Bahraini sheikha, style influencer, and founder of The Overdressed blog, Dana Al Khalifa, likes her jewelry to tell a story. While in conversation with Vogue Arabia, she muses about the tiny pearl earrings she was wearing, “My cousin Lulwa [an Arabic name derived from the word pearl], who is like a sister to me, gifted them to my baby daughter.” Al Khalifa’s take on jewelry mirrors her approach to personal style, “I’m not interested in of-the-moment trends. I’m interested in forever pieces. My motto has always been, ‘A crisp, cotton shirt over trendy polyester,’” she states.
Decorative or delicate, jewelry can help build a visual identity. Take American Vogue‘s former Editor-in-Chief, Diana Vreeland. The legendary editor was known for her pulled together outfits and eye-catching oversized jewelry, that popped against her uniform canvas, such as the Trophée de Vaillance brooch designed by Jean Schlumberger and the Bulgari enamel snake belt that she routinely wore as a necklace. In a similar aesthetic, fashion icon Iris Apfel, is celebrated for her texture-heavy ensembles that are accessorized with a weighty composition of colorful baubles. Think layers of beaded, date-shaped, amber and veined turquoise necklaces simultaneously styled with chunky rows of tribal-inspired cuffs. In contrast, Vogue Paris’ Editor-in-Chief, Emmanuelle Alt, is recognized for her capsule wardrobe that she elevates with a Cartier Tank watch and Love bracelet, and minimal ring bands. Meanwhile, Vogue Arabia’s Editor-in-Chief, Deena Aljuhani Abdulaziz, echoes her sartorial elegance with a twist by dressing her ears with multiple studs designed by Sophie Bille Brahe and Monique Péan.
For all her love of jewelry, Al Khalifa keeps it simple. Her jewelry sensibility is translated through her personal edit that began with a Luca Carati chain necklace scattered with spotlight diamonds that her mother gave her when she was 16 (for good grades). From that moment, Al Khalifa began amassing a collection that includes delicate diamond bands, cocktail rings, and colorful gemstone adornments. Here, she discusses with Vogue Arabia her favorite pieces, how she styles them, and her annual showcase at Bahrain’s Jewellery Arabia under the umbrella of The Overdressed Pavilion that’s set to take place on November 22nd.
ON HER FAVORITE JEWELRY PIECE
I love a good ring. From cocktail rings and engagement styles to bold rings. My collection ranges from lime green citrine [rings] to very fine diamond bands, but I only ever wear one or two at a time. My daily jewelry is a very delicate diamond ring styled with my wedding ring.
ON JEWELRY BOX STAPLES
A beautiful pair of earrings is a must-have. I feel like the right type of earrings enhances your features. However, bigger is not always better. No one is going to be looking at your face or listening to what you’re saying when you smack five carat studs on. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not someone that doesn’t like five carat diamonds, but your ear is not that big.
ON SINGLE WOMEN PULLING OFF DIAMOND SOLITAIRES
I really don’t’ think it’s fair that diamond solitaire rings are associated with marriage. Everybody should be able to wear them. I think colored stones—like baguette-cut pink sapphires or yellow citrines—are beautiful. Layering them or breaking them up with a fine diamond band in the middle is very elegant.
ON THE OVERDRESSED PAVILLION
Traditionally, in the Middle East, you are given beautiful jewelry when you get married—not because you’ve been working for five years. I wanted to curate a selection of jewelry for women that want to spend on themselves (with a budget of US $10,000 to US $15,000) and buy something beautiful and wear it daily. Let’s face it, all of us who got married have jewelry from our parents that’s just sitting in the safe gathering dust. None of us are wearing our wedding sets to go grocery shopping.
ON FAVORITE JEWELRY DESIGNERS
For international brands, I like the very classic look of Louis Cartier; the fun and modern designs from Hemmerle; and Suzanne Kalan’s fine jewelry that speaks to the young, working woman. As for regional jewelers, I like Muneera Al Sharhan. She’s a Kuwaiti goldsmith who does most of her work by hand. Another label is Charmaleena from Jeddah, for its transformable jewelry. Then there’s Nuun. I love the designer’s beautiful take on the traditional Albanjeri bracelet through her Banajer bangles. She’s made a modern version of it, which are two bangles with triangle edges that fit into each other.