Jewellery and vacations are a bit of an iffy love affair. On the one hand, you want to flaunt your greatest gems for that evening soiree, sundowner sesh, or a mere nuzzled nightcap — yet on the other hand, a looming fear of losing your suitcase, a panic of a pick pocket, and forgetting that oh-so-precious piece at the hotel are all very real. The jewellery you take and wear on vacation is not like the jewellery you wear at home. But that doesn’t need to be a bad thing.

Of course, there are a few cardinal carat rules. For one, you don’t travel with your most valuable pieces. It’s common sense. The risk is too high. Secondly, you store each piece very, very well. We’re talking travel jewellery cases, we’re talking hand luggage only. And lastly, lest we forget, you’re going on holiday for crying out loud; you’re allowed to have a little (or a lot) of fun with it. Check-in these two terms: costume jewellery and timeless classics.

Featured and hero image credit: Chanel

Best Jewellery for Vacation
Chanel Holidays photographed by Karl Lagerfeld in Deauville, starring Helena Christensen. © Chanel Spring-Summer 1990

Where costume or fashion jewellery is often overshadowed by the beckoning bling of high and fine jewellery items, it is on a flamboyant holiday where these pieces really get to shine. Accessorising loosens its tie at the resort; we wear more colour, we go for greater statements, and we’re not afraid to experiment a little. However, vacation jewellery is also about convenience. You need pieces that can take you from day to night and back again, and items that are versatile enough to go with multiple outfits. If you’re high-flying fashionistas like we are, you’re also going to want your accessories to go with the ‘vibes’ of the vacation you’re heading on. After all, a seashell necklace? In Singapore? Or a cuff bracelet? At a yoga retreat? Abysmal.

To give you some sweet sartorial weekend getaway guidelines, we’ve put together some of the best jewellery options you should take on your next vacation, depending on the type of vacation you’re heading on. Consider this the ultimate travel inspo of twinkles.

For a beachside getaway

Granted, there are few accessories more beautiful than a sun smooch and wavy beach hair, yet beach-inspired jewellery is quite possibly one of the most charming trends in the industry right now. From seashell necklaces to turquoise and coral hues, go for delicate handmade pieces and nautical themes. Colourful drop earrings are your friend, and a great way to complement a tan and a maxi dress or linen suit. Suitable for both night and day, opt for natural stones, interesting silhouettes, and a summery flair that whispers, ‘hello sailor’.

For a flashy city break

Where some people seek refuge in nature to relax and unwind, others thrive for the city lights. For intimate evenings on rooftop bars and in snazzy restaurants, opt for jewellery with an understated yet sophisticated flair or pizzaz. Think, Serena van der Woodsen on Gossip Girl. Effortlessly elegant, casual, and subtly seductive, go for a powerful cuff for lunch and a cocktail ring for drinks. Let your jewellery be as effervescent as a glass of champers, but keep it sharp and smart for that uptown vibe.

For a cultural geek-out

Sightseeing always seems to get the short end of the stick when we talk about travel and travel style. It’s seen as a sweaty group tour and a long trek, and not exactly peak fashion furore. Yet it needn’t always be so. For those who like to explore the ancient ruins or roam the museums on their vacation, it’s fun to go with jewellery that is equally as inspired. A little bit vintage and a little bit rustic, go for warm hues, cultured references, and accessories that bear a sense of story. Coin jewellery is a beautiful option, as is classic gold jewellery, or pieces made from textile. They say that Rome wasn’t built in a day, but a great travel jewellery ensemble can be.

For a spontaneous road trip with the girls

There’s nothing like a spur-of-the-moment getaway with your best mates. Be it fresh out of a broken heart or out of a yearn for a break of routine, road trip jewellery follows along the same kind of sweet spontaneity. Between playful motifs and a bit of a cheeky punk edge, here’s your chance to go for jewellery that perfectly impersonates your favourite song on the sound system and the wind (or air-conditioning) in your hair. Tongue-in-cheek sparkle party. Initial studs. Statement Rings. Cheesily over-the-top, but if not now, then when?

For a staycation

You can’t fight us on this: there is nothing like a staycation, especially in Bangkok. Between the plush comfort of a silken snowy bed and a chocolate-dipped strawberry in the bubble bath, there is no true need to bring much jewellery on this kind of trip, especially if you plan on never leaving the room. Ah, but why not? Isn’t the point of a staycation to indulge? Inspired by what best matches your regal hotel bathrobe, we’re calling pearls the ultimate staycation staple. Lusciously luxe; opulent but chill. Let them dangle from your ears, grace your wrist, or sit elegantly between your duvet and the third ice cream sundae that room service has brought to your bedside. It’s what jewellery is to a vacation: the sweet cherry on top.

This article first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Bangkok on 27 February 2019. 

Lisa Gries
Managing Editor, Bangkok
Lisa loves to travel, and is always on the lookout for the world’s best nap spots. She’s a serious Asian art history nerd, and has a knack for languages and coffee table books. She hopes to publish her own novels one day, one of which will likely be called ‘All The Great Conversations I Had In A Bangkok Speakeasy.’ It’s a work in progress.