8 Pieces of Jewelry You Should Own by the Time You’re 40

Including tips from jewelry designers

PureWow editors select every item that appears on this page, and the company may earn compensation through affiliate links within the story. All prices are accurate upon date of publish. You can learn more about the affiliate process here.

Jewelry You Should Own By the Time You’re 40 CAT
Paula Boudes for PureWow

With age comes wisdom…and a *really* good jewelry collection hopefully. As you enter a new decade, there are a few literal gems you may want to consider adding to the reserve. Whether you’re the type of shopper who enjoys keeping up with the latest jewelry trends, sticks to tried-and-true classics, scouts out vintage heirlooms, saves on affordable jewelry or splurges on luxury brands, don’t fret because there’s something for everyone. Ahead, we laid out the eight pieces of jewelry you should own by the time you enter your 40s, from signet rings to statement earrings that’ll last for years (and hopefully decades) to come.

Meet the Experts

  • Jenny Bird is the founder and creative director of jewelry and lifestyle brand, Jenny Bird. Self-taught, she began creating bold and modern jewelry in 2010, and her designs have been worn by Michelle Obama, Selena Gomez and Hailey Bieber, to name a few.

Want to know which buzzy products are *really* worth buying? Sign up for our shopping newsletter to uncover our favorite finds.

1. A Tennis Bracelet

Ring Concierge

Costing anywhere from $100 to upwards of $5,000, this forever classic will practically be chained to your wrist from the moment you clasp it on. Wear your string of diamonds with white button-downs for work or T-shirts and jeans on the weekend or, yeah, your tennis gear. But, keep in mind, the bracelet got its name when tennis star Chris Evert needed to halt a match to search for her lost bauble—so maybe leave it at home for some of those more heated matches.

Shop Tennis Bracelets

Let’s be honest, a classic strand of freshwaters can feel like a dowdy relic from the past. Instead, opt for the raw beauty of organic pearls that will add a touch of interest (and will be a tasteful conversation starter), whether you prefer to show them off by wearing your hair up or down. You could also try a design that incorporates unconventional elements, such as distinctive settings or additional gems, like crystals or diamonds.

Shop Unconventional Pearl Earrings

Historically speaking, signet rings have always been a piece associated with identity. Originally carved with family crests (and used to seal the wax of correspondence), you’re now free to choose what your bauble is emblazoned with. Whether you get yours carved with your initials or set it with a stunning marquise diamond, just make sure it’s a true representation of you.

Shop Signet Rings

4. Diamond Studs


Elizabeth Taylor once said, “Life without earrings is empty!” So, take that jewelry expertise seriously and enrich your life with a pair of diamond studs. And don’t feel like you need to spring for just a simple pair of solitaires; an emerald-cut or a baguette will serve the same illusion of grandeur and poise (even if you’re wearing them with sweats on the couch).

You should be the proud owner of a nice watch by the time you’re in your fourth decade, and if you’re still wearing the one you got for college graduation, well, it might be time to upgrade. A round face bracelet watch is timeless (ha) and shows that you do, indeed, mean business. You don’t have to be a serious watch person to find one that will impress—just make sure the watch face isn’t too big on your wrist and the bracelet is sized just right.

6. A Chain Necklace

Sophie Ratner

Do you want to start a charm necklace? Prefer the clean appearance of a delicate gold chain that’s a quiet luxury? Or maybe you’re looking for an everyday piece that you can keep on and forget about through workouts, showers and trips to Bora Bora? The right chain necklace can be all of those things. Just make sure the size, shape and metal of the links fit your lifestyle.

It’s time to spring for a pair of standout earrings that you can depend on. You know, the kind that will look good with your favorite red dress or the new floral frock that’s a bit out of your usual sartorial wheelhouse. In gold or silver, dripping with diamonds or crystals, these earrings will become your go-to for formal events for years to come.

Shop Statement Earrings

A cuff can be classic or experimental and still serve the same purpose: It’s the LBD of jewelry. Dress it up or dress it down and it will work for every occasion. It can become your talisman for days when you have a big meeting or your go-to for pairing with a short-sleeve evening gown; regardless, you’ll be surprised to see how versatile this piece can be.

Shop Cuff Bracelets

What Should You Consider When Buying Jewelry?

So, you have your eye on a few pieces of fine jewelry that you’re totally in love with. Great! But make sure you consider these factors, below, before purchasing.

  • Double-check the jewelry’s quality: Brenner warns, “Don't let a tempting bargain price sway you without checking the fine print. It's a common practice for jewelry companies to label something as ‘gold,’ but a closer look at the fine print may reveal that it's just gold-plated.” If you want jewelry that’s worth your while, Brenner suggests buying solid 14k gold or platinum. Though they’re pricier, they’ll last a lifetime and can be passed down to a daughter, granddaughter or sister.
  • Budget: Make an effort to determine a realistic budget that you’re comfortable spending. Fine jewelry can be gorgeous, yes, but the expense isn’t worth it if it’ll cause an unnecessary financial strain when all is said and done. And there are plenty of affordable jewelry options online that are well made, good quality and stunning.

As Bird advises us: “Don’t overthink it. It just has to speak to you. You know it’s a piece for you if it pulls at you to be part of your life.” Noted.

What Types of Jewelry Are Best to Invest in If You’re Going to Splurge?

“Consider choosing pieces that are timeless, durable and unique,” encourages Brenner. If you’re the type of person who gravitates towards dainty, delicate accessories, we suggest opting for minimalist jewelry for its enduring quality. Treasures like the Diamond Bar bracelet ($328) from Ring Concierge and the Tory Burch Eleanor watch ($325) can make for classy additions to your collection. Remember, “these pieces will not only hold their value but also tell your story, making them an instant heirloom,” adds TK. Don’t be afraid to invest in loud luxury, too. Bold, chunky, colorful and statement-making jewelry, such as the Solanales crystal cuff bracelet ($295) from Alexis Bittar, makes for an eye-catching look and is a great way to add texture, depth and color to any outfit.

Bird “prefers personalized pieces when splurging: the letters of my kids, my birthstone, a locket I can put a picture in. [They are] things that are more meaningful than just being bling.” Plus, they become significant keepsakes as time passes, eventually making for great trinkets to pass down to a loved one. But Bird suggests “Responsibly produced fine jewelry is number one.

How Should You Properly Care for Your Investment Pieces?

Taking care of your jewelry collection can feel daunting, especially if it’s your first time. Good news: There are a few simple steps you can follow to keep your new jewels shining as bright as the first day you received them.

  • Avoid lotions and perfumes: Take caution and avoid applying lotion or perfumes when you’re wearing jewelry. That sweet-smelling mixture can contain substances that can affect your new bracelet’s brilliance or luster. 
  • Clean weekly with soap and water: “It's a good practice to clean [jewelry] on a weekly basis,” Brenner advises, especially for pieces you wear often as dead skin and dirt are likely to build up on it. “If your jewelry features set stones or intricate details, a soft-bristled brush can be your best friend in removing any stubborn debris.” Otherwise, a bit of mild soap, warm water and a gentle polishing cloth is enough to get the job done. We also reviewed and ranked the best jewelry cleaners, if you prefer to use a kit, like the Oprah-approved jewelry handwash that our Fashion Editor Abby Hepworth tested and loved.
  • Store them properly: “When it comes to storing your jewelry, it's essential to prevent scratches and tangling. To achieve this, store each piece separately. Additionally, some gemstones like emerald or tanzanite can be sensitive to heat, humidity, and sunlight. To protect your jewelry from these elements, [you’ll want to] store them in a cool, dark place,” says Brenner.
  • Enjoy your pieces: “Caring for them is wearing them,” Bird reminds. “We often save our good pieces [for special occasions], but we should just wear them. We don't want to be precious about our precious jewelry. Wear them in your daily life to make your daily life so much more beautiful.” You heard the woman.

The 14 Best lululemon Items for Women Over 40

dena silver headshot

Fashion Editor

From 2019-2021 Dena Silver held the role of Fashion Editor covering product recommendations, trends, and what you should be shopping this season.

IMG 0045 e1692204525583

Associate Fashion Commerce Editor

Stephanie is a natural savant in the fashion, beauty, and dating & relationships beats. She graduated with a bachelor of arts at the University of San Diego, where she majored...

Why You Should Trust Us

PureWow's editors and writers have spent more than a decade shopping online, digging through sales and putting our home goods, beauty finds, wellness picks and more through the wringer—all to help you determine which are actually worth your hard-earned cash. From our PureWow100 series (where we rank items on a 100-point scale) to our painstakingly curated lists of fashion, beauty, cooking, home and family picks, you can trust that our recommendations have been thoroughly vetted for function, aesthetics and innovation. Whether you're looking for travel-size hair dryers you can take on-the-go or women’s walking shoes that won’t hurt your feet, we’ve got you covered.