Where I Shop for Real Jewelry That’s Almost Cheaper Than Costume

Disclaimer: When speaking of fine jewelry, the term “affordable” is very much relative. Metals like 14-karat gold and diamonds and other genuine gemstones really don’t come cheap, but a few jewelry brands have figured out how to streamline the process, whether they utilize direct-to-consumer manufacturing or have figured out other ways to keep their overhead costs down, therefore keeping their price points down.

Over the past several years, I’ve made an effort to save the money I would’ve normally spent on costume jewelry and invest it in fine jewelry. Even though fine metals seem to get more and more expensive, the jewelry brands I’ve bought from lately all have pieces that are cheaper than some costume jewelry. And even though some aren’t, it makes me feel good knowing that I’m spending a little more on high-quality pieces that I’ll possibly wear for decades as opposed to ones I might toss or donate after a couple of seasons.

With that, keep scrolling to shop my nine favorite fine-jewelry brands with stylish, relatively affordable pieces.

There’s a good chance you’re already familiar with Mejuri (it’s popular), but I’m going to sing its praises anyway. The Mejuri pieces I own are some of the most-worn in my jewelry collection, including the chain ring and gold hoops pictured below. The brand introduces new pieces weekly, so there’s always plenty to choose from. 

Stone and Strand is one of my favorite places to shop for wallet-friendly diamond pieces. It typically uses a lot of pavé stones, which makes for a ton of sparkle but not a ton of money. See what I mean below.

Wolf Circus is what you’d call demi-fine jewelry, meaning it uses sterling silver and 14-karat gold plating for its pieces and genuine gemstones and pearls (but no diamonds). The Canadian brand’s pieces are particularly stylish and the prices particularly low.

Completedworks is another one of my favorite demi-fine brands, although it also has stunning fine-jewelry pieces (including engagement rings). I can’t even tell you how many compliments I get when I wear its pieces. They’re just so cool and unique. You’ll see…

White/Space Jewelry is an L.A.-based brand that I recently discovered, and I’m thoroughly obsessed. The pieces are modern and sculptural yet still wearable for everyday, and the brand uses sustainable practices and materials. 

Verlas is a new brand on the jewelry scene with a stunning assortment of customizable engagement rings and timeless fine jewelry pieces that are sure to become heirlooms down the road. I’m particularly drawn to the brand’s diamond hoop earrings, delicate La Fleur collection, and jaw-dropping tennis bracelets.

Vrai’s prices are so good I sometimes have to double-check to make sure a piece is 14-karat gold. (They all are.) The sustainable brand’s engagement rings and fine jewelry are delicate yet substantial and would be an excellent addition to a jewelry collection.

Kinn is one of my favorite new discoveries, and I think it’s about to be yours too. Scrolling through its stock, I can’t find one piece I wouldn’t wear, from the dome rings to the pretty chain necklaces.

Wwake is another brand that you might have heard of, as it’s famous for making opals cool again and for its stunningly delicate constellation-inspired pieces. The NYC-based brand is also sustainability-minded, and if you’re looking for a special engagement ring, consider this your hot tip.

Après Jewelry is one of my favorites for the basics. I wear the brand’s tiny diamond-encrusted hoops in my second and third piercings every single day, and it has many other items that are comfortable enough to even sleep in, not to mention beautiful and timeless. It also makes engagement rings that you can custom design.

Next: These 32 Accessories Are What I Like to Call Wardrobe Enhancers

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