My little nugget of wisdom on using jewelry as an accessory is that you actually don't need to own very much jewelry to fit all of your wardrobe choices. I've been able to narrow it down to just owning four necklaces to cover your wardrobe.
If you have trouble deciding what you like in jewelry, think it's too expensive or don't want to be a woman with an large jewelry box of pieces she rarely wears then this is what I advise. As far as necklaces go which are the most visible pieces of jewelry, the four necklaces you should own are: a strand of red coral, turquoise, light green jade and white pearls.
I came by this conclusion by observing paintings in the many museums I have visited over the years (the art world was my first career). I started to notice besides the grand heirloom jewelry you see in portraits of aristocrats from another age, the jewelry painted on the women of yesteryear were simple but attractive. I also started watching what women wore for jewelry in movies depicting women one or two centuries ago. That is when I was able to narrow it down to the fore mentioned four necklaces.
Me at my birthday party with my favorite red coral necklaceRed Coral Necklace
I first noticed the red coral necklace in a Masterpiece Theater movie where an eighteen century woman wearing a canary yellow dress was wearing a simple strand of round red coral beads. I found it very striking and it popped nicely against her skin. I own a magnificent seed beaded red coral necklace that I get stopped on multiple occasions every time I wear it. The red coral goes well with bright, primary colors such as yellow, blues, oranges, pinks, etc. The red coral also comes in so many shapes and formations it is a very fashionable stone to wear.
Megan Fox wearing turquoise against her skin with a black dress.Turquoise Necklace
My second discovery was how great turquoise pops against your skin and looks great against black, brown and dark items of clothing. Turquoise to me always use to connote American Indian jewelry and I really had no desire to wear it. Now jewelry designers have started using the stones in contemporary designs without the silver and it definitely makes a statement as I feel turquoise is one of the most beautiful colors especially since it matches the color of the sky.
Naomi Watts holding her son with a light green jade necklace whilst wearing white.Light Green Jade
My choice of light green jade came after seeing a picture of the actress Naomi Watts in a beautiful white eyelet dress holding her toddler son. She was wearing a light green jade necklace and I loved how soft it made her look. White is always a good backdrop for colorful necklaces but the light green made a new statement. I now love wearing light green jade in the summer with my white dresses.
Jackie O wearing her iconic white pearl necklace.Pearl Necklace
My last choice is the of course the classic white pearl necklace. It's iconic and goes with most outfits whether formal or semi-casual. Although it can be read as conservative, many designers these days are making bold, fun statements with pearl necklaces. My favorite is Kenneth Jay Lane who made pieces for my favorite pearl necklace wearer and style icon, Jackie O. KJL still comes out with pieces that are not only very fashionable but affordable too as he also works with faux pearls. Try a triple strand, or a pearl bib. The little black dress and the white pearl necklace will forever be a fashion do as it reads simple elegance.
Maybe after owning these four necklaces you will start being inspired by gold, silver, diamonds and other precious or semi-precious stones but I guarantee you that if you possess a strand of red coral, turquoise, light green jade and white pearls you will feel completely covered in the "jewelry as an accessory" department. Then it's onto rings, earrings, bracelets, etc!