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.