As I continue to pivot my closet from the “more is more” mentality of my 20s to focus on quality over quantity in my 30s, I’ve found that I’m appreciating my jewelry collection more than ever. When you’re trying to make your oversized men’s oxford and jeans feel unique to you and compete with the minimalist influencers of the world, it helps to have a few special pieces to spice up the look. And while I’ll always be loyal to classic gold and silver baubles, lately it’s my colorful beaded gemstone jewelry — necklaces especially — that are the real work horses of my wardrobe.
Call it a holdover from my childhood spent stringing beads and braiding friendship bracelets in the ‘90s, but I sincerely believe that a craft-inspired necklace is such a versatile piece of jewelry — even if you’ve never considered wearing this style before. Whether you want to layer up a few with a simple white t-shirt (my current go-to for summer when your brain is melting and you’re almost too hot to reinvent the fashion wheel) or go all-out with a maximalist color block look à la Christopher John Rogers or Dries Van Noten, a colorful necklace is the sartorial cherry on top of your outfit.
So if you’re also a nostalgic ‘90s baby looking to upgrade their original plastic beaded necklace from camp, or you’re in the mood to shake up your jewelry drawer with a few brightly colored options, I can’t recommend the below selection highly enough. Take a walk on the colorful side and shop eight of my tried-and-true favorites for summer and into fall.
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I recently snagged this chunky stunner of a necklace from one of my favorite brands, Chan Luu, and I have to say, I feel like a million bucks when I wear it. Friends and family always shower me with compliments and lately I’ve taken to pairing it with a simple ribbed tank and baggy cargo pants.
I’ve been drooling over this rainbow gemstone necklace for *months* and I think it might finally be time to pull the trigger as a “congrats, you survived the NYC heatwave” gift to myself. I mean, who doesn’t want to rock the semi-precious gemstone necklace that counts Justin Bieber as a fan?
I love a two-tone necklace and this Lizzie Fortunato beauty feels particularly special. It’s lightweight and super easy to wear with anything from a fluttery sheer top to a slinky silk dress.
Roxanne Assoulin might as well have written the book on craft-inspired jewelry — such is the spell she’s cast on the fashion industry. Her trademark U-Tube necklace is a must for any colorful necklace collector.
I’ve loved this Miami-based brand ever since they launched in 2018 (then under the name Coqui) and I’m thrilled to watch their evolution into a true fashion girl staple. The duo of pearls and colorful beads makes this necklace a must-have for any occasion and aesthetic.
If you can’t resist a touch of gold with your colorful gemstone pieces, then this Martha Calvo option is ideal. It screams summer fun, preferably while on vacation with your best friends in Italy like everyone else on Instagram these days.
Again, I have a weakness for two-tone jewelry. I love the touch of sparkle with this rhinestone cutie in my favorite shade (green, forever and always). I’d wear this peeking out from a super masculine button down in navy blue stripes and a slouchy linen trouser.
Designer Christina Tung’s pieces are not only made with upcycled materials (making each entirely unique) but there is such an aura of thoughtfulness that it truly feels like you’ll keep this necklace in your collection for generations to come. The shell, carnelian, aventurine, jasper, quartz, pink opal make such a stunning combo.