From an early age I understood that while shiny things were nice to look at, I could not own all of them. The first lesson in this came while I was in high school. We had a guest speaker who worked at a law firm and was a well-seasoned lawyer and businesswoman. She essentially spoke to us about various career related topics, and what adulting done right should look like. I recalled that during her presentation she touched on fashion. Outside of the general comments about cleanliness and looking presentable, she talked about women wearing too many shiny objects. She had offered up a piece of fashion advice that may have flew over many of my classmate’s heads but was a memorable point for me. This has to do with the number of shiny things wore. I recall that she told us that there is a certain number that is consider excessive in almost any occasion. It has been many years since this advice was bestowed upon me, but if my memory is correct, I am only allowed 13 or less shiny objects. This included everything from the adornments in your hair, eyewear, earrings, necklaces, rings, bracelets, belts, shoes, and even the material your clothes are made of. This woman described in detail the extremeness of this law that even considered patent leather as shiny which included shoes and handbags. It even extended to how shiny your nail-polish, lipstick, and elements of your makeup were, while the number 13 might seem like a large number at first you will notice that this rule is really for demure women. Flash forward to 2020 and there are many trends but the one thing they all have in common is there is always a particular type of jewelry that complements each look.
My personal style tends to lean towards trying to dress for the occasion while still being aware that sometimes more is not always the best. I do not always subscribe to the 13 law of shiny object adornment, but I found a compromise in affordable delicate understated jewelry. In doing so I found 6 affordable brands that offer fuss free pieces for the girl who is not quite demure, but do not like bulky gaudy pieces.
Wanderlust + Co
I was drawn to this brand by social media, as they were carefully inserted into my feed. At first glance, I was intrigued by the zodiac, astrology, and tarot inspired designs. These are all areas that I love, so Wanderlust immediately sucked me in. The necklace that pulled me was the Trust the Flow and Zodiac Enamel Gold Necklace. I also got a few petite stud earing in a variety of designs and couldn’t be happier. While it’s not Cartier prices, the look and feel of the pieces are substantial.
Another company bought to me by social media that I could not resist is PDAOLA. I purchased three necklaces and 2 doggy collars from PDAOLA to be gifted to various friends. This is a company that was, started in Barcelona in 2014 by two sisters who focus on womanhood and the sisterhood between women worldwide. While I know I should do my research on companies before buying from them, I didn’t know this fact about PDPAOLA until recently. Unknowingly I had gifted three of the most awesome girlfriends a necklace with the first letter of their name in gold with various stones such as aquamarine, zirconia, and labradorite in various colors. Only to find out that PADAOLA has a similar philosophy with saying such as; Jewelry for Women who Own their Glow and When our Sisters shine, we all shine.
Each piece is delicately understated at comparable prices.
Local Eclectic (LE) has been around since 2013 and started in Chicago selling jewelry from upcoming jewelry designers worldwide. LE looks for emerging and indie jewelry makers and designers who make incredibly unique pieces against the mass production idea. Unlike the other two companies, LE features many designers instead of focusing on their own pieces. It is a female-owned and run company that also showcases other female designers. I cannot decide on what I love more from this site, as everything is exquisite.
Logan Hollowell is a Los Angeles brand that makes handcrafted pieces from recycled gold and ethically sourced gems. LoganHollowell’ss pieces paint a picture of whimsy and class with reasonable details that will allow jewelry collectors and owners to curate heirloom pieces. This is what I would call an expensive brand as you can purchase something for as little as $45 or lavish items costing $16,000. Yes, that is expensive for those on a budget, but Logan Hollowell is where you can find very delicate noteworthy pieces sourced ethically, which means suppliers are compensated fairly.
Gorjana is another California brand founded in 2004, selling beautiful pieces that can be layered and stacked to the gods. Stacking and layering jewelry is an art form that slowly crept into our fashion consciousness. Gorjana was one of the first brands that I first recognized, offering dainty pieces that could be layered. I first came across Gorjana in 2014 when they were featured on Gilt Groupe. Back then and even now, I was so obsessed with the look of the pieces.
Its starting to seem like most of the affordable jewelry brands that attract me to have a few things in common. Most of them are female-owned, and quite a few were started in California. TAI is another such brand that fits into all categories. This company was started in 2002 by a Thai native who moved to California to study. Tai ended up first creating pieces that were sold in the Santa Monica flea market, and after being discovered by a trendy boutique, became extremely popular and the brand we know today. I owned my first piece of TAI, which was a handmade black silk cord bracelet with a small evil eye charm, which I still have to this day. TAI is another brand I love and can always count on to find extraordinary items at great prices.
Brands like these make it hard to stop regularly buying pieces from their new collections. I keep telling myself that I am at the point where I do not need anymore, but ever so often, something attracts me. This year I only bought pieces for close friends. Like everyone else, I was too consumed with COVID-19, but I have had my eye on signet rings.