Nicole Richie is a celebrated fashion innovator, media personality, designer, and mother, but did you know she is also an avid collector of vintage costume jewelry? With a particular appreciation for punchy gold Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent pieces from the 80s, it was natural for Richie to extend her passion into her own accessories line, House of Harlow. Richie opens up her personal jewelry box and shares how her mother nurtured her love affair with jewelry, her next big accessories obsession, and her hunt for how to best store her worldly discoveries. -The Stone Set
“My mother introduced me to jewelry. She wears the real stuff, mostly diamonds and sapphires (we were both born in September). I would go to International Silks & Woolens and buy little strips of velvet and little charms, snaking the charms on the strap and making chokers and selling them. I was seven. It cost $10 to make. I would sell them for $10. That’s when my mom told me I was a horrible businessperson. She was like, “You’re great at designing. Now you have to work at actually making money!”
Jewelry is really fun for me. When I go on tour with Joel, I’m constantly going to different kiosks or finding cool vintage places and thrift stores. I find something wherever I am, even if it’s just fabric on a lampshade or something that’s inspiring to me. I usually never let Joel pick out anything for me, in terms of jewelry or clothes, but he went to South Africa and came back with so much jewelry with jaguars and panthers. He did a really good job! He also recently got me a pair of clip-on vintage Chanel earrings in France that are beautiful. He’s been doing better picking things out!
When I decided to start House of Harlow, I started with jewelry because it was the closest to my heart and I’d been making it the longest. I knew exactly what I wanted it to look like and how I wanted it to feel. I love incorporating different fabrics and textures in the collection. It makes it more eclectic. The Five Station Necklace does so well for us, and each season I try to give the customer a strong high-neck piece. For spring, I’m very excited about the pave triangle rings.
I love costume jewelry and 80s vintage jewelry. It’s less responsibility and there are no rules. I’m changing all the time and running around and traveling, so costume jewelry is really fun and easy to layer on. I love finding the old Yves Saint Laurent and Chanel. You can play with it and do different looks. I love mixing metals, combining silver, gold, and rose gold. My pieces start in drawers, then plastic bags, then boxes. It’s something I currently struggle with once a week. If someone has a creative tip for storing jewelry, I’ll take it!
As for everyday jewelry, rings are my signature: I go full force or nothing at all. For my birthday, I get a new piercing every year. Ultimately, I’ll have all of my friend Jennifer Meyer’s earrings up this ear and triangles up the other ear. I’m not into watches yet, but emotionally that’s going to be the next big step for me.” -Nicole Richie.