Whether you’re treating yourself to something studded with diamonds for a big birthday or simply investing in the future of your wardrobe, there are eight pieces of jewelry you should own by the time you enter your 40s. From signet rings to statement earrings, these pieces can definitely be considered future heirlooms. Whether you opt to save or splurge (it’s all about options, people), these are pieces that’ll last for years (and hopefully decades) to come.
8 Pieces of Jewelry You Should Own by the Time You’re 40
Dainty Tennis Bracelet
This forever classic will practically be chained to your wrist from the moment you clasp it on. Wear it 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.
Save: Zaxie ($42); Eliot Danori ($72); Nadri ($120)
Splurge: Meira T ($1,468); SG Fine ($3,420); The Last Line ($3,750)
Untraditional Pearl Earrings
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.
Save: Tory Burch ($108); AdryVincenziJewelry ($159); Fry Powers ($345)
Splurge: John Hardy ($495); Sofia Zakia ($1,125); Ilene Joy ($12,890)
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 in script or set with a stunning marquise diamond, just make sure it’s a true and timeless representation of you.
Save: Sarah Chloe ($118); Aurate ($220); Ariel Gordon ($310)
Splurge: Bondeye Jewelry ($1,600); Vrai ($1,700); Emily P. Wheeler ($2,900)
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 only 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).
Save: Lafonn ($90); Macy’s ($280); Vrai ($390)
Splurge: Tiffany & Co ($1,250); AS29 ($3,660); Kwiat ($5,795)
A Watch That Means Business
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.
Save: Timex ($99); Tissot ($223); D1 Milano ($379)
Splurge: Shinola ($650); Michele ($1,995); Rolex ($5,800)
A Chain Necklace
Do you want to start a charm necklace? Do you prefer the clean appearance of a delicate gold necklace that’s a quiet luxury? Do you just need 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 are apropos for your chosen function.
Save: J.Crew ($98); Jennifer Zeuner Jewelry ($176): Zoe Lev ($370);
Splurge: Congés ($490); Bony Levy ($750); Jennifer Fisher ($850)
A Pair Of Statement Earrings
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, the goal for these earrings is to become your go-to for formal events for years to come.
Save: Ippolita ($180); Lizzie Fortunato ($275); Oscar de la Renta ($320)
Splurge: Monica Vinader ($506); Jane Taylor ($1,905); Lynn Bann ($2,900)
A Cuff To Wear To Work Or A Wedding
A cuff can be classic or experimental and funky and still serve the same purpose: It’s the LBD of jewelry. Dress it up or dress it down and it will still 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.
Save: Gorjana ($60); Kenneth Jay Lane ($120); GAS Bijoux ($208)
Splurge: Comletedworks ($496); Tiffany & Co ($800); Aurelie Bidermann ($5,200)