Jewelry Etiquette 101

When it comes to jewelry, there are a few unwritten rules that everyone should follow. Here's a quick guide to help you avoid any fashion faux pas:


This is a question that many people ask, especially when it comes to special occasions such as weddings or parties. Jewelry etiquette is simply good manners when it comes to wearing and caring for your jewelry.



You might be thinking, "Who cares about jewelry etiquette? I'll wear what I want when I want." But trust us, following good jewelry etiquette can save you from a lot of potential embarrassment (and maybe even some hurt feelings).

Think about it this way: would you show up to a black tie event in jeans and a t-shirt? Of course not! Just like there is a dress code for certain events, there is also a jewelry code. And just like breaking the dress code can be considered rude, so can breaking the jewelry code.

So whether you're attending a formal event or just wanting to make sure you're being polite and respectful, there are certain jewelry etiquette rules that everyone should follow.


Make sure your jewelry is in good condition before leaving for an event. This means no missing stones, tarnished metals, or bent links. If you don't have time to get your jewelry professionally cleaned, at least give it a quick once-over with a soft cloth before heading out the door.
Don't wear fake jewelry to an event where real diamonds are more appropriate. For example, don't wear costume jewelry if you attend a black-tie fundraiser at the Met or a night at the opera. Likewise, don't wear rhinestones if you're attending a formal event that calls for pearls. Formal events mean formal jewels—and there's no way around it. Black-tie events call for real, genuine pieces.

If you must wear faux jewels to a formal event, make sure they are good fakes that look like the real thing. Also, don't overdo it—a few well-chosen pieces are all you need. And avoid looking cheap by mixing and matching different types of fake jewelry. So, for example, if you're wearing a faux diamond necklace, don't pair it with fake pearl earrings. The mismatch will be obvious to everyone and cheapen your evening look.

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. If you have an amazing piece of costume jewelry that you simply must wear, go for it! After all, fashion is all about having fun and expressing your personal style. So if you love your costume jewelry, don't be afraid to show it off—even at formal events.

Don't borrow jewelry from friends or family members unless you are absolutely sure you will return it in the same condition.
Don't wear attention-grabbing jewelry that might compete with your guest of honor or hostess. For example, If you're attending a cocktail party, don't wear an enormous ring that will constantly knock glasses off tables or a pair of earrings that will get tangled in the hostess's hair when you hug her hello. If you're going to a seated dinner, avoid long necklaces that might dangle in the soup or get wrapped around your neighbor's fork.

We may be exaggerating a bit here, but you get the idea - use good judgment when it comes to your jewelry choice and try not to outshine the event's special guests.

Avoid wearing anything that might be considered controversial or offensive. This includes religious symbols, political statement pieces, or anything else that could potentially cause a stir.

It is ok to compliment another party-goer on a lovely piece of jewelry, but never ask for its price. Even if the jewelry in question is something you would like to own, asking for the price is considered rude in most social circles.


Be mindful of how much noise your jewelry is making. Chunky bracelets and jangly necklaces can distract others, so try to keep them to a minimum.

Don't play with your jewelry when speaking to someone, as this is horrible social etiquette. Not only is it distracting, but it sends the signal that you are not listening. While you may think it's harmless, others might find it irritating or distracting. You wouldn't want someone to play with their hair while speaking to them, would you? Please keep your hands still and only move them when necessary.


And there you have it! You are now well-versed in the basics of jewelry etiquette. Whether you're attending a black tie event or just want to make sure you're not committing any major fashion faux pas, following these guidelines will ensure that you look polished and put-together. So go forth and accessorize with confidence!