Manolo for the Big Girl Fashion, Lifestyle, and Humor for the Plus Sized Woman.

October 6, 2010

Five Great: Fabulous Baubles Under $50

Filed under: Jewelry — Miss Plumcake @ 12:30 am

There are few purchasable pleasures as exquisite in this world as good costume jewelry. In fact, just as directional fashion is happening at the ready-to-wear (Prada, etc) level and not the couture, the ornamentation revolution is happening not in fine jewelry, but in costume.

Some people have an automatic bias on “real” vs “fake” jewelry and to them I will say this: Get over yourselves.

I grew up with  jeweler as a father. I have seen rocks that would make Elizabeth Taylor blush and some of them might even come into my possession someday and for that I am very very grateful.


Most mere mortals –myself included– can’t afford Bulgari emeralds or pigeons’ blood rubies. And the hard truth is most of the stones you can buy at chain jewelers are so heat treated and processed you might as well be buying costume jewelry anyway, because a good set of faux pearls will last you longer than a cheap strand of the “real” thing, where the nacre is whisper thin and unevenly colored, and if you’re paying for supposed rarity of the stone, you can just save yourself the cash because 90% of what they pull out of the ground looks nothing like anything you’d recognize as a gem.

Another rookie mistake folks new to quality costume jewelry –as opposed to “fashion jewelry” which is the cheap throwaway stuff you get at Claire’s or similar– is that it’s cheap. It’s not, in either sense of the word.  Most of my costume jewelry is made as well or better than my fine jewelry and as for value, a necklace less extravagant and in worse condition than the early KJL necklace I bought for a (comparative) song this winter recently sold at auction for over $2,000 and it’s not remotely unheard of to see meticulously-made contemporary costume piecesthat will set you back over a grand at Nieman’s and Saks.

BUT none of that today.

Today I’m featuring five pieces I really love and would wear myself and they’re all on sale for under, mostly well under, fifty bucks.

The earrings are from Priya Kakkar and the rings –which are all adjustable and thus able to fit even my man hands– are from Kenneth Jay Lane, costume jeweler to the stars.

So pretty. So SO pretty. I know not everyone wears long dangly earrings, but for a special occasion where the glamor needs to go up to 11 but your budget only goes up to three, toss on last season’s LBD, pin up your hair, slap on some red lipstick and these raina-ready fan earrings.

How to do flowers without being twee? Just like this. Sophisticated, powerful, glam but slightly whimsical and it won’t get lost on a big hand.

If the long danglies aren’t for you, try these turquoise enamel darlings on for size. Perfect for bringing motion and light to your face in a way that’s more subtle than big shoulder dusters and infinitely less boring than plain diamond studs.

There are statement rings and there are statement rings. Not for the faint of heart, I love every single thing about this  yellow enamel pansy ring. The color is dead on for both fall AND spring and will be a go-to piece when you want something special but not stuffy to add a little sophisticated whimsy to an outfit.

Finally, if you want to go Eighties Etruscan, you can’t do much better than this deep set faceted cocktail ring (hey Bluefly, you might want to consider not touching the stone with your fingerprints and then photographing it at 300 times its natural size. Just sayin’) It’s got the hand-hewn artisan setting and like all KJL rings,  is plated in 22k gold, which will age beautifully.


  1. I love the red ring.

    Comment by Rebekka — October 6, 2010 @ 3:11 am

  2. Nothing makes me regret my nickel allergy more than those gorgeous, gorgeous dangly earrings. Had to give up the pierced ears ages ago. Clip-ons just don’t provide the same grace.

    Comment by marvel — October 6, 2010 @ 7:17 am

  3. Oh my lord, the fingerprint. *shakes head*

    Love, love LOVE the earrings! As someone who adores funky, but fashionable, earrings, these are perfect. I do believe Bluefly will be getting business from me shortly.

    Comment by Suze — October 6, 2010 @ 9:41 am

  4. @Marvel, I believe they’re all gold plated.

    Comment by Plumcake — October 6, 2010 @ 9:52 am

  5. Tried gold-plated, didn’t help. Tried higher-quality gold, didn’t help. Of course, I was in college, so they may not have been as purely gold-plated as required. Tried the stuff you paint on to keep the nickel from leaching. Didn’t work. Gave up and now I’d have to have my ears re-pierced. I break out to watch bands, necklaces, bracelets, anything. Got a a platinum engagement ring/wedding band out of it, though, so not all bad!

    Comment by marvel — October 6, 2010 @ 12:43 pm

  6. The earrings are great but the rings are also a blast. Even with my very short fingers, many big rings look great.

    Comment by Astra — October 6, 2010 @ 2:07 pm

  7. Thank you for your educational comments on pearls and chain jewelers…..I love my ‘dipped’ pearls and they have lasted forever.

    Comment by Thea — October 6, 2010 @ 2:28 pm

  8. Love the temple-dancer earrings!

    And wearing that pansy ring would put me in a good mood all day.

    Comment by lauren — October 6, 2010 @ 4:52 pm

  9. I have several KJL pieces from about twenty years ago that he did for Avon. They still look great and I always get compliments on them. They are chunky pieces and I’ve always enjoyed wearing them.

    Comment by Phyllis — October 6, 2010 @ 8:52 pm

  10. I ihherited my grandmother’s fat German peasant hands. Are those KJL adjustable rings really going to fit my sausage fingers? Because I freakin LOVE that pansy ring.

    Comment by Jezebella — October 8, 2010 @ 11:13 am

  11. @Jezebella, yes, yes they will!

    Comment by Plumcake — October 8, 2010 @ 11:46 am

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