For years, I’ve stated that I couldn’t wait to be a woman of a certain age and fully dedicated to the “art history professor” style: textured caftans, layered scarves obtained on glamorous-sounding vacations, and impossibly gargantuan statement necklaces. Turns out, all this time I just wanted to be British chef, author, and television presenter Prue Leith.
My fixation with Leith’s taste in necklaces, which has been on full display in her role as a judge on The Great British Baking Show, is well-known. And I’m not the only one. U.K. media has named Leith a bona fide style icon (her necklaces, people have noticed, often match her statement spectacles, and her tunics and fitted jackets tend toward bright pops of color). The look is in such high demand that rumors at the end of 2018 suggested that Leith might design her own necklace line. But it has yet to hit stores so, inspired by a contestant’s recent use of a cowrie-shell necklace as a Showstopper decorative element, I’ve taken it upon myself to trawl the internet for Prue necklace dupes (sadly, finding the real deal wasn’t as easy as heading to a modern art museum gift shop — trust me, I tried).
Leith’s penchant for a single, large, round beaded necklace (versions have appeared in red and black, yellow, and blue) has drawn repeated, and not-entirely incorrect, comparisons to a ball gag. Versions on Etsy lean into the edginess by stringing the large bead on a thicker, more obviously rubber cord, making the cord a bigger part of the look. Other options place a smaller bead on a thinner choker designed to be worn closer to the neck.
What’s better than one ball on a cord? Multiple balls on a cord (and sometimes, those balls are accompanied by other geometric shapes to create more asymmetry). Necklaces featuring oversized ceramic spheres — in all manner of color combinations — are pretty easy to find online. If you’re feeling slightly sassier, there’s always the double-ball corded look, which sticks the globes on different loops.
The second most common style of Prue necklace is abstract squiggles linked together on a chain. Close duplicates have proved difficult to find online, but I love these more-structured versions that build the piece on bold, clean lines:
Easily my favorite necklace Prue’s worn so far on GBBO, this number looks like a sleek, elegant piece of party confetti. The version on the show looks to be made of vinyl or plastic, but a ceramic version found on Etsy pulls of a similar vibe.
This ode to the Red Vine — or, a sweet that hasn’t been tackled yet on the show, the jalebi — contains a sense of chaotic whimsey inside a more conventional circle shape. Red rope necklaces online tend toward a chunkier, nautical vibe.
Perhaps the necklace that inspired the most online mockery, this number worn during the Season 6 premiere was dubbed the “Kerplunk necklace” due to its similarities to the playing pieces of the children’s board game. To be fair to Prue, the charms around her neck definitely have more heft to them, but to keep that “repurposed” vibe, this piece upcycles zip ties to create its statement:
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