fact that they’re just accents. Hence, we end up dawning an overwhelming amount of them at once.
Too much jewelry can be overstimulating and hard to coordinate—it can appear lurid if not handled correctly. Not to mention, it’s heavy and it gets in the way. Jewelry should manifest as the bow on the box.
Fortunately jewelry is still susceptible to the grounding minimalist rules of simplicity. If you’re going to pull off that sleek minimal outfit you can’t have heaps of gaudy jewelry weighing it down. Let’s learn how to keep things light by getting a better sense of what minimalist jewelry is.
What is minimalist jewelry?
What is that? That almost imperceptible sparkle underneath her sleeve? That’s minimalist jewelry done right! With a flick of the sleeve it’s there, then it’s gone. Minimalist jewelry is subtle; it’s not meant to be big and loud.
It’s also not meant to be piled on. Just a light sprinkle with lots of space in between. This actually makes your dainty and delicate minimalist jewels more noticeable as the eye will naturally catch on them against the simplicity of your outfit.
“Minimal” is used to describe jewelry that is small, unassuming, and versatile. Some examples are thin metal chains, plain pearl pieces (a staple), uniform use of stones (no more than one kind of gem), and monotone pieces.
Minimalist jewelry also describes a style of jewelry that relies on simple depictions and geometric aspects (which make for a fun DIY project if you prefer to make your own!).
This style features basic shapes with pops of color; intertwined and overlapping shapes that create a dangling effect; experiments with dimension; metals and stones of coordinating hues; and charming silhouettes.
Another trademark of minimalist jewelry is the use of common, sometimes primitive materials such as metal plates and string. Minimalist style jewelry is quite elegant when paired with the right outfit.
There are some awesome perks to minimalist jewelry too! Firstly, it’s less expensive since it’s smaller and uses less material. Secondly, minimalist pieces are extremely versatile because they’re so monotone and simple.
A good selection can go with any outfit! Also, when you don’t have as many pieces of jewelry they’re easier to keep track of. Especially when you’re staying organized, and putting things back in their appropriate place after you use them. Not to mention, they make delightful gifts for friends and family!
Best Minimalist Jewelry Brands
It takes a special touch to make minimalist jewelry right. A shine here and a little notch there. They’re such simple designs that the slightest imperfection is detectable.
One also has to make sure that the elements of the piece are perfectly balanced so that it doesn’t appear too heavy or lacking. Brands worldwide have attempted to perfect it, and a few have hit the nail on the head. Here’s some of the most simply luxurious minimalist brands.
Wwake is boho chic with sharp corners. Designed by Wing Yau, Wwake’s jewelry line has blown people away with their asymmetric designs and ethereal use of opal.
Based in Los Angeles, Anita Ko produced pieces that play with texture and dimension in a way that exudes elegance.
Amanda Mounser of New York City is renowned for her splash-of-glam minimalist jewelry pieces.
The perfect words for Mejuri are clean, simple, elegant, and versatile. Plus they make their jewelry with ethically-sourced materials.
Louis Abel is really having fun with his (literally) wavy, fluorescent gold designs.
Gordon’s designs are a celebrity-favorite that play with shape and lean toward very shiny metals.
Simple and sharp, designer Matthew Harris has perfected the technique of making the stone the exclamation point.
How to Rock Minimalist Jewelry
You can’t really go wrong by going small and unassuming. Thin minimalist jewelry when paired with loose fabrics is especially feminine and soft. They take up very little space so you can even layer them without them looking piled on.
Plus, minimal bracelets look absolutely adorable on small kids (make sure they’re made of a strong metal).
Still not quite sure what to look for or what to wear? Truthfully, that probably means you’re overthinking it. Here’s a couple tricks to help you keep your jewelry-box minimalist-friendly while showing you how to maximize your minimal jewelry.
- Toss out big, gawdy pieces. It’s time to sort through your vanity! Go through your earrings, anklets, bracelets, necklaces, and body chains and take out articles that are multicolored, thick/bulky, or covered in funky patterns or shiny things.
- Stacked rings. Stacked rings are fitting for boho styles and, in lesser amounts, classy outfits. Plain silver and gold bands of varying shapes are a light and trendy addition. Introducing tube rings as well gives you the opportunity to play with shape.
- Size matters. Pay attention to how your jewelry fits. Consciously balance your loose and tight fitting jewelry. Or pair them together–for example, a choker and a long strand necklace.
- All about the earrings. They’re right next to your face which is the perfect opportunity to call attention to your radiant features. In other good news, there’s a wide variety of simple earring designs: flowers, smileys, moons, stars, triangles. Put together simple combinations of dangling and stud earrings, ear cuffs, and/or ear pins. Remember: sprinkle, don’t pile on.
- Hair accessories. Don’t forget hair accessories. We’re not talking headdresses or tiaras though. Some geometric hair clips and subtly embellished hair clips. Play with colors that match and contrast your hair. Maybe your idea of minimal head accessories could be pieces that correspond with your hair color and, hence, achieve that “barely there” effect.
- Select stones that match your eyes. Then you’ll always be matching in some regard! Eye color is an attribute that is way underestimated in how much it adds to an image.
- Coordinate your metal and skin tone. Fair skin people tend to pull off silver and rose gold better. Darker toned people make gold pop. Also, the darker you are, the greater you look in warm, vibrant colors. The lighter you are the better you look in cool colors. This isn’t a rule that will make or break your outfit though—you look amazing either way.
- Staple pieces of minimalist jewelry that you should consider acquiring include: small diamond stud earrings, monotone hair clips, 1 mm. wide silver/gold chain, a pearl necklace and bracelet, and silver/gold hoop earrings.
The Fail Safe
When in doubt about how much is too much to be minimal, go as basic as possible. You’re always safe rocking a thin solid silver or gold chain. These can unconditionally be worn pretty much anywhere, to any occasion, and look good.
There’s a wide selection of link styles, even a few unconventional ones if you don’t want to go too plain. A plain chain with a single diamond accent is in the safezone as well.
The concepts behind minimalist jewelry make it a wonderful DIY opportunity. Play with the use of unsophisticated materials such as pipe cleaners, threads, beads, charms, and wood elements.
Stick to a single garnish when making your jewelry in order to avoid over-embellishment. Mess around with different shades of the same color to create depth.
Fashion trends are always shifting and changing. What makes minimalism timeless is the flexibility that’s inherent in its simplicity. Long before it had a name trendsetters were taking advantage of the versatility of minimalist fashion.
But minimalist or not, anyone can benefit from adaptability and sharp style of minimalist jewelry (remember, there’s a difference between minimalist and minimalistic).
Add a dash of you into your jewelry selection, that’s what makes it fun. Personalize your minimalist jewelry selection with small pendant necklaces and plain, gemless charm bracelets depicting some of your favorite things.
A small, solid gold locket with the photo of a lover inside. Perfectly elegant things like that! Making it yours makes it so much more special, and a lot more likely that you’ll hold onto it longer.