When it comes to the Gothic Subculture, there seems to be a certain charm and beauty that comes from the darker side of life. Things that are ordinarily associated with being morbid or deathly are embraced in the culture, and are seen as elegant and beautiful regardless of what the rest of society may think. The people who made a lot of this jewelry popular was a subculture in the late 1970's known as the Goths, but depending on what type of Goth one was, the jewelry differed slightly. Now that we have entered an entirely different century, many people that aren't even associated with the subculture now where these dark and beautiful things, often more concerned with the beauty and antique or historic qualities of the look.
When we look at the more elegant beauty of Gothic jewelry, we often come in contact with the wistful look of many different strands of beads and fine chain that sit wonderfully on the collarbone. They are combined with tear drop beads and have the look of fine detailed embroidery. In addition to these beads, other material like lace or tulle can be added to add a very soft and romantic look. This jewelry is often embellished with fine stones and jewels exerting an eerie glow or deep black colour usually both. As most of us may know, black goes with almost any color and Gothic jewelry is no exception.
Colors and stones that are most commonly seen with black are the cold metallic qualities of silver and the gray tinge of Hematite; the powerful indigo, violet, and purple qualities of Amethysts and Tanzanite; the eerie green glow of Emeralds, Agate, & Jasper; or the deep blood red of the Garnet and Ruby. Now, if you have ever seen black in its purest form, the deep dark color of Onyx is mysterious and very highly sought for in Gothic jewelry.
These stones are often off-set with dark glass beads of many different sizes, and the stone is usually made the centerpiece or focal point of the jewelry. Not only are jewels and stones made the center of attention, they are also sold as pendants along with silver or pewter metal. Pendants are also made entirely out of metal, and take form of many mysterious symbols, such as spiders, bats, cats, ankhs, crosses, spiderwebs, skulls, skeletons, snakes, dragons, pentagrams, stars, Celtic knots, tear drops, coffins, handcuffs, and fangs or teeth.
Gothic Jewelry isn't only limited to necklaces, though. Earrings that dangle and hang or attractive silver studs accented with different types of jewels or stones are also very desirable. Jewelry is very important with whichever part of the subculture you are into, whether it be the romantic and elegant side or the original punk influenced side in which Goth was spawned from. Both sides have developed over the years, and many people often have body jewelry that extends from different parts of the face. For example, it is very common to see a few fine chains dangle from the nose to the ear, from the bottom of the ear to the top of the ear, or from the lip to the ear. This is a look that has been adopted from India and Pakistan.
Cuff links from one part of the ear to a separate pierced hole in a different part of the ear are often intricate pieces of crafted metal. There are also frames that can be made for people with un-pierced ears and are very detailed with the type of metal in mind. They can range from silver spider webs to entangled snakes that curl around the top of the ear. Whole-finger rings or "finger armor" as some may call them are metal hinged rings that cover the entire finger as opposed to just the base. They can be as detailed or as plain as you like, and are often pointed at the knuckle or the end of the finger and are embellished with fine Celtic designs and the like.
On the other side of the spectrum, these elegant pieces can be combined with the more punk influenced side of the culture with leather and vinyl adorned with much silver. Clasps, buttons, and safety pins hold these funky creations together, and are embellished with an assortments of metal stars, pyramids, cubes, short spikes, and tall spikes. These metal accents are held in by screws or by small flaps of metal that are stuck into the leather or vinyl straps and folded back to keep them in tact. These leather straps can be worn as bracelets or chokers, and in their large form can be worn as belts.
As well as the three dimensional metal accompaniments, things like safety pins, round or D rings (which are rings that are flat on one side, thus, resembling the letter D) are added with things like eyelets. These eyelets can be left as is or can be toned and settled down by adding elegant attributes like threading lace or ribbon through them for a corseted look.
When it comes to the extras, fine or thick chains are often worn from a belt loop to a pocket to hold the wallet. There are those that say large chains can also be worn, but I see that as more of an exaggeration of the Heavy Metal Subculture, and is much different than the Gothic Subculture. Things like piercings are often becoming more common, not only in this particular culture but in many others.
Nose studs are often seen alone with many piercings of the ears, and other piercings such as bridges, eyebrows, labrets (in between the lip and chin), septums (think bull rings), medusas (in the crease between the lip and nose), lips, or fangs (two piercings, one on each side of the bottom lip). Piercings are a relatively modern addition to the culture, and not every single person in the culture has them. However, our culture tends to have some of the most intricate layouts of facial piercings around, and some people get very creative with them.