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WELCOME, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, to the new theater of 3-D jewelry.  What you’ll see here is like nothing you’ve seen before:  jewelry that is usually big (or huge, or even gigantic) and which, moreover, has been taken to a third dimension. These are pieces that not only sit on the skin, they stand away from the body.  They make “statement jewelry” look conventional! 


Imagine taking a tennis ball and hanging it around your neck from a heavy metal chain.  Then gold-plate the ball for a little glitz and glamour and…voila!…you’ve got the beginning of 3-D jewelry.  A flower isn’t just a flower etched onto a flat material, nor is it even silver or gold, say, fashioned to look like a flower.  No…!  This is a crafted flower, with numerous petals and inner pieces, all rounded out like a flower grows, in 3-D.  Wild!


ANOTHER PARTICULARLY FASCINATING thing about most 3-D jewelry is that it has taken normal balance and, you might say, thrown it out the window.  The pieces just don’t fit the size of the outfit.  They overwhelm it.  So, get used to this new balance, which at first looks peculiar, even gross.  It is the new directive!  The strange thing is, the more you see it, the more natural it starts to look.  Well, almost.


                                                  Vera Wang


A recent photo of designer Vera Wang shows her wearing a huge necklace that falls just short of the waist. But is made up of multiple layers of heavy chain with big (very big) 3-D cameos (6 in all) dropping off, so as to create a bib of remarkable jewelry.  Wang says the necklace, made of very oversized resin crystal cameos, was inspired by her set of antique cameos…greatly enlarged and enhanced! 


Costume jewelry, she says, “is something you can enjoy with a T-shirt and not feel like you’re in something grand.” 

–Well, we’d have to question that, because if this necklace isn’t grand, what is?




  • Agate and jasper chunky jewelry.  These one-of-a-kind pieces are each a mix of shapes of semi-precious stones.  Made of banded agate, striped onyx, intricate ocean jasper and opaque faceted jasper, in neutral colors, each offers its own dazzling 3-D effect.




  • Big, hot, and very 3-D:  This Baroque beaded necklace adjusts to 20″ in length and is offered in a very trendy choice of bright colors.


                                            Solar-System Effect


MARC JACOBS SHOWED some spectacular earrings in his recent runway show, most notably huge earrings with a single ball dropping down from thin interlaced chains on each ear, creating a 3-D solar-system effect.  He also showed big hoop earrings that looked like large black and gold bangle bracelets attached to the ears. Again, 3-D. 


The cover of the July issue of Vogue Magazine shows a large choker (worn by celebrity-model-actress Sienna Miller).  On one hand, the piece is truly gorgeous but, on the other, it also looks remarkably like a handful of sea life from a barrier reef, all bunched together and then hung around the neck. In a strange way, it gives you a heightened appreciation of the beauty of both crystals and the sea.

   –This dramatic multicolored metallic Swarovski necklace is by haute couture designer Nina Ricci and it is very 3-D!


MORE ON THE 3-D CIRCUIT:  Wow!  Consider this fabulous big white agate ring and this stunning quartz ring, both by jewelry designer David Yurman, who has always had a talent for big, bulky, out-of-proportion accessories. Or, check out couture designer Michael Kors’ super big black onyx-looking chain link necklace that sells for a mere $700.  Then, there’s this wild cluster of silver balls making up a big 3-D ring by Robert Lee Morris.  It’s just $450. 


                                     Fashion and Fingernails


Eddie Borgo also has a very big gold bracelet on the market, as does Frank Gehry for Tiffany & Co., both big bangles, just that Tiffany’s is several times the size of Borgo’s.  Either way, they are both good-looking and bulky, and writing with either one on would be just about impossible. But, hey, who wants to write when you can look this good? 

 –Remember the ancient Chinese sages with their foot-long curving fingernails?  They put their hands out of commission altogether!  As Shakespeare said, “All is vanity.”




  • This chunky ceramic beaded necklace fans out in a semi-circle of dramatic trapezoid shapes.  In masterfully crafted patterns, it comes in either dark sage or wine for a very sophisticated look.




  • These geometric earrings serve up good taste in a fashion-forward design.  Concentric hoops alternate in gold- and silver-plate and are beautifully hand-polished.  3-D dynamics!




One more point about 3-D jewelry.  Not only is it out-of-proportion to the clothing it is supposed to be accessorizing, its very size often makes it the subject of primary attention, rather than a charming add-on.  Just look at several top fashion magazines, and see how the jewelry is often what they are featuring, not the clothing. Is this amazing?  It is a very significant change.

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Thursday, June 25th, 2009

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