LOVE/HATE: The Serious(ly Faux) Sparkle Edition

According to Wikipedia, rhinestones were originally rock crystals gathered from the river Rhine. In 1775, however, the Alsatian jeweller Georg Friedrich Strass decided to try coating the lower side of cut glass with metal powder, and thus the modern rhinestone was born.

On one hand, there’s a part of my brain that says “rhinestones are crazy tacky gaudy.” On the other hand, as The Beard just said to me while looking at crazy vintage jewelry on Etsy, “the right ones are gaudy in a good way.” I’ll admit to having a few tiaras and largish rhinestone necklaces that I only ever wear around the house (usually on my birthday). I didn’t, however, wear rhinestones on my wedding day because they just seemed like a little too much.

rhinestone wedding jewelry

Here are six examples of rhinestone jewelry currently being sold by the following Etsy sellers: kimdep, Lulusplendor, BelleNouvelleDesigns, and PenelliBelle. I think they’re all lovely, though I don’t know that I’d have the chutzpah to wear them to drop off my overdue library books or visit with the OB/GYN. The supermarket, maybe. My friend’s post-NYE brunch? Definitely.

What say you? Faux diamonds and rubies and emeralds and sapphires… totally tacky? All in good fun? Inappropriate for brides? Perfect for weddings? Let’s hear it!

12 Responses to “LOVE/HATE: The Serious(ly Faux) Sparkle Edition”

  1. La BellaDonna says:

    I don’t understand the basic premise of “gaudy” as a pejorative – but then, I tend to think that “quiet good taste” is for people who lack imagination. I lean much, much more towards centuries of thinking that went before us – the medieval, the Renaissance, the rococco mind believed that if you could scrape up the money to buy it, you wore it. I love shiny and sparkly, I have no problem with colours, and resplendence gives me a happy. I have problems with ugly, and that is often very subjective. It’s especially so for anyone for whom “gaudy” equals “ugly”, and it really doesn’t. Gaudy can be splendid, and ugly can be quiet (and it should be. It should be quiet, and go away). I think if the bride’s taste runs towards sparkly, there’s not a reason in the world why her gown shouldn’t reflect that – and everything else in the room.

  2. You make a lovely point, La BellaDonna. I think I will wear a tiara today.

  3. Tweistie says:

    (checks self in mirror, adjusts sparkly tiara)

    Like La Bella Donna, I’m a firm believer in color, pattern, and sparkle. I think if crystals and rhinestones are your taste, you should definitely wear them. Just don’t be afraid of them. If you’re going to do them, DO them. Half-hearted just doesn’t work with glitz.

  4. Miss Laura Mars says:

    I think it really depends on the context. My grandma used to have some jewelry that looked atrocious just sitting there in her jewelry box, but with the right outfit, it looked fantastic. Some of it was her finesse at putting outfits together, and some of it was her personality, but it totally worked for her.

  5. Little Red says:

    I’m for it. What can I say, I’m Indian. We love bright, colorful, shiny, and sparkly fashions. Just check out any bride!

  6. rabrab says:

    I’m with Twistie and La Bella Donna, color and sparkle is fun and cheerful, but like so many things that are on the edge of fashion (not “edgy” alone but anything that’s regarded as marginal,) rhinestone jewelry requires whole-heartedness. You can’t be shy or timid with it, anymore than you can be timid and carry off goatskin moonboots or a pair of gold lame tights.

  7. Tara says:

    I wore a hair clip which was all sparkly. It gave me a bit of sparkle on the bright, sunny day & was a great “holder” for the comb of the veil. I just had the upper part of my hair pulled back out of my face and lying flat down the back, held with the clip. Plus, it was cheap ($10) which was helpful for my “frugal” wedding.

  8. Jennie says:

    I’m a freakin magpie. Dangle shiny, sparkling stuff in front of me and to my nest it must go. It’s one thing I love about being a woman of a certain age. Don’t like my sparkly bling? Bugger off! I love fun, unique, large pieces.

  9. Twistie: Like I say to rabrab below, I’m working on it 😉

    Miss Laura Mars: My grandmother has the exact same sort of magic jewelry box, where everything inside looks a little too something but as soon as she puts a piece or three one, everything is perfect.

    Little Red: Right on! I looked at a number of Indian bridal jewelry sets (huge gold ones!) but eventually ended up wearing a dress that didn’t work with them. I should just buy myself a set now.

    rabrab: Some of us weren’t born with the innate ability to “go all the way,” even though we were born with a love of all things audacious. Me? I am doing my best to learn to rock the sparkle with ease even when all around me are in sweats.

    Tara: Great find! Now you need to tell us all where you got it!

    Jennie: We ladies do gain so few privileges as we get older, but the freedom from self-consciousness when it comes to personal style is definitely one of them.

  10. La BellaDonna says:

    Little Red: Oh, absolutely! How I love Indian jewelry, and Indian fabrics! Give me that sparkling brocade, and while you’re at it, deck it with rubies, gold, pearls, and anything else I can catch before it runs away!

    I think there are a LOT of women – and men – who would love to have more colour and sparkle in their lives, but who are afraid. Afraid that someone will say … something.

    Well, let ’em say it to me, then, while people break out in sparkle and colour everywhere. It just seems really sad that in a world where people don’t seem to think twice about wearing Crocs, they’re afraid to wear brocade.

  11. rabrab says:

    I think that most of us are, in fact, born with an innate love for sparkle. The problem arises because we almost all also get it pounded out of us, usually sometime between the age of 4 and 7. Whether and when we can relearn it is the important question. It’s a tough thing to learn, because the voice in our heads that’s saying “too flashy, too gaudy, too sparkly, too bright, too loud, just not done!” is often the voice of someone we love (or loved) and respect (or respected) and possibly fear (or feared). It is not a voice that is easy to ignore.

  12. rabrab: One lesson I’d very much like to instill in my children is that it does not matter if what you like isn’t popular or normal or even expected. I remember times where I was a teen and simply appalled at what my dad would let my siblings wear… clothes they themselves had picked out. Rainboots and a tutu? A bathing suit over jeans and a sweater? A princess dress at the playground? Everything was always weather appropriate and modest, but boy was some of it weird. I ended up with really confident and interesting siblings. Coincidence?