If you’re thinking “what colour jewellery suits me” then you’ve come to the right the right place.
Trying to find your perfect piece of jewellery can be very difficult. That’s especially true if it’s something you’re investing in, such as an engagement ring. Picking the right metals and colours that suit you is paramount if it’s going to be a piece you want to cherish.
Popularity isn’t always the best way to choose your jewellery. Just because something is in fashion doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right for you.
Some jewellery can make you look drained, dull and may sometimes even go as far as making you look unwell. However, some jewellery will have the opposite effect, making your skin ‘pop’, as if you’ve just come back from a relaxing spa break or holiday.
But how do you pick the pieces that have the correct effect?
We’ve outlined a few tips to help you answer that all-encompassing question ‘what colour jewellery suits me?’
Understanding your skin undertones
One of the key things to consider when thinking about ‘what colour jewellery suits me’ is to work out what undertones you have.
You may think that the answer lies in knowing your complexion (i.e. colour, texture and appearance). However, that’s slightly different from identifying your undertones. Two people can appear to have the same complexion, but not necessarily the same undertones.
There are three different categories of undertones. These are:
Veins on your wrist can help to determine your undertone. Generally speaking, if they are:
- bluish-purplish you have a cool undertone
- blue-greenish you have a neutral undertone
- olive-greenish you have a warm undertone
Normally, those with warmer undertones usually have hints of yellow, peach, golden tones. Those with cooler undertones will have more pinks, reds, or blues in the colour of their skin and those with a neutral skin tone will have a mixture of these colours.
How to identify your skin undertones
So, how do you put this into practice? Here are a few tips to help you identify your undertones.
The light test
Shine the light from a torch over your wrist. This will help you see the colour of your veins more clearly.
Note, if your veins aren’t visible as one of the ‘colourways’ listed above, you most likely have a neutral undertone.
White t-shirt test
Put on a simple white top—this could be a blouse, t-shirt or even just a white piece of material held close to your face.
When you look in the mirror, does your appearance seem washed out? If so, you most likely have a cooler undertone. However, if you look healthy and tanned, you have a warmer undertone.
This test will only work with your natural hair colour, so unfortunately if you’ve had a recent trip to the hairdressers, you’ll have to skip this tip.
If you have icy blond or ash light brown hair, you are likely to have a cooler undertone.
On the flip side, black, caramel blond or darker brown hair usually indicate a warm undertone.
Red hair is tricky, as depending upon the shade, it could sit with cool, warm, or neutral skin tones.
Despite natural hair colour guiding skin tone, jewellery designer Charlotte Blakeney suggested to Grazia that “Blondes who go to darker tones, for instance, can find a rose gold a good alternative to silver and gold. Pale skin tones who have recently gone blonde find that 9kt or 14kt gold suddenly looks much more striking than before.”
Though this may be a little controversial as everyone’s skin type is different, the ease in which you tan can be an indicator of your skin tone.
Those who tan quickly and easily are suggested to have warmer undertones, and those who turn pink or burn quickly are thought to have cooler undertones.
This is based on the theory that those with cool undertones have less pigmented skin.
Despite this being a simple way to check your undertones, we don’t suggest you sit outside in direct sunshine for too long, and always remember your sun cream!
Choosing the right jewellery metal
Before thinking about jewellery colours, you need to work out what metals will suit your needs and lifestyle. Choosing the right metal may depend on your budget and the durability you’re looking for.
Platinum is described as a ‘precious metal’ as it retains its colour for a lifetime, meaning it’s very easy to maintain.
It is the most durable of all jewellery materials. When scratched will not lose any metal—ensuring it does not wear over time.
Price wise it will set you back more than other metals, however it will last longer and does not require to be re-plated.
Best for: People with cooler undertones who are looking to purchase an investment piece such as an engagement or wedding ring.
Gold is categorised in karats, which tell you the percentage of gold in the metal. You can buy gold in 24, 18, 14 or 10 karats.
Though 24 karat is pure gold, it is also very soft and can struggle to hold shape. 18 karat is suggested as being best for jewellery as it holds up better with everyday wear.
Gold can be mixed with other metals to create different colours using their alloys. This means it’s a great option for those who have a smaller budget, but want variety.
Best for: Those who are looking to invest but have a smaller budget. It works well for all skin tones, as there is a variety of colours available in gold.
Silver is considered the cheaper alternative to white gold and platinum but is still long lasting and holds its shape well.
It is often alloyed together with copper to add strength. When this is done it is called ‘sterling silver’.
Unlike white gold, silver often requires regular cleaning as it can tarnish easily. However, it will never rust making it a good candidate for regularly worn jewellery.
Best for: Cooler skin tones and those who are on a tight budget.
If you are on a budget, there is an option to purchase ‘plated’ jewellery.
Plated jewellery works by coating a metal (this could be stainless steel, gold or silver) in a thin layer of another metal to change its appearance. Gold or silver plating is most common.
Whilst this is a wallet friendly option, plated jewellery doesn’t have a very long lifespan due to its delicate nature. With only a thin layer of your desired coloured metal coating your jewellery it can easily wear off if not cared for correctly.
However, if you are considering gold plated jewellery you can read our guide to caring for it here: How To Look After Gold Plated Jewellery.
There are also other options for those on a budget. For example, some brands offer a gold filled or gold vermeil option. As with plated jewellery, these pieces are less investment and need to be well cared for to preserve their colour.
Best for: All skin tones, especially if you’re not looking for an investment piece but more costume jewellery.
Picking your jewellery colour
Now we’re getting to the good part of actually selecting the right colour jewellery for you.
After following our guide to help determine your skin tone, you should now have an idea of what category you sit in, cool, warm or neutral.
For cool skin tones the most flattering jewellery colours for you are platinum, white gold or silver. If you’re looking to pair your jewellery with colourful stones, you may wish to opt for purple, pink, deep reds and bright blues.
For warm skin tones you will be looking for yellowish coloured jewellery, so gold would be best. For gem stones, look to pair your jewellery with earthy toned colours such as, brown, green, orange, yellow and turquoise.
For neutral skin tones, you have the option of all the above, so choose something that makes you feel most happy and perhaps let your budget guide you. However, grey, bright white, and navy colours will help to make your skin pop when picking jewellery colours.
Rose gold and copper
We have been slightly cheeky by leaving out these two metals in our guide.
Rose gold and copper jewellery have come into fashion within the last decade as another option for jewellery colour. Though they sit best with warmer skin tones, their soft pink metal tones means they are an option that can be worn by all.
Pearls have snuck themselves into our list. Though they aren’t a metal or distinctively coloured gemstone, pearls actually come in three main shades.
Many of us will think of pearls in their traditional white shade, but they’re also available in rose tinted and silver.
Those with warmer skin tones match best with silver tinted pearls, and cooler skin tones often look best in rose tinted pearls. White coloured pearls can be worn by all skin tones, and are work especially well for neutral tones.
If one colour metal just isn’t enough for you, or if you love a metal that doesn’t suit your skin tone, then metal mixing or two-tone jewellery might be the way to go.
The old rules of style tell us that one should never wear gold and silver together, but these days breaking with those fashion traditions means that you don’t have to limit yourself.
One final tip to help with mixing metals and colours is that it’s often best to pick a dominant colour and add highlights of another. For example, if you’re a warm tone, but love silver, you can opt for a piece of jewellery that is mainly gold with silver accents. The possibilities are endless!
Don’t be afraid to take time exploring what looks good and experiment before making your purchase.
Whilst we’ve taken your through skin tone and colour theory, at the end of the day finding the right jewellery is a matter of personal preference and choice. After all these are just guidelines, not rules.
In the modern age we believe that ‘style rules’ are there to be broken, so as long as you feel good in your jewellery, that’s all that truly matters.
However, having a guide should help to prevent you making the wrong choice, avoid impulsive buying and to remove the major guess work when thinking “what jewellery colour suits me?”.
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