With its high prices, technical jargon, and hazy production practices, the world of fine jewelry is intimidating to enter and, for a generation concerned with value, style, sustainability, and ethics, it’s often avoided entirely.
We would never have considered buying lovely jewelry online not long ago. However, with direct-to-consumer jewelry companies taking center stage, you can pay a more palatable price closer to the actual cost of making that beautiful gold necklace. Furthermore, high standards for sourcing and production alleviate any concerns that your purchase will harm other people’s livelihoods or the environment.
Jewelry is the finishing touch that can elevate any outfit to the next level. However, the cost of a single necklace can often exceed the cost of your entire wardrobe. Finding the best affordable jewelry brands can be difficult for jewelry enthusiasts who like to change their looks. Finding pieces that look expensive (but cost less than $40) is all about knowing where to look for the best places that balance quality and price.
From Baublebar and Gorjana classics to hidden Etsy gems, all sources below offer pieces that are no need to get a second mortgage.
Finding Quality Cheap Jewelry
Know What You’re Looking For
Because you have limited funds, you must make your purchase count. Do some research and window shopping for looks you like or want to replicate. Please make a list of the pieces you want to add to your jewelry box and stick to it. When shopping for a specific occasion, keep the occasion in mind, such as the perfect necklace to wear to a wedding. Make an inspirational board or mark the images that inspire you when you see a look you like on Pinterest or a magazine.
Look for Seasonal Sales
Sometimes, jewelry sets, such as matching necklaces and earrings, are sold. These sets allow you to get a great deal on multiple pieces with the look you want for a lower price than buying each piece separately. This is ideal if you have a favorite style of stone.
Shop Seasonal Sales
Seasonal sales are the best time to find cheap jewelry. Many retailers have holiday sales near Thanksgiving, Christmas, Presidents Day, and Independence Day. These sales typically offer significant discounts, bringing usually expensive jewelry into a more affordable price range. Keep an eye on your favorite stores and sign up for emails to be the first to receive coupons and learn about online sales.
Best Gold Jewelry: Baublebar Daliah Small Hoops
The Baublebar has everything you need to fill your jewelry box with affordable finds. All of the jewelry is made of gold-plated brass, so you can be sure it will last you for years.
Try: Dahlia’s Small Hoops ($38; baublebar.com)
Best Beaded Jewelry: Madewell
When you want to wear the season’s trendy style but don’t want to spend too much money on a fad that might be gone in a couple of years, turn to Madewell’s incredibly affordable jewelry selection. This shop has all of the season’s must-haves, from dainty rings to statement tassel earrings.
Try: Beaded Stretch Bracelet ($5; madewell.com)
Best Stone Jewelry: Kendra Scott
Kendra Scott not only has our favorite necklace of all time (it’s the perfect birthday present), but it also has stunning bracelets, rings, and earrings with various stone accents. Whether you prefer topaz, howlite, magnesite, or abalone, you’re bound to find the stone that speaks to you.
Best Budget Jewelry: Cost Plus World Market
Cost Plus World Market’s jewelry selection is its best-kept secret, even though it is better known for its home decor. Dangle earrings, statement pendants, and a plethora of hoops are available at yard sale prices.
Layering Jewelry: Gorjana
Gorjana is a trustworthy source for stacking rings, bracelets, and layered necklaces. The brand’s selection of power gemstones makes it a popular destination for birthday gifts.
Best Unique Jewelry: & Other Stories
This fashion label, which began in Europe and is becoming increasingly popular in the United States, is known for its cool-girl-approved finds. They have a lot of impact on their own, but they also look exceptionally layered with your favorite accessories.
Best Handmade Jewelry: Etsy
Etsy is by far the best place to shop if you’re looking for something unique or handmade that none of your coworkers will have. Because there are an infinite number of options, narrow your search by material, price, or style.
Best Delicate Jewelry: Mejuri
You can also order sweet personalized pieces, ensuring that your bling is genuinely one-of-a-kind. The prices vary, but there are some bargains to be found.
Try: Beaded Stackable Ring ($85; mejuri.com)
Best Trendy Jewelry: H&M
H&M is your best bet when you want to try out a trend but don’t want to invest in a piece you’ll keep forever. The stylish fast-fashion brand has its finger on the accessories pulse: the ultra-affordable prices allow you to try on beaded hoops or shell earrings you saw on the runways, even if you’re not sold on the trend.
Try: Short Necklace ($10; hm.com)
Best Statement Jewelry: J.Crew
J.Crew has what you need to complete your work-ready ensemble at a reasonable price. This should be your first stop if you’re looking for a statement piece (hello, dangling rhinestone earrings). Also, keep an eye out for bargains that are often less expensive than a glass of wine.