Discover how a discrete diamond or an occasional opal can zhoosh up the finest frock


The Cartier Magicien Collection diamond Incantation necklace has a 22.84-carat sapphire; Cartier’s Oracle necklace holds emeralds from Colombia and diamonds.

Big girls need big diamonds” was Elizabeth Taylor’s take on the subject, while Coco Chanel famously asserted that “a woman needs ropes and ropes of pearls.” Despite their slightly different preferences, it is safe to say that both were firm believers that jewellery can make or break an outfit, particularly when dressing for a gala event or a high society soirée.

The key to achieving the requisite sophisticated look is balance. Ideally, a dazzling sequin dress, for example, should be complemented by small, dainty earrings and very little else. Simple, classic dresses, meanwhile, can be spruced up with a jaw-dropping statement piece, such as Piaget’s Sunny Side of Life pink gold necklace, complete with an oval-cut Paraiba tourmaline from Mozambique, all surrounded by diamonds, pink sapphires and yet more blue tourmalines. As a rule of thumb, if one item is overstated, the remainder can be a little more demure.

A prime example of the former, courtesy of Piaget, is a stunning pair of 18K white gold dangle earrings, fetchingly adorned with 460 brilliant-cut diamonds in a cascading circular design. These were recently modeled to great effect by Jessica Chastain, the US actress and Piaget brand ambassador. In a similar vein, white gold cuffs emblazoned with blue sapphires or Piaget’s emerald and diamond jewellery sets all add a touch of glamour to any gala gown.

“As a rule of thumb, if one item is overstated, the remainder can be a little more demure”

Cartier is also clearly in the “go big or go home” camp, a commitment underlined by its diamond Incantation necklace, an accessory that can be transformed to suit any occasion. This choker-style necklace can be easily elongated, while its detachable Ceylon sapphire pendant can also be worn as a ring. Even more playful options courtesy of Cartier – and just perfect for complementing a cocktail dress – are its desert-themed collection of cactus-shaped rings, earrings and necklaces.

For those looking for a bold splash of colour, Bulgari’s Ispirazioni Italiane necklace dazzles with an array of pink tourmalines, amethysts, emerald beads, red spinels and diamonds. Chopard has also chosen to forefront diamonds in its Temptations Haute Joaillerie collection, with the range boasting a sophisticated set of earrings with oval-cut, marquise-cut, pear-shaped and brilliant-cut diamonds.

While earrings and necklaces in vibrant colours are very much in vogue right now, any budding Ms Taylors and Ms Chanels – with a distinct penchant for classic gemstones – will still surely find something to catch their eye in this season’s jewellery collections.


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