Jewelry can be expensive, and sometimes when you buy cheap jewelry, it looks... well... cheap! If you don't want to look like you shopped at a costume store or empty your wallet for a new set of earrings, you do have options. You just need to know where to look and what to look for. Here are seven tips for finding discounted jewelry that looks like it cost a lot more.
Stay away from anything "cutesy."
To avoid looking cheap, stay away from jewelry that features butterflies, little flowers, and anything else cutesy. These shapes tend to look childish rather than sophisticated. Opt instead for jewelry that just features beads, gems, and metallic embellishments that do not form any sort of character or distinctly recognizable shape.
Look for thinner chains.
If you look at very expensive jewelry, you will notice that most of the chains are very thin. If you find discounted jewelry with similarly thin chains, people will assume it is more expensive because of the width of the chains. Thin chains simply look more elegant. Stay away from any jewelry with strings rather than chains, as these tend to look a bit gaudy and cheap.
Opt for gold or silver-plated.
You can find gold and silver-plated jewelry for a lot less than solid silver or gold jewelry. Plated jewelry is a much better choice than that made from nickle or other lower-quality metals. In the case of earrings, the plating will prevent your ears from reacting negatively to the cheaper metals. Plus, as the jewelry ages, it won't take on that greenish patina you sometimes get with cheaper metals.
Stick with gems and stones, not beads.
Most people cannot tell the difference between an imitation ruby or sapphire and a real one. Likewise, imitation stones are pretty convincing. These discounted imitations are almost always a better choice than beads. Beads are always very inexpensive, and as such, they tend to look cheap. A couple of tiny beads as accents here and there on a complex necklace might be okay in some cases, but use your best judgement here.
Don't involve too many colors.
There's nothing wrong with colorful jewelry, especially when it comes to statement necklaces and glam bracelets. But when choosing colorful jewelry, you really want to stick to pieces that incorporate two or three colors. A necklace with four or more colors tends to look overly busy and a bit like costume jewelry. If you want a necklace that will coordinate with most anything, always opt for a less-colorful neutral piece rather than a piece with more colors in it.
Choose a duller metal finish over a brighter one.
Metal that has too bright and shiny a finish looks a little gaudy. You don't have to choose a completely dull, lackluster metal, but always err on the side of duller rather than the side of shinier. Take a look at a few real gold and silver pieces to see what their finish looks like, and then look for cheaper pieces that imitate these.
Distressed does not look luxurious.
There's a common trend among jewelry makers that involves distressing metal to give it an antique look. Unfortunately, the results are often less than convincing. It's not that this type of jewelry looks bad, but it does not look expensive. If your goal is to look like you're wearing a luxury piece, stay away from the distressed trend.
If you follow the tips above, you'll have no trouble finding affordable pieces of jewelry that look like they came from the high-end jewelry counter. And with more affordable prices, you can afford to build a larger collection of jewelry for every occasion.