There is a certain exquisite charm and glamorous appeal to drawing themes of the past into modern accessories. While not every woman can afford to fill her collection with prized heirlooms and original pieces, the story can live on through style.
It may not date to the 17th century Southwest, but using similar materials and styles, can create a stunning effect. Look to pair colors and stones of the region to command your style. Antiqued brass or gold is often a great unifying factor to pull together contrasting, vibrant reds and blues. Turquoise, often used in rough, unfished cuts adds character and style. In the Old World, turquoise was thought to be the stone of the gods due to its ability to mimic the sky and cosmos. It was kept as a symbol of good luck, to ward off evil and unite those in conflict. In Native American cultures, turquoise was thought to be created by tears of joy for the return of rain. Some sects of Native American culture sought protection and safety behind turquoise, believing that the natural cracking of the stone meant it had protected the wearer through great battle. In modern day we have gained the ability to synthetically manufacture turquois-like material. Though the stones in your rustic Southwest jewelry may not have history of its brilliant, natural predecessors- the cultural meaning is not lost.
Every story has a beginning- and punctuating the ending with a bright fun fringe/tassel can bring the most wondrous tales to the perfect conclusion. Chain, fabric, cording, or thread all add interest and presence without the bulk or the price. This style best compliments a minimalist look to showcase the dynamic movement of the piece. Tassels are essentially a scaled down version of fringe often associated with apparel from the Southwest. Though often utilized now as decoration, it has been noted that fringe could have served a more practical purpose in its beginnings. In wet weather, fringe may have acted as a type of gutter system on larger pieces of clothing, forcing water to drain away from the garment more quickly. The tassel trend is a great way to bring the style of the past back into your wardrobe, in a more subtle fashion.
Leather in small accessories can start the formation of an ethereal style. Leather pairs beautifully with almost any stone or color, though gold accents bring a particular ‘it’ factor, in our opinion. Natural and rugged, this material is known for more than just a pretty face- it has amazing strength and it only gets better with age. Southwest cultures used leather as a way to create harmony with the earth. Developing a process to tan the hides of animals raised in the community or hunted for food, meant no part of the animal went to waste. It was also thought that by using the hide of an animal the wearer would retain the animal’s strength and power. Even when using synthetic leather pieces, the style will have just as great of impact on your wardrobe.
Though there is something to be said for a piece that can be traced back through history, to a specific person or group of people, a story can be weaved through your style with pieces that evoke the same meaning. Your accessories don’t have to be genuine stones or antique to hold a meaning in your heart.