Boho Bling Basics

bohemian jewelry

If you take a trip to a museum, you’ll surely find ancient jewelry among the various displays. This is very telling of the fact that throughout history, jewelry (in different forms) has played various roles across different cultures.

In Ancient China, jewelry, especially those made of jade, served a protective purpose, quite similar to a talisman. It was believed to ward off bad luck, illness, and evil spirits. In Ireland, history details how early jewelry played a role in the battlefield. It served as a display of societal status and athletic prowess for the opponents to see. In India, a special type of jewelry is worn for different occasions. There are three types: bridal jewelry, temple jewelry, and spiritual jewelry. Bridal jewelry is quite popular even outside India. This may be because Indian brides are literally adorned with gold from head to toe, who wouldn’t be surprised by that!

Whatever the purpose, jewelry has become important pieces to one’s attire. Over the years, the consistent use of jewelry has been observed. This brings us to a richer discussion that dates back to the 16th century.  



Why do gypsies wear jewelry?

It is important to identify that in this section of writing, we will be referring to bohemians as the Roma people. Before “bohemian” adopted the general description of “anyone involved in the arts and lives an unconventional and vagabond way of life,” the term bohemian referred to the Roma people who were thought to have traveled to France via Bohemia (a place believed to be located in present-day Czech).

Contrary to the French thinking that the Roma people were gypsies from Bohemia, evidence point to them having Indian roots. In Indian societies, jewelry was considered a symbol of acclaim and social status. Especially in women, jewelry served as both an embellishment and a charm for good luck and prosperity. Since jewelry pieces were also meant to enhance feminine beauty, a piece was crafted for almost every body part including uncommon ones like the waist, nose, and even the hair parting.

It is also believed that due to their nomadic lifestyle, treasures and wealth were usually transformed into jewelry and other adornments, to be easily worn and carried while traveling.

With this, we may say that layered and extravagant jewelry choices may not have begun as a fashion decision but more so, as a practical and culturally symbolic one.

As the bohemian style has been refashioned over the years, jewelry styling has moved from a practical and cultural perspective to a more fashionable and stylistic lens. Whatever modification to the bohemian style you choose—boho chic, boho hippie, urban boho, western boho, or Asian boho—jewelry has a part to play in completing the look.

How do you wear boho jewelry?

Commonly the technique used nowadays is called layering. The reason why I prefer to call this a “technique” is because a lot of thought goes into this jewelry styling more than just putting different accessory pieces together.

4 tips to layer jewelry as a pro!

Although it is unclear how and when the layering trend re-entered the fashion scene, what is evident, however, is that this trend is here to stay for the long-run. Jewelry layering involves putting together different pieces of varying lengths or styles in order to create one assemblage. Commonly, people make use of this layering technique to dress up a plain or casual attire. While layering is common with necklace pieces, it can also be done with anklets, bracelets, rings, and even earrings.

Bohemian fashion utilizes layering differently though. Instead of accessorizing simple outfits, layering is used to create the unconventional and free-spirited look that your bohemian outfit is aiming for. For a fact, bohemian clothing is anything but simple, because it is an extension of the bohemian art and aesthetic.

As to how layering is executed, it really is up to personal preference, but one important rule should be observed—avoid layering to the degree of overwhelming. The key is to come up with a harmonious assemblage, not a distracting one.

If you are new to layering, it is important to stick to the basics first. Explore more eccentric looks when you get the hang of it later. Here are some basic tips to get your layering game started:

  1. Three is a party – May it be with bracelets, necklaces, or rings, stick to three pieces at most. Three pieces make a layered look without looking too crowded and messy.
  2. Stick to one – If you’re layering necklaces, stick to the necklaces. Especially when you’re going for a more urban boho ensemble, go easy on the layering. Once you master the technique, you may proceed to experiment in doing it by two’s, for example, bracelets and necklaces or rings and earrings. Make sure not to go overboard on this one!
  3. Mix them up – Don’t go thin on thin, or chunky on chunky. Balance out the weight of the pieces by pairing thin and fine jewelry with solid and chunky ones. This goes for mixing the textures as well. You can mix gold with pearls or get adventurous by pairing a classy piece of gold or silver, with a fun piece like a solid-colored or animal printed one.
  4. You need space – the secret to layering is simple, pay attention to the spacing of jewelry. This especially goes for necklace layering. Layering literally means “to create layers,” and to do so, you must carefully choose jewelry with differing lengths. This is also a life-saver in avoiding all those inconvenient tangles.

Here are some examples of layering done right:



What is bohemian jewelry?

Much the same way that the bohemian style clothing mirrors the bohemian lifestyle and values so does its jewelry. Since “bohemian” represents calmness, free-spiritedness, and unconventionality, their jewelry usually makes use of nature themes and materials because they symbolize how the bohemian lifestyle is very connected to nature and the universe.

Commonly, bohemian jewelry pieces are made of beads, precious metals (gold, silver, platinum), cord (cotton or hemp), and even leather. Gemstones like turquoise, jasper, and onyx are also commonly used in boho jewelry, not only because they are beautiful and add a pop color, but because they hold various meanings too; very helpful in improving one’s mindset and energy. Most of the time, these pieces are handmade too, adding more charm to the piece.

The Takeaway

This extensive discussion about bohemian jewelry must not distract us away from the fact that despite all these pieces of jewelry, still, the best accessories you can carry are your vibe, your energy, and your personality.

Truly, positive energy is the best and most inexpensive way to accessorize!


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