In the world of southwestern-style jewelry, the term “cluster” is both remarkably common and almost comically confounding.
A cluster is one of those things that you know it when you see it, but you’d be hard pressed to actually define. At its most basic, it’s a collection of stones combined to achieve an overall aesthetic. It can be less than a dozen stones or it can be more than a hundred. It can be intricately designed or it can be seemingly arbitrarily arranged. Like all artforms, it’s evolved over the years from the classic to the contemporary, but the appeal is evergreen. The cluster cuff will always be covetable and collectible.
While the cuff is a quintessential piece to any cowgirl’s collection, clusters can be found in many forms. As we said, the term ‘cluster’ can refer to a myriad of designs, making the category very wide and the specifications very vague. Cluster pins are a beautiful way to adorn your lapel or secure your scarf, and because a lot of times they’re a “grandmother cluster” (where the center stone represents the matriarch surrounded by rings of stones representing her kids and grandkids), they are known for becoming family heirlooms. Cluster rings have become all the rage in this era of oversized statement rings. And you’ll find cluster designs in more unexpected places, too, like big belt buckles, bolo slides, or even as the blossoms on a squash blossom necklace. They can even be used in earrings, though it’s more rare simply because when you bring in the number of stones needed to form a cluster, it starts to get large and heavy, which isn’t ideal for an earring.
The moral of the story is: Life is a cluster… and there’s no wrong way to wear one!
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