Equestrian Jewelry for Kentucky Derby Day…and Beyond

Photo of Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs
Photo Courtesy of RobbReport.com

For me, the Kentucky Derby has always been as much about the fashions as it is about horse racing (the Sport of Kings). On Saturday, May 7, as it has done every spring since 1875, Churchill Downs will host the most fashionable crowd in all of sports, as fans gather to watch the Run for the Roses. Dressing for Race Day has its own set of rules for women spectators, including (but not limited to) colorful, floral dresses, flamboyant picture hats and equestrian jewelry. Let’s take a closer look.

Horse racing photo
Photo Courtesy of RobbReport.com

Keeping Up with Tradition

As sure as they will sip mint juleps and sing “My Old Kentucky Home,” the women at Churchill Downs, especially those seated in “Millionaire’s Row,” will don their most spectacular hats and most important jewels for Race Day.

Kentucky Derby Hat
Kentucky Derby Hat. Photo Courtesy of FashionAtTheRaces.com

Originally worn as protection from the Louisville sun, wide-brimmed hats have become a staple for the Derby Day horsey set – the more outrageous and intricately decorated, the better.

Enamel and Diamond and Ruby Bracelet by David Webb
Enamel, Diamond and Ruby Bracelet by David Webb Sold for $23,000 at Christie’s. Photo Courtesy of christies.com.

Jewelry ranges from gold horse-bit and stirrup-shaped pieces from Ralph Lauren, Gucci, Hermes and Gumuchian, to diamond horsehead brooches and bracelets by the likes of David Webb.

The overall effect is dazzling…and deserving, in my opinion, of Red Carpet coverage reserved for the Oscars and Emmys.

Collecting Equestrian Jewelry

Equestrian jewelry has been popular throughout history (and according to Google, it’s one of the most popular topics on our blog). Specialty items such as antique riding stickpins and diamond horseshoe brooches are highly prized collectibles that often come up at auction, if you know where to look.

My favorite resource for collecting equestrian jewelry is www.1stdibs.com, which offers horse-motif styles at a wide variety of price points. Start by entering “Horse Jewelry” or “Equestrian Jewelry” in the Search bar and then sort your search from “Low to High” to find the best values for vintage and costume pieces.

Or, if you’re so inclined, search from “High to Low” to get a taste of the very finest pieces available from antique jewelry dealers around the world.

Happy hunting…and Happy Kentucky Derby Day to all!

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