Compose your own jewelry set, or parure

Make 1 awesome jewelry set or 1 parure!

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    You might wonder what on earth Florence from FlorenceJewelshop wants us to do now. Compose your own jewelry set or parure? What is a parure and what do you mean with a jewelry set? Don’t worry I come to that. Sometimes history gives us great ideas to make ourselves even more beautiful. For instance by wearing a set of pieces of jewelry or a parure. OK, maybe that is a bit too much, let us stick to a demi-parure.

    Parure from Hungary, made of gold, silver, garnet, emerald, pearl, and spinel, between 1850 and 1900.
    Parure from Hungary, made of gold, silver, garnet, emerald, pearl, and spinel, between 1850 and 1900.
    Jewelry set made of gold turquoise and pearls for the Russian royal family.
    Jewelry set made of gold turquoise and pearls for the Russian royal family.

    What is a parure, or jewelry set?

    Parure is a French word that means ‘to decorate’. In this blog post, I am not talking about the Guerlain parure, a lipstick brand, but I am talking about the real jewelry parure invented in France.

    parure is a set of pieces of jewelry, designed to wear together. Most of the time such jewelry set consists of a necklace, brooch, earrings, and a few bracelets, and sometimes such a set is extended with a tiara or diadem, a finger ring, and a belt buckle (‘grande parure’, or large parure or extended jewelry set).

    To make it a parure or jewel set the pieces of jewelry must have the same design or style and the pieces have to be made of the same material, or gemstones and precious metal.

    The ruby and diamond parure of Crown-princess Mary.
    The ruby and diamond parure of Crown-princess Mary.
    Diamond jewelry set of Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco

    Where does the idea of a parure come from?

    The first jewelry set combination or parure emerged in the 17th century in Europe and they were designed to give the ladies of class a certain status. Due to the number of pieces of jewelry that are included in such a set, and to the materials used, a set of jewelry or parure was expensive, even in those days.

    The French jewelry set or parure

    The French king, Louis XIV, also called the ‘sun king’ was always looking for extravagant art objects. He thought that showing his richness and status would keep him on his throne (a miscalculation). So he ordered his top jewelry designer to make a jewel set for his bride Madame Francoise d’Aubigné, consisting of a necklace, earrings, two pendants, sleeve buckles, a bowknot, and 32 buttons. All were made of diamonds and silver (a very popular combination at the time).

    His successor, Napoleon Bonaparte, did not want to stay behind and gave parures or jewelry sets to all his wives (and probably to his mistresses too). The set that was his present for Joséphine de Beauharnais, and had the cameo as the central theme, is now owned by the Queen of Sweden.

    The Dutch jewelry set or parure

    In 2018 in the Netherlands there was a little tension among the royalty watchers about whether our Queen Maxima would wear her parure with the Stuart diamond on the visit to the English Queen Elisabeth II (a Stuart!). And she did! And looked gorgeous.

    Actually, all the European and Russian royal houses own at least one set or more, and those parures all stay in the family.

    Jewelry set from gold and amethyst, made by Kochert. 1835.
    Jewelry set from gold and amethyst, made by Kochert. 1835.
    Gold and citrine parure, owned by the Russian royal family.
    Gold and citrine parure, owned by the Russian royal family.

    How to change a parure!

    But just like you and me, the ladies of the royal class don’t want to wear the same jewelry set all the time. But the jewelry set we are talking about is very expensive, so actually, they should wear them a lot. Well, the jewelry designer came up with very practical and sneaky solutions for that problem.

    They designed all the pieces of the jewelry set in a way that parts could be worn separately. For instance, they designed a tiara with a beautiful centerpiece. The centerpiece could be worn separately as a brooch. And the smaller pieces of that tiara could be worn as earrings. The same with necklaces that were designed with a pendant, but could be used without the pendant. But also disassembled into bracelets, hair ornaments, or brooches.

    Very cleverly designed closures and fittings made this possible. A piece of jewelry set or parure was designed modular and not static. And when the jewelry fashion changed the jewelry set could change together with the trend.

    Demi parure or jewelry set

    Not all the ladies married rich guys, so in time the demi-parure or ‘half jewelry set’ became the fashion. A demi-parure is a jewelry set consisting of a necklace with earrings, a necklace with a bracelet, or a necklace with a brooch. Again made in the same style and with matching materials and gemstones.

    What about a parure or jewelry set for you?

    If you don’t want to look like a Christmas tree (as my father always put it mildly) I would recommend that you stick to a demi-parure or half jewelry set.

    A necklace with matching earrings or a matching bracelet looks great. Keep in mind that the style should be the same. Don’t match vintage with modern-styled jewelry or bling-bling jewelry with expensive diamonds. Choose the same precious material for your jewelry set, so your jewelry set should be all made of silver or all made of gold.

    And it looks great when the gemstones of the necklace and the other pieces of jewelry are the same and in the same color. Don’t match purple amethyst with green amethyst or different colors of agate or jasper. Keep it to one color to avoid looking like a Christmas tree after all.

    Don’t you think it is amazing that jewelry, designed ages ago can be an inspiration for wearing jewelry nowadays? And your jewelry set looks awesome when you go to a formal party or formal occasion. But… you can use the tips above to choose your daily jewelry too.

    And if you need some help choosing the right gemstones/colors that match your outfit ask for the free gemstone color chart from FlorenceJewelshop. Just let me know where I can send it to.

    gemstone color chart
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