Sunday, July 15, 2018

Looking Like a Boss on a Budget: Jewelry

by Kate Wolfe Maxlow

Anyone who knows me knows that I love shiny things. Jewelry is no exception. I also love being able to afford food and shelter, however, so while I have some beautiful heirloom fine jewelry, the majority of what I wear is what I like to think of as "classy costume jewelry."

What is "costume jewelry?" It's not necessarily just what you wear when you play Lady MacBeth; it's basically anything that isn't fine jewelry (i.e., that stuff with precious and semi-precious gems). It can be a "statement piece," though to be honest, the older that I get, the more I prefer more subtle jewelry.

Though my fine pieces of jewelry never go out of style (diamonds are forever), there are definitely trends when it comes to costume jewelry, which means that I don't want to break the bank on it. BUT, I want it to have a certain amount of class. Therefore, I tend to look for great deals on my jewelry in some unexpected places.

1. Antique stores
I know. This seems crazy, right? It's true that antique stores do often have expensive precious and semi-precious gem jewelry, but they're also just as likely to have costume jewelry. Antique store owners often go to estate sales and buy the jewelry in lots, which means that they'll end up with a ton of vintage costume jewelry just to get that one precious or semi-precious piece. They'll then sell the costume jewelry (which is often really interesting, classy, and well-made) for pennies on the dollar compared to what you would pay anywhere else.

Check out some of these cool finds I got from antique stores:

I got this pearl necklace (and two others) for literally $1.50 each.

This black prism necklace came from an antique store in Boston. While I paid $20 for it, I'm sure I could have paid a lot more for something this nice anywhere else.

2. Thrift stores
I'm sure that it comes as no surprise that I love to get jewelry at thrift stores. Thrift stores can afford to sell jewelry at a deep discount because people usually donate their things for free. Oftentimes, people will clean out closets and just dump all the costume jewelry in a big. You can find some great things, again for pennies on the dollar.

Mind you, you might need to spend some time discerning which thrift stores have the best jewelry selection, of course. Some will be better than others when it comes to this. I always suggest finding a thrift store near a well-to-do, older neighborhood.

I have too many thrift store necklaces to show them all, but this is one of my current favorites. I love blush colored pearls, so it was well worth the $1.96.

3. Jewelry Swaps
Getting tired of the same old jewelry but don't want to spend any money? Arrange a get-together with other like-minded ladies and everyone bring at least one piece of jewelry that no longer floats your boat but is still stylish. Get some wine or sparkling grape juice and do a jewelry swap. Bonus points if you add scarves, belts, or purses. It's a great way to get your new and sparkly fix while on a budget.

This gorgeous necklace came from a clothing/jewelry swap with friends. Pricetag? $0.

Yes, it's possible that you, too, can have a wide selection of great jewelry for less than the cost of one trip to Jared or Kay's Jewelers. What are you waiting for? Start checking out those antique and thrift stores, or call up some friends and let the swapping start!

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