Maybe you’ve heard someone say “that’s so aesthetic” or “my aesthetic is (insert phrase),” or you keep seeing terms like cottagecore, Barbiecore trend, spacecore, nightcore, kidcore, etc. These words and phrases are at the forefront of fashion and lifestyle discussions. If you’re wanting to stay current and join in the fun, I can tell you everything you need to know about aesthetics and aesthetic jewelry- from defining these terms to reviewing the most beautiful and popular styles that these online subcultures have to offer.   

What Are Aesthetics and "Cores"?

While the academic meaning of aesthetics has to do with the philosophy of beauty and art and the underlying principles of specific art movements, it has taken on a whole new meaning in internet slang. In everyday conversations, “aesthetic” is often used to refer to a certain visual theme and lifestyle, or even just as a synonym for saying it’s something you think is visually appealing. 

The “core” suffix at the end of the names of certain styles is closely related to this. Attaching “core” to the end of a word simply indicates that the word it’s attached to is the core idea or image that defines the style (or “aesthetic”). Each of these “cores” has its own subculture of fans who post about it in online communities and/or embody the style in real life. 

But if it’s still not making sense, don’t worry, because we’re about to go over several popular examples.

The cottagecore aesthetic centers around living a cottage lifestyle. It appeals to those of us who dream of forsaking society to go commune with nature. Fans of this aesthetic are also often concerned with protecting the earth and making environmentally responsible choices. 

A woman wearing two rings and a necklace, holding a sprig of pink flowers
Featuring: JTV

Imagine having a cottage and a small farm where you could bake your own bread and pick bouquets of wildflowers in a Gunne Sax prairie dress. The cottagecore look typically consists of earth tones, pastels, flowing skirts, puffed sleeves and nature-themed patterns. 

When it comes to accessorizing these feminine and antique-inspired outfits, cameo carvings, lockets and vine-like metalwork fit the vibe perfectly. You’ll also see cute animal jewelry and delicate flower jewelry everywhere in cottagecore aesthetic jewelry. 

Pale pink rose quartz, honey-colored citrine and the foliage green of peridot jewelry reflect the colors of sun-drenched gardens and fields. For gems that are especially kind to the earth and match with everything, opt for lab-grown diamond or moissanite jewelry

A pair of gold berry-shaped dangle earrings
Featuring: All-Metal Gold Jewelry by JTV
A silver and white locket hanging in front of a pink flower
Featuring: Paula Deen Jewelry by JTV

If bright colors and statement pieces aren’t your thing, then you might prefer Dark Academia, an aesthetic built around dark, mysterious and neutral colors and simple aesthetic jewelry accessories. 

This lifestyle is about striving to become a well-rounded and knowledgeable person. The look was made for rainy days spent reading by candlelight in the library or studying while listening to classical music. 

A woman in a gray plaid blazer wearing silver and gold bracelets and a ring
Featuring: JTV

Dark academia fashion consists of tweed, blazers, turtlenecks, loafers and lots of layers. You can complement this sort of edgy, vintage ivy league style with watches, brooches, cameos, understated rings and bracelets and small, simple pendants. In the mind-expanding spirit of the aesthetic, you can also consider some of the lesser-known gemstones that match this color palette: smoky quartz, tiger’s eye, jet and onyx jewelry.

A trio of women's watches in black, beige and navy
Featuring: Ladies' Watches by JTV
A woman in paper bag pants wearing a moissanite ring
Featuring: Moissanite Jewelry by JTV

This aesthetic is exactly what it sounds like - royalcore is all about emulating the opulent style of princesses and queens. Think of the aesthetic jewelry that you would wear to waltz across marble floors in a graceful ball gown or attend a coronation. 

An ornate silver ring sitting in front of a pink ribbon
Featuring: Vanna K Jewelry by JTV

Ruby (the “King of Gems”), diamond, sapphire and spinel jewelry embody regal elegance and have been linked to royal families around the world throughout history. Intricate, dainty metalwork and gem shapes, as well as anything with a crown motif on it, also evokes this style.

Another way to channel royalcore is with jewelry sets, which are like the modern-day version of parures. Parures were matching sets of jewelry with detachable and reattachable parts that could be used to create different accessories - for example, a necklace that could be split up into a bracelet and brooch. These items were popular in the past with princesses, queens, and high-ranking members of society.

A blue gemstone pendant necklace with a halo of white stones and a silver chain
Featuring: Silver Jewelry by JTV
A pair of diamond and gold stud earrings sitting on an ornate metal platter
Featuring: Diamond Jewelry by JTV

Barbiecore Trend Jewelry

A love of the fashionable childhood icon is at the heart of the Barbiecore trend. If you have fond memories of playing with the dolls, or you just really like pink, the Barbiecore trend is a cute aesthetic jewelry style that you need to check out. 

A woman wearing hot pink accessorized with a set of gold and hot pink jewelry
Featuring: Bella Luce Jewelry by JTV

This style is all about feeling confident in your beauty and your ability to achieve your dreams. You can radiate her girl-power energy with any shade of pink jewelry, from the magenta hues of rhodolite, to hot-pink Padparadscha sapphire and pink topaz, or blush-colored morganite and pink opal jewelry. You can even include pink in your choice of metal with rose gold

If you don’t want to go for an all-pink look, neon apatite and fire opal jewelry echo this trend’s brightly-colored wardrobe and makeup. Any chunky statement jewelry or items with a high sparkle factor are also reminiscent of the doll’s plastic accessories.

A matching set of multicolor butterfly-shaped earrings and a ring
Featuring: Off Park Jewelry by JTV
A matching pair of rose gold earrings and a rose gold ring
Featuring: Rose Gold Jewelry by JTV

Spacecore revolves around the look of outer space and, unsurprisingly, involves an interest in learning about the universe. If you’re that person who’s always going “Ooh, look at the moon,” or stargazing is your idea of a good time, this aesthetic jewelry is for you.

A chunky gold chain necklace with moon and sun pendants attached
Featuring: Off Park Jewelry by JTV

With those who dress in this style, you’ll see lots of stars, moon and sun motifs and constellations, and a color scheme of navy blue, black, purple, silver and gold. A lot of the accessories tend to resemble items from antiquity, due to the fact that the study of outer space, as well as the universe itself, traces so far back in time. 

If you’re interested in this aesthetic, I recommend checking out our celestial jewelry, Star Wars Jewelry and moonstone jewelry, as well as drusy quartz, amethyst and tanzanite jewelry

A black opal ring with a gold band covered in black and white gems
Featuring: Opal Jewelry by JTV
A pair of silver rings with iridescent dark blue gems
Featuring: Silver Jewelry by JTV

Old Hollywood is an aesthetic that encompasses several decades of the vintage style worn by real-life stars and seen in movies. Think of the glamorous starlets like Clara Bow, Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor, or femme fatales like Greta Garbo, Lauren Bacall and Ingrid Bergman. 

A woman wearing a black dress and a statement pendant and ring
Featuring: Silver Jewelry by JTV

Fashion in this era was defined by art deco and Dior’s New Look. It often materialized in the form of feminine silhouettes, sleek evening gowns, gloves and red lipstick. Jewel tones, black, white and cream were popular colors for making dramatic and alluring statements.

To embody this style of aesthetic jewelry, opt for geometric patterns, bib or collar necklaces, and lots of sparkle. Wear diamond, sapphire or citrine jewelry- and whenever in doubt, choose pearl jewelry for effortless class.

A gold ring with a pale yellow stone in the center and white ones around it
Featuring: Bella Luce Jewelry by JTV
A strand of pearls sitting on a metal platter
Featuring: Pearl Jewelry by JTV

Erin McIntyre

Erin has been obsessed with aesthetic styles ever since she learned about cottagecore, which has remained her favorite one. If she’s not baking pastries or standing in a field of wildflowers right now, she’s probably daydreaming about it.

Read more about Erin on her author page

Erin McIntyre