August-Web-BrandtThere are so many forms of self-expression that it boggles the mind, and seems that the options increase daily. Of course, personal appearance is always a consideration in this regard, although for many people, this is largely restricted to clothing, hairstyles, skin illustrations and (for women) make-up — or in some cases, the lack of it.

Jewelry often takes a back seat in this area, which really is a shame, because this is a terrific way to put your creative self forward, and this can be accomplished in a manner that can suit every budget. For men, this is generally subtle, but for women, the possibilities are endless.

Most certainly, the use of fine jewelry can present a formidable expense, but when you include jewelry that does not make use of precious metals, diamonds, or costly colored stones, there is a wide range of choices. For most people, certain items are standard, and are worn daily (or close to it), but jewelry can be easily varied to suit your mood, the season, an occasion, or whatever strikes your fancy. Of course, the easiest way to do this is with jewelry that you have purchased “as is”, which accounts for the vast majority of jewelry worn in the United States. Colored stones are always a great means of expression, and can reflect a mood or a time of year. Certain jewelry is seen as more fun, where other jewelry is often reserved for more formal occasions — but it is the wearer who gets to be the judge.

Joe Brandt

Joe Brandt

Pearls can also be used as a form of self-expression, and they can be dressed up or down. The short single-strand that was all the rage many years ago is still a standard, but pearls can also be worn long, or extra-long (even knotted), as either single or multiple strands. In the past 20 years, the widespread use of freshwater pearls have put these natural (albeit man-assisted) beauties within almost everyone’s budget. Do you have a strand of pearls that rarely sees daylight? These can easily be altered to suit your contemporary tastes by integrating them with colored stone beads. Your jeweler can help with this, and would be pleased to offer suggestions.

If you’re feeling really creative, you might consider taking a class in jewelry making, which may be done just for fun, or possibly as a more serious endeavor. The actual making of jewelry involves bench skills that are not extraordinarily difficult to master, but are tricky to learn on your own. Some local shops offer regularly scheduled classes in this art — for instance, The Guilded Lynx in Ridgefield (, or for those of you who want more of the purely fun aspect, beading classes are offered at bead shops far & near, such as Beadworks in Norwalk, (

Any way you decide to do it, jewelry can add style, drama, color, whimsy, and creative accent to your appearance, and it’s use may be tailored to suit any budget — so get out there and express yourself!

Joe Brandt is a local resident, and President of J.L. Brandt Company, offering diversified fine jewelry advisory services to the general public since 1928. Readers are invited to submit questions or comments to [email protected] Names or contact information will not be used for publication, and all inquiries will be answered promptly.