The Quiet Luxury of Vintage Jewelry

Diamond and 18-karat gold ring, signed Cartier, courtesy J. & S.S. DeYoung (@laurendeyoungjewelry).

Quiet luxury is a look, a feeling and a mood that has become the darling of the fashion world. The effortless appeal of quiet luxury has been all over social media, mass media and runways. The hit television show about a billionaire family, “Succession”, has also been very influential in igniting the quiet luxury movement. Quiet luxury is not exactly new, it’s always in the fashion background, it’s just having a new moment in the spotlight and it’s a look that requires jewelry with vintage jewelry particularly right for this style.

What is Quiet Luxury?

Diamond, 18-karat gold and diamond bangles, signed Van Cleef & Arpels, Paris, courtesy L’Epoque D’or (@lepoquedor).

What is quiet luxury, sometimes known as stealth wealth? It’s a style philosophy that promotes purchasing less items that are better quality. Quiet luxury is about having a collection of top quality basics that can be added into your existing wardrobe that will be wearable for years to come. The look is timeless, minimalist and refined, a simple elegance that never goes out of style. It’s about sharp tailoring, attention to detail and the craft of couture, mindful shopping and purchasing pieces that will last forever. Quiet luxury points to sustainability, high quality clothes are repaired rather than thrown out.

Cashmere, leather and silk are important fabrics for creating a quiet luxury look, while the color palette stays neutral in camel, cream, black, white and gray. Rather than being a runway spectacle, quiet luxury is about real life and the clothes we wear to live our lives, these are clothes that can be worn everyday throughout the year, clothes that can be re-worn season after season. It’s about understated elegance and elevated basics. Quiet luxury is not about logos, brands, bright colors or the fleeting trend of the moment. It is the opposite of fast fashion, asking us to keep our clothes forever rather than tossing them out after one season of use.

Dressing for Quiet Luxury

Diamond and 18-karat gold half-hoop clip earrings, signed Van Cleef & Arpels, Paris, circa 1974, courtesy Hancocks of London (@hancocks_london).

Accessories are key to putting together a quiet luxury look, including jewelry. But first let’s take a look at some of the building blocks you’ll need in your wardrobe to create this style. A white tee-shirt or tank, a white button down blouse, relaxed trousers, a blazer, wide legged jeans, a trench coat, leather jacket and long wool coat, sunglasses, sleek skirts, knits, a simple handbag, loafers and ballet flats are quiet luxury wardrobe essentials. Jewelry that looks like it has been handed down from one generation to the next is part of the look making beautiful, high quality vintage pieces a perfect fit for this style.

Since the idea of quiet luxury is to not be overdone, there are a couple of ways to style your jewelry with this trend in mind. You’ll want to choose classic pieces for this look. Simple gold or gold and diamond bangles are fitting as is a platinum and diamond line bracelet. Basic diamond solitaire, or diamond hoop earrings are a good fit for quiet luxury as are simple gold hoops or earrings that stay close to the ear. Gold chains, a riviere necklace or simple diamond solitaire are good choices for neckwear. And of course there is nothing more elegant than a single brooch worn on a stunning coat or blazer.

The Rule of Two

Diamond, platinum and 18-karat gold brooch, by Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co., courtesy Fortrove (@fortrove).

To achieve this stealth wealth attitude, you’ll need to be restrained with your jewelry to create a sophisticated aura. You can always use the “rule of two”, which is what women did during the 1940s. They wore two pieces of jewelry, in any combination. The jewelry elevated their look just enough to be tasteful, but not over the top. You can wear diamond hoop earrings and a diamond solitaire necklace and then add a bigger bracelet, or wear a couple of small bangles, diamond solitaire earrings and a gold chain necklace. You can wear one cocktail ring and a brooch, play around with combinations of jewelry until you find exactly what you love. A luminous pearl strand also whispers quiet luxury.

Quiet luxury never goes out of style. It’s about building a classic wardrobe with high quality basics as the foundation and adding luxe accessories that help to elevate the look further. Vintage jewelry, that has stood the test of time, is the perfect complement to the understated chic of quiet luxury.

Top of page: courtesy Kristina Petrick, Unsplash.

Authored by Amber Michelle