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Do the English, Europeans and Scandinavians find bling vulgar?

(147 Posts)
bunnymother Mon 10-Feb-14 13:44:09

Here's a nice, tasteful question for you... grin

I saw the other thread asking about the value of people's wedding, engagement and eternity rings, and it got me thinking that quite often I notice big diamonds on American and, to a lesser extent, Australian women, but not so much on English, European and Scandinavian women. The people I am thinking of are all high earners (or married to), so its not to do with money. I am assuming its to do with taste/preference?

TheJumped Mon 10-Feb-14 21:00:51

Bunny - I don't think people mean to be snobby, they genuinely do think they're superior to the sort of people who enjoy more ostentatious and obvious fashion or displays of wealth.

Which deserved pointing out sometimes I think. I don't like snobbery, it shouldn't be an issue. And it's so disingenuous too - trying to make having money some sort of exclusive club - old or new, it all stinks grin

mrscumberbatch Mon 10-Feb-14 21:03:00

You've got a point tweet!
Diamonds weren't particularly in demand until a very clever as campaign by de beers in the 1950's. 'Diamonds Are Forever'.

Prior to that engagement rings were a lot more varied and colourful!

mrscumberbatch Mon 10-Feb-14 21:05:52

Also just to clarify, I mean no snobbiness whatsoever in my sweeping generalisations down the board. It is honestly general observation from my end of the trade (which is not to say that others will not have witnessed otherwise.)

I can't be snobby, I'm happy to deal with anyone who will pay me money wink

Fantasyfootballfan Mon 10-Feb-14 21:07:18

I agree Africanexport. There is a lot of jewellery in boardrooms, huge fat diamond engagement rings, often another expensive ring on the other hand, always a discreet but extremely expensive watch, maybe a cartier love bangle and diamond earrings usually teamed with a v expensive handbag, might be Mulberry or I have noticed, Smythsons and often a Mulberry briefcase. I might often recognise the outfit from Zara or Banana Republic but the jewellery always gives away that these are really successful women. It's not blingy but it's a very expensive look.

coffeeinbed Mon 10-Feb-14 21:08:06

I don't do it because I get bored with easily with show pieces.
Anything that's too brash, too big, just that bit in your face is something I know I will tire of, so why spend money on it?

So I stick to something I know I will like and wear for years.

santamarianovella Mon 10-Feb-14 21:13:35

frugal that's very interesting.

I'm Mediterranean European,I love jewelry but not flashy bling,my dad's side loves it,but mum's side hates big flashy pieces,and prefer smaller understated pieces.

But I agree people who come from Mediterranean region love jewelry,and not because its a sign of wealth,they see it as good investment,some even believe that wearing gold protects the wearer from the "evil eye".

I see a lot of Eastern European,ladies wearing really expensive bling at day,not just watches and rings,but diamond encrusted bracelets and earrings,some look really glamourous and they stand out,they are usually slim,tall with long hair,and wear simple,but expensive clothes,so the emphasis is just on jewellry and bag and shoes,and others look really vulgar, as they have so many things going on,and can't make it work.

Northern Europeans really hate big pieces,and always associate it with new money,but what do you do with family heirlooms?

AfricanExport Mon 10-Feb-14 21:16:13


yup.. You know what I'm talking about. .. grin

It's like subtle Bling. Not in your face, like the inch thick gold necklace (Which would be frowned upon, I am sure), but oh 'so in your face' really. grin

AnaisB Mon 10-Feb-14 21:20:48

bunnymother a slight thread tangent, but have you seen the Grayson Perry series on 4OD about taste in different English social classes. I think you'd be interested. It seems a lot of what we define as "taste" is a careful balancing act between being ostentatious and subtle - it's just that the optimum point differs between social groups. (I have just made the programme sound a lot duller than it is.)

As for me, I have a smallish trilogy (0.8) crt ruby and much smaller diamonds and am English. I wanted something a bit different to a diamond solitaire.

noviceoftheday Mon 10-Feb-14 21:39:13

I wear a lot of jewelry but it's subtle though might be regarded as blingy by some but happily I don't care!grin

FrugalFashionista Mon 10-Feb-14 22:34:51

Santa re family heirlooms, the inheritance taxes take care of those. Also, there is the bank vault wink

Very few people in the Nordic countries have been consistently rich for centuries. Most of us are only a few generations away from very simple lifestyles like fishing and small-scale farming. We value equality and individualism in society, but standing out too much is frowned upon. This heritage is both good and bad.

I'm not saying you shoudn't wear bling. I'm simply saying that my religious and cultural heritage is strongly anti-bling. Someone else here might be a direct descendant of the Byzantine emperors, with very different cultural norms and expectations wink

SnowBells Mon 10-Feb-14 23:00:44

What is seen as BIG?

I mean, mine seems to be big for UK standards, because people comment on it. But it's only little over a carat and pales compared to others. It's very good quality though, and D in color...

MillyBlodyn Tue 11-Feb-14 00:10:01

Im Australian but don't like Bling on clothes or jewellery or anything to be honest. I did before I moved here years ago but then a refined friend taught me all about understated British style.

kelpeed Tue 11-Feb-14 06:24:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsCampbellBlack Tue 11-Feb-14 06:51:35

I so agree with thejumped. I never ever get why its somehow bad to have 'new money' ie money you have actually made rather than by an accident of birth.

I love bling and hope in the future to have some decent stuff but at the moment there is a house to renovate, chidlren's education to pay for etc. Which actually is probably very English to invest in houses and education rather than jewellery. Oh and hadbags of course wink

Floppityflop Tue 11-Feb-14 07:09:14

I don't think pearls are bling with the exception of very big ones.

Morgause Tue 11-Feb-14 07:12:29

I'm a fan of tasteful and "real" bling worn in moderation. I have inherited some beautiful jewellery from the family but never wear it all at once.

I don't like men in bling at all.

Amrapaali Tue 11-Feb-14 07:42:27

Frugal even your name reflects your culture. smile

Well, the English dont like bling because we are all naturally beautiful, innit? Gilding the lily and all that....

Yes, yes, I'm asking for it. Feel free to mercilessly take the piss. grin

Bonsoir Tue 11-Feb-14 08:38:28

MrsCampbellBlack - it isn't bad to have new money. What is deemed tasteless is to flash it around, in particular with consumer goods that are disproportionate to actual wealth (showing off).

santamarianovella Tue 11-Feb-14 09:16:23

amrapaali, there is nothing wrong with what you said,I discovered that the English ,some not all don't love showy bling, but the admire it,some even admit that the reason for not buying, is fear of being called vulgar or new money.
I think it's more like what frugal said,investing in homes,holidays, boats.. Etc makes more sense than buying jewellery.

Bonsoir Tue 11-Feb-14 09:22:01

A very good friend of mine is a jewellery designer. She is from NY, where she worked in the über high end jewellery business for many years and latterly had her own business.

She has not managed to import her business model to Paris, where she has lived for the past five years, and one of the reasons for that is that Parisian women don't buy themselves expensive jewellery - their husbands buy it for them and it is important for it to be branded, small and recognisable. In NY her customers were largely women, many of whom had their own ideas about what their jewellery should look like and paid for it themselves.

HelloBoys Tue 11-Feb-14 09:45:07

depends on the person. I know a few people who love big flashy stones, gold - bling.

some people prefer more suitable stones/metals.

HelloBoys Tue 11-Feb-14 09:47:06

Essex/East End (forgive me for tarring both with same brush and making sweeping generalisation) SOME of them LOVE their bling.

I know a few East Enders who love their gold, sovereigns and all that.

same for Essex - few Essex girls who like their BLING be it fake or real.

Vintagebeads Tue 11-Feb-14 09:51:06

I was living in th NE part of the US when we got engaged.
My ring is lovely though not big though my friends from home say hoe American it looks i think it the setting ...I will never forget my boss wife who told me that I should upgrade it when DH got a pay rise..all her friend go up carathmm with thier DH promotion.
I was a bit insulted really whats wrong with just saying congrats .
I lived in a few different states and almost all rings were really big.
Maybe its a regional thing.

Vintagebeads Tue 11-Feb-14 09:52:36

ahhh loads of spelling mistakes sorry on phoneblush

FrugalFashionista Tue 11-Feb-14 10:05:22

Having a lot of heavy and valuable jewellery makes sense though if your fortune needs to be easily transferable and portable. I think my friends invest in boats and villas and downtown flats because we live in a relatively stable society - if I lived in Syria my preferences might be completely different.

The consumer society is a really new idea. Most of us have come to having any money that is not tied to land or property really recently. When people get extra money, they start shopping and the earliest puchases are almost always pretty visible. I lived in Brazil for a few years and there a big proportion of the population was moving from poverty to lower middle class. The first thing everyone got was a satellite dish/a full cable package, then lots of consumer electronics, a motorbike or a car, and leather sofas. Fancier clothes and wearable bling would probably be next on the list.

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