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One of the hottest attractions on the fall runways in Paris and New York involved not the clothing itself, but something that enhanced it in an undeniably sexy way: fine jewelry. Now, more than ever, top-notch clothing designers are recognizing the importance of fine jewelry in enhancing and completing one’s look.

John Galliano for Christian Dior, Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, and hot Dutch design duo Victor and Rolf are just a few of the many designers who gave fine jewelry the spotlight during fall showcase collections, creating the perfect balance with their fine jewelry selections.

“Utilizing jewelry made of precious metals and gemstones to enhance clothing has become widely accepted in the fashion world,” says Elizabeth Florence, Executive Director of the Jewelry Information Center, “Designers have come to acknowledge the important role of fine jewelry – be it a well placed brooch, a forearm stacked with glistening bangles, or a sexy lariat necklace snaking down into one’s decolletage – in establishing a complete look.”

The black and white craze, for example, is not complete without the accompaniment of contrasting strands of black Tahitian and white Akoya or South Sea cultured pearls. Up-and-coming designer Paula Hian incorporated important pieces by jewelry designer Craig Drake in her New York show, with a chunky necklace of chocolate colored diamonds exquisitely highlighting the crème de la crème of her collection – a stunning strapless gown with brocade bolero.

Carmen Marc Valvo opted for a subtler touch of Gabrielle Diamond shirt studs to complete his most lauded look, while Mark Montano showed off his boldness with an 18k gold and diamond sabi finish link necklace, drop earrings, and link bracelet by Henry Dunay. Designers like Kayatone Adeli pulled together this season’s deconstructed looks with lengthy lariats and shoulder sweeping earrings.

Backstage at the Paris runway shows, Katharine Betts, then editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar stated, “What’s interesting now is that we’re seeing a lot of young people wearing fine jewelry.” And Suzy Menkes, editor of the International Herald Tribune, said, “Certainly, jewelry as an accessory is BACK!” Echoing the fashionista’s statements was actress Debi Mazar (“Goodfellas”) who raved, “I’ve always loved jewelry. I’m a lady; I love my jewels!”

High fashion and fine jewelry have officially formed a pact. Fashion forecaster David Wolfe of the Doneger Group goes so far as to say, “Jewelry has become as important as clothes. Ladies like jewelry – real jewelry – the kind that turns heads.”

Whatever one’s style – and there were plenty of muses offered, from Ladylike Chic to Punk Rock – fine jewelry completes the look in a way that not only enhances the clothes, but the person wearing them. And isn’t that what it’s all about?