Bauble Basics: 10 Jewels Every Woman Should Own

Jewelry is more than the finishing touch to an outfit; in some cultures, it’s the entire outfit. How do you start to build the perfect jewelry wardrobe—for yourself or for someone special? GIA (Gemological Institute of America) has created a guide to the “bauble basics.” Fine jewelry is meant to be worn, enjoyed and treasured forever.
Earrings, Earrings, Earrings
1) Diamond studs. Beautiful, quality stones are available for any price range and size; from discreet little pin dots to three carat headlights.
2) Gold hoops. From curvaceous huggies to three-inch loops... high polish or hammered satin... white, yellow or rose gold... hoops are always attractive and almost always appropriate.
3) Pearls on a wire. Pearl studs are a great option, but by adding the slightly dangerous dangle from a wire, you can highlight the hollow of your cheek.  
4) Long drops. Nothing shorter than two inches from your lobe will make a more fluid and flirty movement in every gem from white topaz briolettes to black onyx beads and a rainbow of gems in between.
5) Chandeliers. Tumbled and carved emeralds, rubies and mogul-cut diamonds, all intricately twined with burnished gold wires dripping from concentric crescents, will draw the attention back to you.
6) Pendants are the foundation of your necklace collection. It can be a single stone on a delicate 16-inch chain or a 4-inch Gothic-inspired cross set with agate and carnelian on a 30-inch rope. Express yourself with a lopsided heart or spiritual charm, or showcase your collection of vintage lapis lazuli good luck talismans.
7) Pearls. With a white shirt and jeans, a tailored business suit or a willowy wedding gown, you can’t find another investment that will take you through the moments of your life with such elegance, ease and warmth. Add one at a time or pile on an abundant rope. Or both.
8) Bangles stacked or alone, skinny or wide, have been around forever. Try tiny micropave pink sapphires in pink gold or oxidized brown-gold tubes studded with cognac diamonds.
9) Charms. A wrist full of clinking, clanging doodads is always a good choice, but perhaps try choosing just one remarkable medallion to hang from an open link?
A Signature Ring
10) This one you choose for yourself. Be bold. Make a statement. Flash a cushion-shaped citrine or cabochon green tourmaline the size of a quail’s egg. While you’re at it—wear it on your index finger.