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Style Tips


A diamond cut is a key factor to consider when choosing your next piece of diamond jewelry.

By Chinwe, Chief Creative Officer

In the world of wealth and privilege, there exists a distinct category known as “old money” – a term often used to describe families with longstanding, inherited wealth, typically spanning multiple generations. Unlike “new money,” which is acquired through entrepreneurial success or windfalls, old money is characterized by deep-rooted traditions, refined tastes, and a sense of understated elegance.

Old money is a term that refers to families or individuals who have inherited wealth from previous generations, usually dating back to the colonial era or the industrial revolution. Old money is often contrasted with new money, which is wealth that has been acquired recently, typically through entrepreneurship, innovation, or speculation. Old money and new money have different attitudes towards money, status, and consumption, which are reflected in their choices of fashion and jewelry.

The influence of old money extends far beyond bank accounts; it permeates the realms of fashion and aesthetics, shaping trends and setting standards for sophistication and style. Old money individuals eschew fleeting fads in favor of timeless classics, valuing quality, craftsmanship, and heritage above all else. Their fashion choices reflect a sense of effortless luxury, marked by understated silhouettes, fine fabrics, and impeccable tailoring.

Exploring the Connection Between Old Money and Jewelry

At the heart of old money aesthetics lies a profound appreciation for jewelry – not merely as adornment, but as embodiments of wealth, heritage, and status. Jewelry serves as a tangible expression of old money values, encapsulating centuries of tradition and refinement in each exquisite piece. The connection between old money and jewelry is multifaceted. On one level, jewelry acts as a symbol of family lineage and legacy, with heirloom pieces passed down through generations, each carrying its own tale of wealth and privilege. These cherished treasures serve as tangible links to the past, embodying the enduring prosperity and prestige of old money dynasties. Beyond its symbolic significance, jewelry plays a crucial role in defining old money style. Classic, timeless designs reign supreme, with emphasis placed on quality materials, impeccable craftsmanship, and understated elegance. Old money individuals favor pieces that exude sophistication without being overtly flashy – opting for subtle accents that speak volumes of their refined tastes and discerning eye for beauty.

Here are several key aspects that highlight this relationship:

  1. Heritage and Legacy: Old money families often possess heirloom jewelry that has been passed down through generations. These pieces carry profound sentimental value and serve as tangible links to family history and legacy. Inherited jewelry symbolizes continuity, tradition, and the preservation of family heritage, reinforcing the connection between wealth and lineage.

  2. Status and Social Significance: In elite circles, the ownership and display of fine jewelry have long been associated with social status and prestige. Old money families may acquire and wear extravagant pieces as symbols of their wealth and influence within society. The possession of rare gemstones, precious metals, and exquisite craftsmanship conveys a sense of exclusivity and sophistication, further solidifying one’s place in the upper echelons of society.

  3. Cultural Traditions and Customs: Throughout history, various cultures have placed great importance on the exchange of jewelry as part of ceremonial rites, rituals, and celebrations. Old money families often adhere to these traditions, gifting and wearing jewelry to mark significant life events such as weddings, births, and milestone achievements. These cultural practices reinforce the intrinsic value of jewelry as more than mere adornment, but as meaningful expressions of love, commitment, and social standing.

  4. Fashion and Personal Style: Old money aesthetics prioritize timeless elegance, refinement, and understated luxury in fashion and lifestyle choices. Jewelry plays a pivotal role in shaping and expressing this aesthetic sensibility. Classic, well-crafted pieces are favored over trendy or flashy designs, reflecting a sense of discernment and sophistication. Old money individuals may invest in high-quality jewelry that complements their wardrobe and enhances their overall sense of style, serving as subtle yet powerful statements of taste and refinement.

  5. Investment and Asset Preservation: In addition to their aesthetic and symbolic value, jewelry can also serve as tangible assets for old money families seeking to preserve and grow their wealth over time. Fine jewelry, particularly pieces crafted from precious metals and rare gemstones, often appreciate in value and serve as a hedge against economic uncertainty. As such, acquiring and owning jewelry represents a form of prudent investment and financial security for old money families, further cementing its significance within their wealth management strategies.

Understanding Old Money Aesthetics

At its core, old money aesthetics embody a sense of timelessness – an appreciation for enduring beauty that withstands the test of time. Rather than chasing after passing fads or flamboyant displays of wealth, old money individuals favor a more restrained approach to fashion and design, opting for classic pieces that exude understated luxury and refined taste. Central to the old money aesthetic is an emphasis on quality over quantity. Rather than accumulating a multitude of possessions, individuals with old money invest in a select few pieces of exceptional craftsmanship and enduring value. This discerning approach reflects a belief that true luxury lies not in excess, but in the meticulous attention to detail and superior materials that characterize each cherished possession.

The concept of old money aesthetic has its roots in the social and cultural history of European and American aristocracy and the upper class. It emerged during the late 19th and early 20th centuries when wealth and social status were closely tied to heritage, lineage, and inherited fortunes. The old money aesthetic originated in America in the late 1920s when local aristocrats, who received the best education, lived on luxurious country estates, and spent summers in Europe, created timeless fashion that exuded a relaxed sense of elitism. They wore clothes that were well-made, durable, and comfortable, but also elegant, refined, and tasteful. They favored neutral colors, natural fabrics, classic patterns, and simple accessories. They avoided logos, flashy colors, synthetic materials, and anything that looked cheap or vulgar.

The old money aesthetic was influenced by various European styles, such as British country clothing, French chic, Italian elegance, and Scandinavian minimalism. It also incorporated elements of American preppy style, such as polo shirts, khaki pants, loafers, and blazers. It was popularized by celebrities such as Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Paul Newman, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Cary Grant, and Princess Diana, and it has remained relevant throughout the decades because it represents a timeless, understated elegance that transcends trends and seasons. It also reflects a mindset that values quality, class, and heritage over trends and excess.

Characteristics of Old Money Jewelry

Old money jewelry epitomizes a standard of sophistication and refinement that transcends trends, embodying timeless elegance through its distinctive features and craftsmanship.

  • Classic and Enduring Designs: At the heart of old money jewelry lies a commitment to classic and enduring designs that withstand the test of time. These pieces eschew passing fads in favor of timeless silhouettes and motifs, ensuring their relevance for generations to come. From simple pearl necklaces to intricately designed signet rings, old money jewelry embraces traditional aesthetics that never go out of style.
  • Fine Craftsmanship and Attention to Detail: Old money jewelry is characterized by impeccable craftsmanship and meticulous attention to detail. Each piece is crafted with precision and care, reflecting the expertise of skilled artisans who uphold centuries-old techniques. From hand-engraved patterns to intricately set gemstones, every element of old money jewelry is executed with a level of craftsmanship that sets it apart from mass-produced counterparts.
  • Use of High-Quality Materials: Old money jewelry is distinguished by its use of high-quality materials, such as solid gold, sterling silver, and precious gemstones. These materials are chosen not only for their intrinsic value but also for their durability and beauty. Whether adorned with sparkling diamonds or lustrous pearls, old money jewelry exudes luxury and refinement through the use of the finest materials available.
  • Subtle Elegance Rather Than Ostentatious Displays: Unlike the flashy displays of wealth often associated with new money, old money jewelry exudes a sense of understated elegance. These pieces are designed to complement one’s ensemble rather than overpower it, adding a touch of refinement without drawing undue attention. Old money individuals value restraint and sophistication in their adornments, preferring subtle elegance over ostentatious displays of wealth.

Contrasting Aesthetics: Old Money vs. New Money Styles

The difference between old money and new money aesthetics and jewelry/style lies primarily in their cultural backgrounds, values, and approaches to fashion and adornment:

1. Cultural Background:

  • Old Money: Old money aesthetics are deeply rooted in aristocratic traditions and heritage. They reflect generations of inherited wealth and privilege, often associated with established social circles and prestigious lineage.
  • New Money: New money aesthetics, on the other hand, are influenced by contemporary trends and often stem from entrepreneurial success or sudden wealth acquisition. They may lack the historical and cultural significance inherent in old money style.

2. Values and Attitudes:

  • Old Money: Old money aesthetics emphasize subtlety, understated elegance, and timeless sophistication. Quality craftsmanship and heritage are highly valued, with an emphasis on investing in enduring pieces that can be passed down through generations.
  • New Money: New money aesthetics may prioritize ostentation, conspicuous consumption, and the display of wealth. Trends and luxury brands often play a significant role, with an emphasis on acquiring the latest designer labels and accessories.

3. Approach to Fashion and Adornment:

  • Old Money: Old money style favors classic, traditional designs and accessories that exude refinement and grace. Jewelry pieces are often understated yet meticulously crafted, with an emphasis on quality materials and timeless elegance.
  • New Money: New money style may lean towards bold, statement-making fashion choices and flashy accessories. Jewelry pieces may be larger, more extravagant, and adorned with conspicuous logos or branding to signify wealth and status.

4. Perception and Presentation:

  • Old Money: Old money individuals often project an air of confidence and understated sophistication, preferring to let their personal style speak for itself rather than relying on overt displays of wealth.
  • New Money: New money individuals may be more inclined to flaunt their wealth and status through their fashion choices, seeking recognition and validation through conspicuous consumption and luxury branding.

Iconic Old Money Jewelry Pieces and Their Significance

Several iconic pieces exemplify the essence of old money jewelry and hold deep significance within elite circles:

  • Pearl Necklace: A timeless symbol of sophistication and refinement, the pearl necklace is a staple of old money jewelry collections. From simple strands to elaborate designs, pearl necklaces evoke a sense of timeless elegance and grace, making them cherished heirlooms passed down through generations.

  • Signet Ring: Adorned with family crests or monograms, signet rings hold profound significance within old money culture, symbolizing lineage and heritage. These rings are often passed down from generation to generation, serving as tangible links to family history and tradition.

  • Diamond Stud Earrings: Simple yet luxurious, diamond stud earrings are a classic accessory favored by old money individuals for their timeless appeal and versatility. These earrings add a touch of sparkle to any ensemble, embodying the understated elegance that defines old money style.
  • Tennis Bracelet: Featuring a continuous row of diamonds or gemstones, the tennis bracelet is a symbol of refined taste and sophistication. Its classic design and understated glamour make it a favorite among old money circles, representing a timeless investment in quality craftsmanship.

The Influence of Old Money Aesthetics on Contemporary Jewelry Trends

Old money aesthetics, with their emphasis on timeless elegance and refined taste, have left an indelible mark on contemporary jewelry trends. From the revival of vintage designs to the incorporation of classic elements into modern pieces, and the increasing emphasis on craftsmanship and ethical sourcing, the influence of old money aesthetics can be seen across the spectrum of contemporary jewelry.

Revival of Vintage Designs and Antique Jewelry: One significant way in which old money aesthetics have influenced contemporary jewelry trends is through the revival of vintage designs and antique jewelry. Vintage-inspired pieces, such as Art Deco rings or Victorian-style necklaces, evoke the glamour and sophistication of bygone eras, appealing to those with a penchant for classic elegance. These timeless designs have seen a resurgence in popularity, as discerning consumers seek out pieces with a sense of history and heritage.

Incorporation of Classic Elements into Modern Pieces: Contemporary jewelry designers have also been inspired by old money aesthetics to incorporate classic elements into their modern creations. This fusion of traditional and contemporary design elements results in pieces that are both timeless and innovative, appealing to a wide range of tastes. For example, a designer may take inspiration from antique motifs, such as filigree or scrollwork, and reinterpret them in a fresh and modern context, creating pieces that are at once familiar and new.

Emphasis on Craftsmanship and Ethical Sourcing: In addition to design influences, old money aesthetics have also contributed to a renewed emphasis on craftsmanship and ethical sourcing within the contemporary jewelry industry. Old money individuals value quality and authenticity in their possessions, and this mindset has led to a greater demand for jewelry that is made with care and integrity. Contemporary designers are increasingly prioritizing craftsmanship, using traditional techniques and high-quality materials to create pieces that are built to last. Furthermore, there is a growing awareness of the importance of ethical sourcing, with consumers seeking ou

Cultivating Old Money Style: Elevating Your Wardrobe with Timeless Elegance

Embracing old money style is not just about acquiring exquisite jewelry; it’s about embodying a sense of timeless elegance and refined taste in every aspect of your wardrobe. Here are some tips for incorporating old money jewelry into your personal style and cultivating an aura of sophistication:

Invest in Timeless Pieces: When selecting old money jewelry, prioritize timeless pieces that have enduring appeal and can be passed down through generations. Opt for classic designs such as pearl necklaces, diamond stud earrings, and signet rings adorned with family crests or monograms. These pieces not only exude elegance but also hold sentimental value, becoming cherished heirlooms that tell a story of heritage and tradition.

Pair Classic Jewelry with Modern Outfits: To achieve a sophisticated contrast, pair your classic old money jewelry with modern outfits. For example, pair a simple pearl necklace with a sleek tailored suit for a timeless yet contemporary look, or layer diamond stud earrings with a crisp white blouse and jeans for effortless elegance. Mixing classic jewelry with modern attire adds a touch of refinement to your ensemble while showcasing your ability to blend traditional and contemporary elements with ease.

Mix and Match Old Money Pieces with Contemporary Accessories: Don’t be afraid to mix and match old money jewelry with contemporary accessories to create a unique and eclectic look. Experiment with layering delicate vintage-inspired necklaces with statement-making bangles or stacking vintage rings with modern bands for a personalized touch. By combining old money pieces with contemporary accents, you can infuse your style with a sense of individuality and flair while maintaining an air of sophistication.

Embrace Confidence and Poise: Above all, cultivating old money style is about embodying confidence and poise in every aspect of your appearance. Wear your old money jewelry with pride, knowing that each piece reflects your refined taste and appreciation for quality craftsmanship. Stand tall, exude confidence, and carry yourself with grace, for true elegance lies not just in what you wear, but in how you wear it.

signet ring

Must-Have Jewelry for Old Money Aesthetics

Old money aesthetics embody a sense of timeless elegance and sophistication that transcends trends. Incorporating must-have jewelry pieces into your wardrobe is key to achieving this classic look. Here are essential pieces and how to style them in the 21st century:

1. Pearl Necklace: Classic Piece: A single strand or a multi-strand pearl necklace exudes refined elegance. Styling Tip: Pair a pearl necklace with a crisp white button-down shirt and tailored trousers for a polished daytime look. For evenings, layer it with a little black dress for timeless sophistication.

2. Diamond Stud Earrings: Classic Piece: Simple yet luxurious, diamond stud earrings add a touch of sparkle to any ensemble. Styling Tip: Wear diamond studs with everything from casual jeans and a blazer to formal eveningwear. They effortlessly elevate any outfit with understated glamour.

3. Signet Ring: Classic Piece: A signet ring adorned with a family crest or monogram is a symbol of heritage and tradition. Styling Tip: Stack your signet ring with other delicate bands for a modern twist, or wear it alone as a statement piece. Pair it with both casual and formal attire to add a touch of old-world charm.

4. Tennis Bracelet: Classic Piece: A tennis bracelet featuring a continuous row of diamonds or gemstones exudes sophistication. Styling Tip: Wear a tennis bracelet as a standalone statement piece or layer it with other bracelets for a more eclectic look. It adds a touch of glamour to both daytime and evening ensembles.

5. Watch with Leather Strap: Classic Piece: A wristwatch with a leather strap epitomizes old money style, combining functionality with elegance. Styling Tip: Pair a leather-strap watch with both casual and formal outfits. It adds a touch of sophistication to everyday attire and complements eveningwear with timeless grace.

6. Brooch: Classic Piece: A meticulously crafted brooch adds vintage charm and elegance to any outfit. Styling Tip: Pin a brooch to the lapel of a blazer or coat for a classic, refined look. It can also be worn on a scarf or attached to a handbag for added flair.

Styling Tips for Old Money Jewelry

  • Mix Old and New: Don’t be afraid to mix old money jewelry with contemporary pieces for a modern twist. Pair classic pieces like pearl necklaces or diamond studs with trendy statement jewelry to create a unique, eclectic look.
  • Layering: Experiment with layering different pieces of jewelry to add depth and interest to your ensemble. Mix and match necklaces, bracelets, and rings to create a personalized and sophisticated style.
  • Casual Elegance: Incorporate old money jewelry into your everyday wardrobe to elevate casual looks. Pair classic pieces with casual attire like jeans and a T-shirt for an effortless yet polished appearance.
  • Confidence is Key: Regardless of how you style your old money jewelry, wear it with confidence and poise. True elegance comes from within, and carrying yourself with grace will enhance the timeless beauty of your accessories.

In a world where trends wax and wane with the passing seasons, the influence of old money aesthetics on contemporary jewelry trends stands as an unwavering testament to timeless elegance and refined taste. Through a meticulous revival of vintage designs, a seamless integration of classic elements into modern pieces, and an unwavering commitment to craftsmanship and ethical sourcing, old money aesthetics exert an authoritative presence, guiding the trajectory of jewelry fashion with an air of sophistication and grace.

In embracing old money aesthetics, we pay homage to a heritage steeped in tradition and aristocratic refinement. Each piece of jewelry becomes more than a mere accessory; it becomes a symbol of lineage, a testament to enduring elegance, and a tangible link to a bygone era of opulence and prestige. With an authoritative nod to the past, we weave these timeless elements into the fabric of contemporary style, infusing our wardrobes with a sense of timeless sophistication that transcends the ephemeral nature of passing trends.



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