Statement Jewelry Is Back?

Today’s accessories of choice are weirder and wackier than ever.

Kristin Merrilees


Tarot Card Earrings by The Pulp Girls, artwork by Pamela Coleman

In 2021, anything can be an earring — a gummy worm, a cherry pie, even a Monster Energy Drink. When it comes to earrings and jewelry as a whole, the boundaries are being pushed like never before. Beads, paint, metal, and clay are used to create wearable art, to experiment, to embrace one’s personal style, to make a statement.

So-called “statement” jewelry is not a new thing. In fact, several years ago, very decorative, opulent pieces of jewelry — necklaces in particular — were extremely popular. One could find such necklaces at the boutique Francesca’s (where I got mine) or department stores such as Macy’s or Nordstrom. They would consist of many large jewels, often of very bright or opulent tones. I remember having a few of them, one made out of mirrored crystal beads and the other a combination of pink, blue, and yellow beads. You could also find these necklaces at J. Crew, and they were often worn with cocktail dresses or jeans and a blazer.

Francesca’s Lettina Statement Necklace

Eventually, though, these large, attention-grabbing necklaces largely fell out of fashion. They can be seen as tacky or gaudy and are often heavy and restrictive, not exactly what a modern, on-the-go woman would want to wear while getting coffee or networking at an event.

In their place, we saw the rise of very simple, minimalistic jewelry. In December 2018, Vogue ran a poll about jewelry trends and found that “Sleek, simple pieces won out over bohemian and talismanic accessories by a landslide,” enthusiastically declaring that “Minimalistic Jewelry [Was] Where It’s At.” Very thin, simple gold and silver necklaces and rings, and uncomplicated stud or small hoop earrings were the pieces to have.

But it seems that in 2021, people are once again ready to embrace jewelry that stands out. Only this time, it doesn’t take the form of large and opulent emerald and sapphire-toned necklaces. It makes a statement in a different way. It’s odd, weird, funky, unusual.

“Weird” earrings are especially popular. Think of worm on a string earrings, playing…