Help me find jewelry I like!
March 28, 2013 8:47 PM   Subscribe

I like to shop for jewelry. I like looking at pretty sparkly things (actually, I like looking at tacky sparkly things, too!), and I love to window-shop for jewelry. But my favorite local jewelry-maker retired and my favorites on the web have mostly shifted collections over the years into things I don't like as much anymore. I want to find new jewelry-makers that I like! Specifications and examples within.

For the most part, I prefer jewelry that is simple, classic, and delicate -- but with a bit of impact or a little unique. I also like things with a story. I love to window shop for jewelry and I am not picky about where, but I do really like patronizing small artists when I actually make a purchase. Costume jewelry is okay, but I find I don't wear it very often; I would mostly rather buy "real" or "honest" materials, which doesn't necessary mean expensive -- glass beads are great, but I'm not such a fan when it's plastic made to look like glass. Brass is fine, brass pretending to be gold is annoying. (Vermeil is fine!) I wear yellow gold most often but have nothing against other metals. I like natural motifs a lot -- flowers, leaves, dragonflies, bees -- but also clean-lined architectural shapes. I am short and have a more delicate bone structure, so I've long favored delicate pieces because strong pieces sometimes overwhelm me visually, but now that I'm in my 30s I find I can wear things that are a little more "statement." But not TOO much! I prefer to buy jewelry that will last me for years -- or decades, or the rest of my life.

I'm also often interested in jewelry with a story or a provenance; my absolute favorite bracelet is made of tiny, odd, lumpy pearls from the 1920s that were the relatively unloved byproducts of mother-of-pearl button production in a local river. It cost all of $25 because tiny odd lumpy pearls from nowhere-rivers are not so sought-after, but I adore it -- at first glance it looks like a regular pearl bracelet (with very tiny pearls), but if you look more closely you realize they're funny little sputnik-looking pearls that are totally unique and unusual, and then they have this great story as well. (And then they cost $25 which is THE BEST.)

I wear necklaces the most often, though necklaces that are too heavy can make me feel choked. My bracelets are the most likely to be "statement"-ish. I am trying to branch out in earrings (I get stuck on studs) but nothing too heavy or it pulls. I also wear pins/brooches and hair jewelry (most often barrettes but also french twist combs, pins, etc.). When I wear jewelry I am most often dressed in a fairly conservative business or business-casual way, or in mom-clothes to chase active boys.

None of these criteria are mandatory if you have something you think otherwise suits my taste!

A few examples of things I've liked lately:
Kris Nations tiny heart necklace -- it's classic, but it's extra-tininess makes it a little different (I do NOT like Southwestern-style jewelry, which is the direction Kris Nations has gone in recent collections)
Vanessa Gade Inner Circle -- very simple, but a strong sensibility and very unique (I often find myself liking things that are a bit Frank Lloyd Wright-y, but her actual Frank Lloyd Wright collection is a little too literal for me)
Forget-Me-Not Acrylic Bracelet -- This would be an accent piece for me. It's a classic shape and not too busy, and highlights something I love (flowers, gardening) in an interesting way.
Michael Negrin bracelet (reminiscent of this one) -- I have one that I've had for 15 years and absolutely adore. It's MUCH busier than things I usually like, but the Victorian-ish style sometimes appeals. I also often like the costume jewelry from 1928, in the same "busier" vein.

As I said, I like window-shopping for jewelry and am happy to admire things I could never afford. I often will follow a jewelry-maker I like for years before seeing the exactly perfect thing that I want to actually buy. When I do buy something (not that often!), I often find my sweet spot is in around the $40 to $200 range, but more expensive is cool either to admire and inspire, or to suggest to my husband for milestone birthdays. :)

You guys are awesome at helping people find clothes and accessories to suit their taste so I know you can hope me!
posted by Eyebrows McGee to Shopping (26 answers total) 57 users marked this as a favorite
I wear my turn-of-the-century lavalier necklace almost every day-- hit up etsy for "art nouveau lavalier" and you can find a bunch that are similar to the one I have. They're usually delicate, scrolly pendants with a tiny stone and a freshwater pearl drop, and can be had for under $200.
posted by nonasuch at 8:59 PM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

You may like TurtleLoveCo - I think it originally started as an engagement and wedding ring store, but their earrings and necklaces are really beautiful.
posted by ChuraChura at 9:01 PM on March 28, 2013

Lunch at the Ritz

(Don't be put off by the somewhat seasonal advertising on the front page.)
posted by fuse theorem at 9:14 PM on March 28, 2013

I'm obsessed with Dogeared jewelry and am addicted to scoring their necklaces on Ebay for much less than they normally charge.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 9:24 PM on March 28, 2013

I like a lot of the things at Catbird; lots of small designers and high quality materials.
posted by littlemisslaika at 9:28 PM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

Googling "lavalier necklaces" (being curious about nonasuch's comment), I came across this site, which looks like a really cool source of antique and unusual jewelry. You can filter by period or style. I don't know what their prices are like, since you have to register to view them, but if you find things on there you like, it's probably worth signing up.
posted by lollusc at 9:59 PM on March 28, 2013 [2 favorites]

Bees and dragonflies in gold sound so much like the work of Alex Monroe that I'd be surprised if you don't already know of him, but just in case, here you are.
posted by calico at 3:49 AM on March 29, 2013

Her style may be a bit more ornate than you're looking for, but my favorite independent jewelry artisan is Kythryne Aisling at Wyrding Studios. She uses semi-precious stones, diachronic/artisan glass, brass findings, and the like. Mostly wirework, which is plated metal but I've had some pieces for years that still look like new. (Actually, I commissioned some custom work from her using argentium silver wire, and it tarnishes more easily than the regular silver-plated pieces which may be sealed with shellac or something.)

Note: Stock is low right now because she's just coming off a several-month hiatus for brain surgery. She has talked about doing an "Instant Gratification" session soon for simple custom work, which is pay-what-you-want, and you could request something with fewer ornate swirls if that isn't your thing.
posted by serelliya at 5:38 AM on March 29, 2013

Based on the 1928 jewelry you like, you might want to search for Victorian mourning jewelry on eBay--similar style to it and within your price range, but with the advantage of having a story to it and being more likely to be "real".
posted by carrienation at 5:57 AM on March 29, 2013

Seconding Catbird. Also, it would be worth browsing Erica Weiner's site and maybe The Clay Pot. I find a lot of interesting jewelry via Pinterest; this board is one of my favorites.
posted by katie at 7:06 AM on March 29, 2013

I adore Sikara's style and materials. Definitely take a look

I also just discovered Rebekah Brooks jewelry - am very tempted by some of their pieces. It's a small company based in MA

And also love Amy Wings designs
posted by darsh at 8:04 AM on March 29, 2013

I don't use Pinterest, but I really liked a lot of the stuff on this board.

You might also like Natalia Araya's work or Gold Teeth Brooklyn's cast object necklaces. Maybe Karramba? There's also Huiyi Tan.

You may or may not like Daimblond, based on your resin bracelet.
posted by topoisomerase at 8:15 AM on March 29, 2013

I love Ananda Khalsa's stuff. I have this ring and get compliments all of the time. A truly unique piece!
posted by psususe at 8:21 AM on March 29, 2013

Try Rafia! I have several of her earrings and they are beautiful.
posted by radioamy at 9:42 AM on March 29, 2013

Oh wow this is awesome, I'm learning about new places too :)
My favorite store IRL and online is Fire and Ice

I can get overstimulated at shopping malls and I always regain some calm and groundedness by stopping by their shops :D
posted by Librarygeek at 10:39 AM on March 29, 2013

You may like some of the stuff at Holly Yashi, especially lightweight earrings.
posted by sageleaf at 10:53 AM on March 29, 2013

Response by poster: OMG want ALL the things! (There is one Holly Yashi bracelet in particular that I MUST OWN.) These are great, you guys! I am clicking through in bliss, please feel free to keep them coming!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:44 PM on March 29, 2013

It's not my taste exactly, but I like windowshopping Wendy Brandes' jewelry line. She also has a constantly-updated blog, which I find weirdly compelling.
posted by Charity Garfein at 6:16 PM on March 29, 2013

Nervous System!
posted by mon-ma-tron at 9:46 PM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

Stephanie Hamilton Designs - hand-knit, lightweight, unique.
posted by jeri at 12:47 AM on March 30, 2013

Forgot to add Wendy Mink
posted by ersatzkat at 6:31 AM on March 30, 2013

I am a huge fan of a bunch of the Etsy Metal team members--there's a range of styles, and they're all really skilled artisans who blow me away with their craft.
posted by rivenwanderer at 12:30 PM on March 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

You might also like Erica Weiner. She sells things like reproduction elephant hair rings and earrings made from moveable type.
posted by topoisomerase at 7:19 AM on April 2, 2013

Oh wait just found another natural motifs jeweller: Victoria Walker
posted by calico at 2:18 PM on April 3, 2013

I'm fond of Gorjana and Eddera.
posted by swerve at 8:27 PM on September 6, 2013

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