Inexpensive Jewelry That Makes a Stylish Statement
When you want to look your best while spending the least amount of money possible, one solution is making judicious jewelry purchases. By looking for items featuring tasteful design and alternative materials, you can pull off a stylish look without running the budget train off the rails. Try some of these seriously stylish accessorizing solutions that come with an affordable price tag. (See also: Thrift on the Sly)
In my opinion, dichroic glass is one of the most visually striking jewelry materials on the market. It’s also extremely affordable compared to semiprecious stones and sterling silver.
The color depth and variation are incredible, and purchasing jewelry made from this material typically means you’ll be supporting independent artisans. This is due to the fact that the finished pieces have to be designed by an artist with glass knowledge and put together with a relatively precise procedure. Necklace slides, cuff links, tie tacks, earrings, and bracelets are all available in dichroic glass. You can search out artists on Etsy, at local craft fairs and studios, or online, as many have their own online stores and galleries.
Purchasing pewter is a powerful way to obtain bling on a budget, as the cost per piece — even for heavier items — is significantly lower than sterling silver and often lower than stainless steel.
I recently purchased a striking pewter cuff bracelet at a museum gift shop for $25 that would have easily cost me a few hundred bucks if I had purchased the same thing in silver. Don’t get me wrong — girlfriend loves her sterling. But when you’d prefer to spend less, pewter offers a comparably posh look. In this case, I wanted the bracelet as a travel piece. Since theft is a concern on the road, it enabled me to manage my loss risk effectively.
Speaking of travel beauty, another way to keep your jewelry cost low across the board is to combine dressier slides with fabric or leather necklace cords. This allows you to leave the costly omega chains made with precious metals at home, saving space and a small amount of mugging stress.
The most affordable place I’ve found to stock up on fabric, leather, and ribbon-style necklace cords is Jo-Ann Fabric. For $3.99, I recently purchased a multi-pack of five cords to wear with a couple of different necklace ornaments I’d purchased elsewhere. They pack easily and provide an affordable backup plan if one of the cords gets damaged or torn.
My dichroic glass slide looks amazing on a velvet cord worn with a black jersey v-neck dress and my tall black dress boots. It strikes a balance between artsy and professional, and it lets me save the wear and tear on my more expensive pieces for when I have a special event.
You can pull off a similar look by stocking a roll of narrow ribbon to cut and thread through lockets and other attractive baubles. However, if you’d rather not bother or prefer having actual metal findings to secure your necklace, the multi-packs in various styles and materials are an affordable alternative.
Cut glass beads are a great frugal fashion solution, especially for things like stacked wrist bangles or long, twisted loops of beads strung on elastic cording. The trick is to get a high quality glass bead when you go this route so your piece doesn’t look cheap. Certain earth-toned, faceted beads can provide a look that mimics amber, for example, or amethyst. I’ve even seen layered beaded necklaces made of glass that looked remarkably like hematite. Yes, you’ll spend a decent amount for it, but it will be far less than if you dished out for actual gemstones.
If you’re brave enough to shape your own designs, these wire jewelry tips from Beading Daily will help you get started.
You can start with an affordable stainless steel creation wrapped around an antique pottery shard for example, and move up to sterling when you feel more accomplished. Earrings, necklace ornaments, and ornamental cuff bracelets can all be created with wire, so you certainly won’t find yourself limited to only a handful of accessorizing options if you decide to go this route. Of course, you can always just purchase your wire jewelry already made from a trained artist.
Clay beads and jewelry ornaments make extremely functional souvenirs, but even if you purchase yours locally as part of a premade piece, you’ll be way ahead of the financial game compared to materials like tourmaline or red jasper. As with cut glass beads, the trick is to find creatively-designed, high-quality examples. I prefer those that have a bit of a tribal look to them, as I think that accentuates just how elaborate pottery-based jewelry can be. These look great with sweater dresses when preparing for job interviews, or with a sassy combination of jeans, dressy tee shirt, and natural-fiber blazer with heeled boots.
Dressing up doesn’t have to derail your budget. Prudent jewelry purchases can keep you looking posh while your pennies continue to be pinched.
What low cost, high value jewelry and accessory options have you found and liked?