Match Your Jewelry to Your Neckline

Match Your Jewelry to Your Neckline

In the winter issue of Stringing, there's a great article titled "Jewelry Rules: How to Accessorize 5 Favorite Tops."  The basic idea is that different types of necklines work best with different types of jewelry.  I found the article fascinating–probably because I've figured this out only with a lot of trial and error!

How to Accessorize a Halter Top

Stringing editor Danielle Fox challenged me to make a pair of "statement" earrings, one of the suggested types of jewelry for a high halter top.  This was a tough assignment for me; I personally prefer small, delicate earrings.  Part of the problem I have with large earrings is that they tend to be heavy and a little hard on your ears.  Some women are happy to suffer in the name of fashion.  I am not one of them!

So part of my personal challenge was to create large earrings that were wearable and comfortable.  Clip-on disks with small loops at the bottom proved useful for this oversized earring style, distributing the weight of the earring over more of your ear than a traditional tiny earring post.  Filigree pendants gave the earrings an oversized look, but felt much lighter than a solid piece of metal.

Just How Big are These Earrings?

If you sell or buy your jewelry or beads online, you know that size is one of those things that is very hard to convey.  So for this project, I wanted to include a photograph that gave a sense of scale.

Of course, the logical thing would have been to find a model, but that proved difficult.  (I'm telling myself it was the halter top part of the equation that scared people and not the earrings themselves!) 

Many jewelers use coins to show scale, but I wanted to find something that might translate a bit more internationally.  The earrings measure 3 1/2 inches, the same height (but luckily not the same weight!) as a bar of soap.  

I'd love to know how other folks have dealt with this problem of scale in jewelry photographs.  What's your favorite prop for showing how large or small something is?  Or do you just model everything on a person?  Share your ideas on the website

New Free Project
She Bop
Michelle Mach

Turn necklace pendants and large crystals into statement earrings that are sure to get you noticed while out on the town.  Clip-ons, rather than pierced earring findings, make these earrings surprisingly wearable.  (And yes, I named them after the Cyndi Lauper song.) 

For more ideas on matching your jewelry to your clothing, see the winter 2008 issue of Stringing magazine or subscribe to Stringing today.  The article "Jewelry Rules:  How to Accessorize 5 Favorite Tops" offers advice from professional organizer and stylist Liz Canavan.  She gives multiple suggestions on what types of necklaces, bracelets, and earrings to wear with a scoopneck, v-neck, cowl-neck or turtleneck, collared, or strapless neckline.  Both general suggestions ("a chunky necklace") and specific projects from the magazine ("Angela's Ice" by Denise Yezbak Moore) are given, so you have lots of options.  Enjoy!

Michelle Mach shares free projects every Friday on Beading Daily.  If you have comments or questions for Michelle, please post them on the website.

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Beading Daily Blog
Michelle M.

About Michelle M.

I was the founding editor of Beading Daily (2007-2009) and my now a freelance designer/writer/editor.  My designs have been published in Stringing, Step by Step Beads, Jewelry Gifts for the Holidays, Creative Jewelry, Beadwork, and other magazines. I enjoy stringing, bead embroidery, wirework, metal work, mixed media, beadweaving—pretty much anything that involves beads or jewelry.  I also enjoy exploring new crafts like pottery and felting.  I write a personal blog if you want to see more of my work. 16+ Free Beading Projects: A list of the free projects I created for Beading Daily. Contact Info If you have a question regarding Beading Daily, please contact customer service at or the current editor, Kristal Wick. If you'd like to contact me, you'll find my info on my website:  You can also follow me on Twitter at: Pictured here is a pair of earrings I made for the Spring 2010 issue of Stringing in an attempt to get over my fear of designing with the color orange!

15 thoughts on “Match Your Jewelry to Your Neckline

  1. Those of use with pierced ears shy away from clips. I find them MOST uncomfortable.

    Large earrings? Try silk/fabric beads. These can be fashioned to look like metal! And crystals at the ends of seed bead chains…or the possibilities are endless. Add a hollow bead made of Sculpey Ultralight…and weightless!


  2. I don’t think a bar of soap is a good idea, they come in a zillion sizes, like those European giant bars! The best would be a carpenter’s square, to show the length and diameter, but it would hardly be very elegant. Perhaps since you folks would use it so much you could dress it up.

  3. I agree with ValerieA the soap is not a constant size that can be related to universally. A ruler large enough to see the numbers is good for the size and a coin is helpful for small items. For long necklaces it is best to show them on a model.

  4. I’ve used a ruler before to show size, but it is tricky. I once tried to have someone take a picture of my ear with an earring in it, but I didn’t realize how fuzzy the side of my cheeks are and how many little fly-away pieces of hair are around my ears in general! I have blond hair, so you can’t really see it normally. However, with the micro-lens on the camera, yowza!

  5. I agree with ValerieA that clip ons are VERY uncomfortable for those of us with pierced ears. Perhaps it’s an “acquired taste” if you aren’t pierced. But I think you can get lightweight and large. I did jewelry recently for 10 bridesmaids, half of which wore halters. I made large “hoops” with beads dangling from the inside, attatched to french wires. Provided enough size without a lot of weight.

  6. I use a metric ruler and a traditional ruler as a frame on my website for beads and components when necessary – – it’s hardly elegant (I’m working on it!), but it is functional and afterall, it’s the jewelry and beads you want to portray, not the measuring instrument!

  7. On the subject on rulers that aren’t elegant…you can find unfinished ones in craft stores or on line and antique them or decorate to fit your site’s overall feel! I don’t sell on line, so this hasn’t been a problem for me yet, but as a purchaser I know I REALLY appreciate being able to see the size of an item!

  8. Ooo, an unfinished ruler is a good idea. I was even thinking of a metal ruler with a few beads wire-wrapped around it. Also, there are a couple of blacksmiths in the Ren Faire world who make steel roses, so several sword vendors will have one of those in the photo of a sword and a note that says “The rose is 12 inches.” So if you have something like a coin that doesn’t outshine the jewelry — a glass heart or other signature piece — that would help continue your store branding as well.

  9. Both Nina Designs and Rio Grande Jewelry supply carry earrings with larger metal disks (plain or fancy), and earring backs that have plastic disks that are much wider than standard backs. This works very well for me for supporting heavier earrings. They don’t fall forward, and they seem to distribute the weight like a clip-on. I too find clips very painful after a short time.

  10. For earrings, I think using a coin is fine if you don’t have a ruler. I also make sure that I put the length in the description for all of my jewelry. Most women know whether they like an 18″ or 22″ necklace so having that info in the description is important. The soap is pretty but I agree there are too many sizes. The ruler is a good idea but if you put beads on it, it will take away from your jewelry. Heavy earrings should not be on wire but on posts with the larger disc backing Mary H suggested, the wire can disfigure the earlobe with a heavy earring.

  11. I use a clear ruler with black measurements that has both US standard and metric; one along one side and the other along the other side. Because it’s clear and the markings are black, almost every background color looks great with it; therefore, can coordinate with my earring creations.

  12. I sell beads, and not jewelry, but I think a shot of the item in your hand gives the best indication of size. Hands do vary, but not by a huge amount and it doesn’t require much thinking on my part to imagine the size.

  13. Glenda
    I do a lot of heavier semi-precious stone jewelry and for all your heavier earrings you really must try a product called “Diskies” They are an over sized (about 12″) nylon disk back for pierced earrings. Made just for this purpose they are wonderfully hypo-allergenic and will evenly support a heavy earring without stressing your piercings. Have been using these myself for 7-8 years and have no problems with enlarged holes or sagging lobes at all.

  14. We bit the bullet and bought manniquins. They always look beautiful, and you don’t have to worry about good hair day or wrinkles showing up on your photos. eBay is a good place to look.