Over the weekend, my friend Annemieke posted this on the mindful closet Facebook page (have you liked it yet? Please do!): 

Here's a challenge for you - maybe not possible but thought I'd ask. I was given a very special piece of jewelry when I got married: it's a choker made from strands of pearls and an old diamond-studded brooch in the center. It's very very pretty and rather expensive, so I'm afraid to wear it. Mick Jagger gave it to Bianca when they were together, and it has been passed on to me (lucky me!) by a dear friend of mine who knows Bianca. In fact I've only worn it once - for our wedding, but I'd love to think of a way to wear it again. It always feels TOO fancy though. Any ideas of how to wear 'down' a piece like that without looking ridiculous? Or should it really be saved for extra-special occasions (like our 25th anniversary)? 

Ok, let's all pause to absorb the fact that she owns a piece of jewelry that BIANCA JAGGER (!!!!) owned. Crazy! Moving on...of course I was up for the challenge. To start with, here's a photo of Annemieke wearing the necklace at her wedding with her friend (and mine) Rebecca.

 

annemieke wedding2.jpg

I know, two gorgeous girls, right? When I read Annemieke's question, I immediately thought of Tom Binns. His jewelry is like no one else's.

His pieces are beautiful, chaotic works of art. Jessica Biel and the First Lady are fans: 

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And let's look at one more of Jessica Biel... 

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Do you see where I'm going with this? Here's how I think Annemieke can wear her necklace in a more modern, casual way - layering. She doesn't have to go the full Tom Binns look, although there are many DIY's out there to acheive that.

diy here

diy here

First things first, she needs a necklace extender. One of the things making the necklace look so formal and dressy is the fact that it's a choker. Extending it so that it'll lay lower on her chest is the first step towards the end result. I use necklace extenders all the time because if you're not wearing the exact right neckline for a certain piece, it renders it pretty useless. You can make your own with a few supplies from the craft store, or buy them on Etsy. If, when she does that, the diamond piece doesn't lie flat, she could take it to a jeweler and have them change the clasp and add length to the bottom strand only. When the bottom strand of pearls has a bit more length than the top, it allows the two strands to lie one on top of the other.

Then, the layering begins. I used examples from Topshop and Asos, both British shops for easy shipping to the UK, and a pearl with diamond centerpiece necklace, similar to Annemieke's.

This is the easiest way to ease into wearing the necklace - it's still pretty dressy and the layering is simple, only one additional necklace.  Something similar to this (a black cocktail dress) would be a great outfit for Annemieke to wear for her anniversary.

This is dressing the necklace waaaay down. Take a look again at the first image of Jessica Biel above. I love the way she is wearing that shiny, pretty statement necklace with a tee and a leather jacket. The necklace in the collage above is actually a Tom Binns piece. Below, I kept the outfit, but layered three necklaces to get a similar look.

Annemieke will obviously have to do some experimenting and try several different combinations, but I think there's still a lot of life and story and use in that beautiful piece!