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Most women giggle with glee at the prospect of shopping for jewellery. I, on the other hand, dread nothing more than a visit to the jewellery store. The process can be incredibly confusing to reject astonishingly beautiful earrings and bracelets and necklaces, only because you are unsure of how they might fit in with your skin and hair colour. So one day, I decided to stop the frustration for good and learn everything there is to know about skin tone, hair colour and jewellery. This is what I learnt:

How to Determine Your Skin Tone

You may not care if your skin colour is white, black or purple (though as Mitch HedbeFrg says, you should care if your skin is purple), but a knowledge of your own tone will save you tons of time when shopping. Your skin, after all, is the single largest organ on your body.

Skin is broadly divided into warm and cool tones. To know which side of the fence you fall into, take a look at your arms. If your veins are blue, you have cool skin tone. If they are green with a yellow tinge, you have warm tone.

Another test for determining skin tone is to stand before a mirror with a piece of white paper pressed against the side of your neck. If your neck appears yellowish, you have warm skin. If it appears tinged with blue, you have cool skin.

People with warm tones usually look good in earthy shades of red, brown and burgundy. People with cooler skin look better in rich, bright shades such as yellow, navy blue, etc.

Determine the Best Hair Colour for your Skin

Before you can head to the store, you need to find out what is the best hair colour for your skin shade. As a simple rule of the thumb, people with cool skin look better in black, platinum blond and white hair colours. Those with warm skin will look good in shades of brown, including red and dark blonde.

Some popular shades for cool tones are ash black, platinum blond, variants of honey and ash. For warmer tones, choose from chestnut, warm shades of brown and red, golden browns and darker brunettes.

Choosing Metals to Match Your Hair Colour and Skin

People with warmer skin look good in darker, yellowish metals such as gold, copper, brass and pewter. Those with cooler skin look better in colder metals such as platinum, silver, and white gold.

Picking Gemstones to Match Your Skin

All gemstones are not created equally. Some look better on cooler skin, others on warmer skin. Bright, bold shades of blue and pink are perfect for cooler skin. Pick sapphire, ruby and emerald if you have cool skin.

Earth colored gemstones, on the other hand, complement warm skin. Take your pick from amethyst, lavender, opal, topaz and jade.

Matching Jewellery With the Shape of Your Face

This is probably the most important step: the shape of your face should play a crucial role in helping you decide what to buy. A few simple rules are:

– Sharp faces, such as diamond or heart shaped faces look best with earrings that accent the face length, and necklaces that help soften the sharp angle of the chin. Buy small drop shaped earrings and dangles to make the face appear the bit longer. For the neck, stick to chokers and chunkier pieces to sway attention from your sharp chin.

– For round and square shaped faces, consider buying elongated pieces to make your face look a little longer. Buy tear-drop, cylindrical and elongated earrings and stretched-out necklaces that draw attention away from the soft edges of your face.

– Oblong shaped faces look best with short, round earrings and heavy, chunk chokers.

– Oval shaped faces have the license to go with pretty much anything, but tend to look better in sharp, angular pieces.

Essentially, the process requires you to buy pieces that contrast your face shape. Thus, go for softer edges if you have sharp features, elongated pieces if you have a round face, and shorter jewels to get the most out of a long face. Matched with the right hair colour and gemstone, it can really bring out the best of you.

Written by Ros Davies for Debretts Online Jewellery the specialists in second hand jewellery.