Statement Jewelry

What your accessories say about you


Jahna Peloquin
photo by 2nd truth photography

Historically, the finest jewels and gold were worn by royalty as a way to denote status—exemplified in grand style earlier this year in The Habsburgs: Rarely Seen Masterpieces from Europe’s Greatest Dynasty, a Minneapolis Institute of Art exhibition showcasing the family’s heirlooms.

The rejection of clothing and jewelry can be equally symbolic; Buddhist monks give away everything they own to signify leaving the concerns of the physical world behind, for instance. 

In my case, adornment is less a way to show my social status or symbolize my beliefs as it is a tool of self-expression. I pick a piece to wear based on my mood as well as an image I want to project. 

My favorite jewelry pieces are linked by a common thread: I treasure those most that tell a story, whether of my own personal history or of the piece itself. For example, a trio of sterling silver rings containing turquoise and black-and-white onyx stones that I plucked from my mother’s jewelry box as a teenager. She purchased the rings while teaching art at Yankton College in South Dakota. They perfectly suited her long, center-parted hippie hairstyle—as well as my long, piano-player fingers. For me, those rings signified a step forward in my style evolution and a way to connect me to my personal history. 

Another one of my biggest style influences as a teenager was my flame-haired aunt/godmother LuAnn, who was almost never seen without a stack of silver bangles on each wrist and an eclectic array of rings on nearly every finger. At the time, it was a relatively new look; she only started wearing jewelry when she was well into her 40s. “I wanted to be flashy and have this stuff making noise,” she says of her now-signature bangles. “I knew it was bangles, and a lot of them.” For aunt Lu, her jewelry isn’t about showing off. “It’s just my personal thing and I like it,” she says. “I just figure if you’re going to wear something you might as well have people notice—the more, the better.”

Though I typically opt for more minimalist pieces, such as my gold-plated, pyramid-tipped collar by Minneapolis’ Hardt Jewelry, I still get a thrill when I dress up in grander, statement-making pieces like aunt Lu. Lately, my favorite styling trick has been to layer on some of my favorite vintage brooches and pins to the lapel of a jacket to give it a modern edge. It’s about taking something old and making it my own. 

As LuAnn puts it, wearing jewelry is “different for everybody—no two women are alike.” So whether you’re a less-is-more or a more-is-more type, wearing jewelry is a way to make a statement without ever having to move your lips.

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About The TC Style Blog

From boutiques to salons to your own closet, TC Style will bring you expertly curated tips and tricks from the local shopping, fashion, beauty, wellness, and design scene. Odds are if you put it on, take it off, hang it up, or cut it out, we’ll tell you how to get it. Most importantly, we know that when you look good and feel good, you do good—the beautiful life is about much more than the material world. (But that won’t stop us from loving it.)

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