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 Face Shape and Jewelry Choices 

by Barbara van Look, Marketing Content Development Group


Face Shape and Jewelry Choices
Every jewelry artist includes a variety of elements when creating a piece: colors, styles and materials. Knowing how different jewelry styles complement different face shapes gives a designer-artist an edge in creating flattering and popular jewelry.

Identifying the Face Shape
Each person's face falls into one of seven general shapes: Oval, Round, Oblong/Rectangular, Square, Heart/Inverted Triangle, Pear/Triangle and Diamond. Finding your or your customer's face shape is a simple process:
  1. Pull hair back with pins or a headband so all hair is completely off the face.
  2. Have someone take a picture of the person facing straight into the camera, with the hairline showing, and print it out. Or they can stand about a foot away from a mirror and look straight into it.
  3. Outline the face on the picture printout. Another technique is to lay a piece of tracing paper over the mirror and outline the reflection of the face through it, or draw directly on the glass with a wet-erase (overhead projection) marker. The mirror can then be wiped clean with a wet paper towel.
  4. Compare the face shape to the images below and choose the one that matches the closest. The features may be soft or angular within that shape.
Be sure to check the face both "at rest" and while smiling. After determining the face shape, you can consider the fashion and jewelry that best complements the individual. Keep in mind that face shapes can change slightly over the years, or with changes in health and weight.

While over-sized fashion is occasionally "in," a piece of jewelry is selected and worn more often when it is in proportion to the size of the face, and complements its shape. Wearing the correct jewelry with the correct neckline can balance a face, and bring out its best features.

The Oval Face

The oval face is soft and curved, with an equal distance from the hairline to the eyebrow and from the eyebrow to the chin. Often considered the "perfect" face shape, it is slightly longer than it is wide, and can wear almost any neckline or jewelry style. The features within the face can be sharp and angular or soft and curved, but the overall face shape will be an oval.

Necklines
Oval faces can wear almost any neckline.
Ideal necklines: Scoop neckline, turtleneck, Nehru collar
Avoid: None

Necklaces
Oval faces can wear almost any shape or style of necklace, provided the design is in proportion to the individual, whether petite or plus-size. Necklaces should complement the neckline worn, as well as the wearer's other qualities: chokers emphasize her long neck, a long string of pearls worn flapper-style lengthens her torso and low-hanging necklaces with drops accent a low-cut neckline. The soft curves of the oval face are best accented by soft curving shapes such as pearls, ribbon, open link chain, affirmation rings and more.

Earrings
Oval faces can wear almost any shape or style of earring, if the designs are in proportion to her face. Avoid styles that are overly long, as they will lengthen the oval face. To minimize a thin oval face or a too-long nose, use styles that creep up the ear or have wings that sweep upward. Echo the oval face with hoops, hoops in circles, chandeliers and other soft, curving designs using open link chain, teardrops and go-gos--or dramatically set off the oval face with triangle-shaped earrings.

Eyewear
Oval faces can wear almost any frame shape, so feel free to experiment with the latest looks. The top suggestion is to wear square frames with slightly rounded edges.

Bridal Tips
Oval faces can wear almost any neckline, necklace or earring style. Keep in mind the size of the bride, her coloring and the simplicity (or ornateness) of her gown--a more ornate gown can support more ornate jewelry. Matching the patterns, designs, textures and qualities of her gown completes the presentation. If the bride has her hair pulled back or worn up, she shows her face shape best--and gives the jewelry designer the opportunity to create matching hair jewelry.

Famous Faces: Oval
Celebrity faces offered as examples. Different face-shape sources may have different results.
Tyra Banks, Sandra Bullock, Cameron Diaz, Cindy Crawford, Julia Roberts, Sharon Stone, Uma Thurman

The Round Face

The round face is soft and curved, with an equal distance all around. The nose is a center point for this face shape (it is as wide as it is long). The features within the face can be sharp and angular or soft and curved, but the overall face shape will be round. The objective for this face shape is to lengthen its appearance.

Necklines
Round faces need strong vertical clothing lines to add angles and lengthen the face. Round faces are often accompanied by curvy and rounded bodies, so choose necklines that are longer than wide.

Ideal necklines: V-neck, collared shirt open at the throat (even better when paired with a jacket), sweetheart neckline, Queen Anne neckline, narrow Empire neckline

Avoid: rounded necklines (such as the boatneck, bateau, crew or scoop).

Necklaces
Longer, looping necklaces draw the eyes down and lengthen the look of the face. Large focal components which create a "V" or draw attention below the neckline also create a powerful triangular point that creates a longer line. Avoid choker, collar and princess lengths, since they shorten the neck and add width to the throat.

Earrings
The round face is ideal for wearing long, vertical styles--especially dangles, drops, narrow chandeliers and ear threads. Keep in mind that opposites attract for this face shape and choose rectangles, trapezoids and other long, vertically angular designs. Any styles that draw attention to a strong vertical line will be flattering for a round face.

Eyewear
Again, choose styles that create a longer face, or appear to narrow the face. Higher earpieces create the illusion of a longer lower face; bars or heavy details at the brow will draw the eye upward, creating a strong vertical. Ideally, go with frames equal to or wider than the widest part of the face, in rectangular shapes.

Bridal Tips
The round face needs a deep plunging V-neckline to elongate and thin out the face. Asymmetrical jewelry styles will create a strong vertical line by drawing the eye either upward or downward, breaking up the roundness of the face. Keep in mind the size of the bride, her coloring and the simplicity (or ornateness) of her gown--a more ornate gown can support more ornate jewelry. Matching the patterns, designs, textures and qualities of her gown completes the presentation.

Long drop earrings are an ideal choice, as they lengthen the line of the face yet can be created in soft curving shapes such as pearls or glass. In addition, a small tiara or crown on the top of the head will lengthen the face.

Famous Faces: Round
Celebrity faces offered as examples. Different face-shape sources may have different results.
Fergie, Drew Barrymore, Christina Ricci, Carrie Underwood, Kate Winslet

The Oblong (or Rectangular) Face

The oblong/rectangular face is longer than it is wide--the width of the face at the forehead, cheekbones and chin are the same or almost the same. The features within the face can be sharp and angular or soft and curved, but the overall face shape will be long. Sometimes, an oblong/rectangular face can be mistaken for an oval--however, placed next to a true oval, the differences become clear. The objective for this face shape is to shorten its long vertical line.

Necklines
Oblong/rectangular faces need strong horizontal clothing lines, making the face appear wider and more oval. This face shape is often accompanied by long and thin bodies, so choose necklines that are wider than long.

Ideal necklines: Boatneck/bateau neckline, Sabrina neckline, portrait/off-the-shoulder neckline, moderate cowl neck, strapless
Avoid: V-neck, scoop neckline, other plunging necklines

Necklaces
Short necklaces reduce the appearance of lengths of the oblong/rectangular face. Choker, collar and princess lengths are ideal (especially if you have a long neck), since they break up the vertical line that occurs with an oblong/rectangular face. Large beads at the base of the neck help shorten the look of the face. Circular neckwires and necklaces without heavy or bold focal components are another option for the oblong/rectangular face.

Earrings
The oblong/rectangular face is ideal for wearing large, bold styles--especially large post ("button") styles and wide chandeliers with color, movement and drama. Keep in mind that opposites attract for this face shape and chose large rounds, curves, crescents and other wide, space-filling designs. This face needs jewelry that adds width and camouflages its length, so any styles that create an illusion of width will be flattering for an oblong/rectangular face.

Eyewear
The objective for this face shape is to add width to, or reduce length in, the face. To create the illusion of width, choose styles which are narrower than the widest part of the face, with a strong short horizontal element (or long vertical lines). Ideally, choose round or square shapes with embellished or contrasting areas at the temples when viewed from the front.

Bridal Tips
The oblong/rectangular face needs a strong horizontal focus for the eye to follow. High necklines with gentle curves, accompanied by the shorter necklace lengths and short dramatic earring styles, will create a strong horizontal line. Keep in mind the size of the bride, her coloring and the simplicity (or ornateness) of her gown--a more ornate gown can support more ornate jewelry. Matching the patterns, designs, textures and qualities of her gown completes the presentation.

Hairpieces at the temples or above the ears, or wreath-style headdresses, make the face appear shorter.

Famous Faces: Oblong/Rectangular
Celebrity faces offered as examples. Different face-shape sources may have different results.
Kirstie Alley, Jennifer Aniston, Iman, Terri Hatcher, Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sarah Jessica Parker

The Square Face

The square face has a strong jaw line--the distance from the top of the face to the chin matches the width of the face. In addition, width of the face at the forehead, cheekbones and chin are the same or almost the same. The features within the face can be sharp and angular or soft and curved, but the overall face shape will be square. Sometimes, a square face can be mistaken for an oblong/rectangular face--however, the length of the oblong/rectangular face becomes clear when they are observed side by side. The objective for the square face is to soften the angles, creating the appearance that the forehead and jaw line are narrower, and lengthening the face.

Necklines
Square faces need curves and vertical influences, to soften the strong jaw line and make the face appear more oval. Consider a scalloped edge or lace trim on curved necklines. This face shape is often accompanied by a variety of body styles, so choose necklines that work best with each individual's body style.


Ideal necklines: V-neck, deep Sabrina neckline, moderate cowl neck, scoop neckline, sweetheart neckline
Avoid: Empire (square) neckline

Necklaces
Square faces need necklaces with length and curves to soften the strong jaw line. Princess, matinee, opera and rope lengths are ideal (especially if you have a short neck), since they create a vertical line to lengthen the square face. Large focal components on necklaces form a "U," drawing attention below the neck to give the appearance of a longer face. Choose pendants or focal components with curves and swirls to counter the strong angular elements of the jaw.

Earrings
The square face is ideal for wearing large oval hoops, long drop and narrow chandelier earrings. Keep in mind that opposites attract for this face shape and choose long narrow designs. This face needs jewelry that adds length and camouflages its width, so any styles that create an illusion of length will be flattering for a square face. Avoid short post (button) and wide chandelier styles.

Eyewear
The objective for this face shape is to add length to, or reduce width of, the face. To create the illusion of length and soften the strong angles of the face, choose styles with curves and a strong vertical element. Ideally, choose round, oval or cats-eye shapes that are proportional to the face.

Bridal Tips
The square face needs a strong vertical focus for the eye to follow. Low necklines with gentle curves, accompanied by the longer necklace lengths and minimal earring styles, will create a vertical visual line. Keep in mind the size of the bride, her coloring and the simplicity (or ornateness) of her gown--a more ornate gown can support more ornate jewelry. Matching the patterns, designs, textures and qualities of her gown completes the presentation. Hairpieces at the top of the head, with gentle curves, curls or flowers will add the appearance of length to the face. Consider a tiara-style headdress for extra height. A short veil down the back and sides of the head, with the best length about 1-1/2 inches below the chin or extending to the shoulder to reduce and soften the squareness of the jaw.

Headdresses, which put some wispy or curving elements on the forehead, or a single side piece which adds waves or embellishment at the temple is perfect for the square face.

Famous Faces: Square
Celebrity faces offered as examples. Different face-shape sources may have different results.
Calista Flockhart, Katherine Hepburn, Janet Jackson, Ashley Judd, Demi Moore, Mandy Moore, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Mena Suvari, Hilary Swank

The Heart-Shaped (or Inverted Triangle) Face

The heart-shaped face has a wide brow and narrow chin. In addition, width of the face at the forehead and cheekbones is greater than the width at the chin. The features within the face can be sharp and angular or soft and curved, but the overall face shape will be a heart or inverted triangle. The top part of the face is usually soft and curved at the edges, with a sharp or angular chin. The objective for the heart-shaped/inverted triangle face is to rebalance the face, creating the appearance that the forehead is narrower and widening the jaw line.

Necklines
Heart-shaped faces need strong horizontal clothing lines, making the face appear wider and more oval. This face shape is often accompanied by a variety of body styles, so choose necklines that work best with each individual's body style.

Ideal necklines: Boatneck/bateau neckline, crew, Sabrina neckline, portrait/off-the-shoulder neckline, turtleneck, mock-turtleneck
Avoid: V-neck, collared shirt unless buttoned up, sweetheart neckline, Queen Anne neckline, scoop neckline, strapless, other plunging necklines

Necklaces
Heart-shaped faces need short necklaces with curves to reduce the appearance of length in the jawline and diminishes the sharp point of the chin. Choker, collar and princess lengths are ideal (especially if you have a long neck), since they break up the vertical line that occurs with a heart-shaped/inverted triangle face. Triple-strand chokers or large beads at the base of the throat creates fullness at the neck and balances the wider area around the eyes and cheekbones. A bold pendant on a short necklace creates a visual stop directly under the chin, shortening the look of the face. If a longer necklace is desired, try the opera-length strand and circle it around the neck once or twice before letting the length hang. Circular neckwires, omega chains and short bib-style necklaces are another option for the heart-shaped/inverted triangle face.

Earrings
Keep in mind that opposites attract for the heart-shaped/inverted triangle face and choose triangular or fan-shaped dangling earrings--whatever will put the widest part of the earring next to the jaw line. This face needs jewelry that adds width at the level of the chin, so use horizontal lines of hoops, teardrops, curves, triangles and other dangling space-filling designs. Avoid small post (button) and any long narrow earring styles. One of the techniques used to rebalance the heart-shaped face is hairstyles which cover the ears and cheekbones, so earrings may sometimes not be necessary to fill out this face shape.

Eyewear
The objective for this face shape is to narrow the brow and move the eyes away from the lower part of the face by accenting the eye area. Soften the strong angles of the lower face by choosing styles such as cat's eye or metal frames with rimless bottoms.

Bridal Tips
The heart-shaped/inverted triangle face needs a strong horizontal focus for the eye to follow. High necklines with gentle curves, accompanied by the shorter necklace lengths and teardrop earring styles, will balance the wide forehead and cheekbone area of the heart-shaped face. Keep in mind the size of the bride, her coloring and the simplicity (or ornateness) of her gown--a more ornate gown can support more ornate jewelry. Matching the patterns, designs, textures and qualities of her gown completes the presentation.

Veils that hang to the chin help widen the appearance of the jaw line. Also consider the wide-ribbon choker necklace for the heart-shaped face.

Famous Faces: Heart-Shaped (or Inverted Triangle)
Celebrity faces offered as examples. Different face-shape sources may have different results.
Mischa Barton, Naomi Campbell, Carmen Electra, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Avrill Lavigne, Eva Longoria, Lisa Kudrow, Christina Milian, Mary Kate Olsen, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jamie Lynn Sigler

The Triangle (or Pear-Shaped) Face

The triangle/pear-shaped face has a narrow brow and wide jaw line--the opposite of the heart-shaped face. In addition, the width of the face at the jaw line and cheekbones is greater than the width at the forehead. The features within the face can be sharp and angular or soft and curved, but the overall face shape will be a pear or triangle. The objective for the triangle/pear-shaped face is to rebalance the face, creating the appearance that the forehead is wider, and moving the eye away from the jaw line.

Necklines
Triangle-shaped faces need curves to soften the strong jaw line and make the face appear more oval. Consider a scalloped edge or lace trim on curved necklines. This face shape is often accompanied by a variety of body styles, so choose necklines that work best with each individual's body style.

Ideal necklines: V-neck, collared shirt, sweetheart neckline, Queen Anne neckline
Avoid: Empire (square) neckline, turtleneck, mock turtleneck

Necklaces
Triangle-shaped faces need short necklaces with gentle curves to soften the strong jaw line. Princess and matinee lengths are ideal, since they put a gentle curve under the jaw line and lengthen the look of the face. Large focal components on necklaces forming a "V" draw attention below the neck to give the appearance of a longer face. Choose pendants or focal components with curves and swirls to counter the strong angular elements of the jaw.

Earrings
Keep in mind that opposites attract for the triangle/pear-shaped face and choose heart-shaped dangling earrings--whatever will put the narrowest part of the earring next to the jaw line. This face needs jewelry that adds width at the level of the cheekbones or above, so earcuffs and other styles that curve up the ears create the illusion of width. Use small post (button) styles with a few long narrow dangles to create more length. One of the techniques used to rebalance the triangle-shaped face is hairstyles which add bulk to the crown and temples, so consider embellished headbands, barrettes or fascinators as well.

Eyewear
The objective for this face shape is to appear to widen the brow and narrow the lower part of the face by accenting the eye area. To create the illusion of width and soften the strong angles of the jaw, choose styles with curves and a strong horizontal element. Ideally, a style with an attention-getting brow bar will draw attention toward the upper part of the face.

Bridal Tips
The pear-shaped/triangle face needs a strong focus in the upper parts of the face, to balance the strong jaw line. Colorful eyeglasses or attention-grabbing fascinators will draw the eye up and away from the jaw line. Small cluster earrings, or earring styles that climb the outside curve of the ear help the forehead look wider, balancing the face. A gently curving neckline will soften the jaw. Keep in mind the size of the bride, her coloring and the simplicity (or ornateness) of her gown--a more ornate gown can support more ornate jewelry. Matching the patterns, designs, textures and qualities of her gown completes the presentation.

Hairpieces at the temples or above the ears, embellished headbands, fascinators or wreath-style headdresses add the appearance of width to the upper face.

Famous Faces: Pear-Shaped (or Triangle)
Celebrity faces offered as examples. Different face-shape sources may have different results.
Victoria Beckham, Geena Davis, Kathy Ireland, Martine McCutcheon

The Diamond-Shaped Face

The diamond-shaped face is balanced, angular and dramatic, being widest at the cheekbones and equally narrow at the forehead and at the jaw line. Often considered a more dramatic or angular version of the "perfect" oval face shape, the diamond-shaped face is slightly longer than it is wide, and can wear almost any neckline or jewelry style. This is the rarest face shape, and the features within the face are usually sharp and dramatic. Pick styles and fashions that accentuate the dramatic cheekbones that are the core of the diamond-shaped face.

Necklines
Diamond-shaped faces can wear almost any neckline.

Ideal necklines: Scoop neckline, turtleneck, Nehru collar
Avoid: None

Necklaces
Diamond-shaped faces can wear almost any shape or style of necklace, provided the design is in proportion to the individual, whether petite or plus-size. Necklaces should complement the neckline worn, as well as the wearer's other qualities: chokers emphasize her long neck, a long string of pearls worn flapper-style lengthens her torso and low-hanging necklaces with drops accent a low-cut neckline. Consider whether to downplay the angles of the diamond-shaped face with softly curving shapes such as the collar or princess necklace lengths, or to accentuate the sharp features with more angular or modern styles.

Earrings
Diamond-shaped faces can wear almost any shape or style of earring, if the designs are in proportion to her face. Avoid styles that are overly long, as they will lengthen the diamond-shaped face. To minimize a narrow diamond-shaped face or a too-long nose, use styles that creep up the ear or have wings that sweep upward. Add width to a pointy jaw line with dangling earrings with teardrops, pear-shaped or triangle drops. Echo the diamond-shaped face with dramatic and angular styles using triangles and cut crystal--or soften the look of the diamond-shaped face with hoops.

Eyewear
Diamond-shaped faces, like oval faces, can wear almost any frame shape, so feel free to experiment with the latest looks. Keep in mind that the sharper angles of the diamond-shaped face can be either emphasized with square and angular styles, or counterbalanced with oval frames. Whatever style is chosen, make sure the frames are no wider than the top of the cheekbones. The top suggestion is to wear oval or rounded square rimless styles.

Bridal Tips
Diamond-shaped faces can wear almost any neckline, necklace or earring style. Keep in mind the size of the bride, her coloring and the simplicity (or ornateness) of her gown--a more ornate gown can support more ornate jewelry. Matching the patterns, designs, textures and qualities of her gown completes the presentation.

If the bride has her hair pulled back or worn up, she shows her diamond-shaped face shape best--and gives the jewelry designer the opportunity to create matching hair jewelry.

Famous Faces: Diamond-Shaped
Celebrity faces offered as examples. Different face-shape sources may have different results.
Linda Evangelista, Felicity Huffman, Sophia Loren, Kim Raver

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