Ever wondered if there was a right way to wear jewelry? If yes, you’ll be happy to know, there is. Below, we’ve listed 13 rules on how and when to wear jewelry.

But before we begin, we would like to emphasize one key tip: keep it simple in the day, rich at night, and authentic all around.

1.. Very young ladies should not wear a lot of jewelry. It’s like seeing a toddler with a lot of make-up on… disconcerting. Instead, it is more appropriate for young ladies to wear simple gold jewelry. The less, the better.

2.. Do not wear too much jewelry at any time of the day. For example, if you wear stacking bracelets, do not wear multiple necklaces and earrings. You do not want to decorate yourself like a Christmas tree.

woman wearing jewelry, following etiquetter rules3.. Do not wear diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, and other transparent stones before 5pm. They belong with evening clothes. It would be like wearing sequins to breakfast.

There is also an old rule that says one should not wear pearls before 5pm. Over the last few decades, this rule has been relaxed. But know some still follow this rule strictly. If you want to wear pearls in the day, single strand necklaces with matching studs are the safest options. In the evening, you can pull out the multiple strands from your jewelry box with little concern.

4.. Only wear long pendant and drop earrings after 5pm. Whether casual or formal, these types of jewelry belong in the evening.

5.. Wear simple jewelry during the day. You can keep it simple by wearing gold pieces (earrings, necklace, bracelet, and/or brooch) with simple designs. Remember to always keep it appropriate to your outfit, your location, and the people surrounding you. The more conservative you want to be, the less and smaller the jewelry you should wear. For example, in a conservative office setting, it is best to wear gold stud or small hoop earrings.

6.. Do not wear gaudy jewelry, whether real or fake, expensive or cheap. In general, the rule less is more is the best rule to follow. The bigger the jewelry the more you have to be careful with it. Gaudy can rarely be made elegant.

7.. Do not mix gold jewelry with silver, and rubies with sapphires. For example, don’t wear a gold necklace and a silver bracelet together. It’s the equivalent of wearing print over print. The exception to this rule is if you wear pieces that have been made that way, like a matching mixed metal ring and earring set or a ruby bracelet bordered with diamonds.

8.. Wear matching jewelry sets in the evening. Matching sets look more coherent. If you cannot, keep it simple. For example if you have a statement necklace you want to wear but don’t have matching earrings, pair it with very simple earrings of the same metal and stones. The smaller they are, the less people will be able to compare and contrast.

9.. If possible, do not wear costume jewelry. Real jewels and metals, no matter how small and simple will always be more tasteful. If you cannot afford real jewels, wear small and simple fake jewels. Large costume jewelry tend to have a fake and gaudy look.

10.. Never wear stacking bracelets and bangles or anything that jangles to quiet locations like offices, libraries, religious centers, and study halls. The noise they make whenever you move will sound extra loud in a quiet room. This can be distracting and annoying to others.

Also try to avoid wearing them at formal dinners. If you fail to lift your hand sufficiently high each time you stretch your hand forward, they will hit against something (your dinner plate, wine glass, water glass, soup bowl). The constant clanging of your bracelets could ruin the atmosphere of the dinner.

11.. Never brag about the size of your diamond or any other jewel. And if people ask for its size, it is best to say you don’t know. Talking about the size of your diamond is like talking about how much money you have in the bank. Both a no-no.

elegant classy lady with pearls, finishing school teaching etiquette12.. Wear necklaces that fit the shape of your bodice. For example, there are only three appropriate necklaces for high neck tops like the ballerina neck. They are: no necklace, a choker necklace, or a long necklace. The key for high neck tops is to wear a necklace that won’t bury itself underneath your top. When choosing a necklace, always take into consideration the neckline of your top or dress.

13.. The final rule is: always be ready to adjust all the rules listed above. You must always remember to consider the location, the time, and the people involved whenever you are choosing jewelry to wear. You don’t always have to adhere strictly to the rules above. As a matter of fact, you shouldn’t. The best part about finishing school is learning when and how to break the rules.

For example, if you are going to the Coachella Music Festival, you should have fun and go wild. It’s what Coachella is all about. So, don’t be afraid to adapt. Wear feathers in your ears and cheap rainbow bangles up to your elbows.

However, if you are attending an embassy event in Washington D.C., it is best you follow as many rules as you can. Here’s the thing to understand: at freedom-loving events like Coachella, you are first judged by how wild and creative you look. On the other hand, at conservative events, you are first judged by how elegant you look.

In the end, now that you’ve read these rules, it’s all about how you want to present yourself at a particular event. What reaction do you want to create with your look? How do you want people to treat you? What do you want to gain by wearing …?

No matter how much you may want to rebel against dress codes, this system is in place because people are influenced by first impressions. And their first impression begins with your look – your clothing, jewelry, shoes, and purse.

grace kelly wearing a diamond necklace jewelry, formal etiquette

If you walk into a luncheon with a strand of diamonds around your neck and your wrist, people will think of you as being nouveau riche, wanting to show off your wealth in ignorant ways.

On the other hand, if you walk into a formal ball wearing no jewelry, you will appear unfinished. And people will think you did not have enough money to accentuate your gown with the right jewelry.

We understand that there are many people today who have a strong need to rebel. If this is you, we encourage you to schedule in freedom-loving events and meet-ups where you can let loose with little objection. Get the rebellion out your system, so you can give traditional events the elegance they require.



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Elegant Deportment, an 8 week course by Balissande Finishing School


Poise, grace, elegance, and savoir-faire are the end result of study and practice.