There can be very few women in the world who do not like gold or silver fashion jewellery and who do not possess a single precious adornment. Next to rings, gold chains are the most popular form of gold and silver jewellery for both women and men. These come in numerous styles and sizes and can be worn with or without pendants or charms.
Chains are usually described by their link formation and the five most popular are: The Prince of Wales chain, created by an intricate twisting of the gold or silver strands; the Figaro chain, with its Italian origins, which is a link chain incorporating two or three circular links with a longer oval link; the belcher chain, with its uniform, round links; the herringbone chain, a delicate and fluid chain formed by a succession of flat, v-shaped links which are tightly interlocked; and the curb chain, which differs from the belcher because its interlocking links can be laid flat, similar to the smaller links of the Figaro chain.
Most women will own chains in silver or yellow or white gold, depending on personal preference and pocket. Young girls tend to wear silver and graduate to gold as they grow older. Many women prefer not to mix silver with gold or wear yellow and white gold in separate jewellery pieces at the same time – e.g. a yellow gold ring with a silver or white gold bracelet.
However, in recent decades innovative designers have created some striking jewellery accessories mixing precious metals together in one piece, for example white, yellow and rose gold. Not only are these particularly beautiful and desirable items, they can co-ordinate perfectly with any other precious metal jewellery pieces. Mixed gold wedding bands are becoming increasingly popular with both women and men.
Rings have been popular since at least medieval times although these were not always fashioned from precious metals. A ring will often be the first piece of jewellery given to a young girl and it will be the start of a life-long love affair with finger adornments. Rings can be worn on every finger, but the third finger on the left hand is always the most significant as this is reserved for that greatest signifier in a woman’s life: the engagement and wedding ring.
When it comes to engagement rings and wedding rings, silver invariably gets forgotten in favour of higher purity gold – at least 18 carat, or platinum whereas with fashion rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings a lower purity of gold is often perfectly acceptable and even preferable.