I have to start this by being honest, jewelry has never really been my thing. Now, before you bail and immediately stop reading, it's not because I don't like to wear it or don't have a strong opinion about it — I most certainly do. It's instead because I have a very unfortunate tendency to lose it. I've mentioned my various executive functioning failures before, but one of the most prominent is how difficult it is for me to keep track of things. In the past, with my mind occupied on keeping track of my keys, clothes, wallet, lipstick, phone charger, and various important life documents, it shouldn't come as any sort of shock that the small metal accoutrements we call jewelry are often the first casualties of my executive functioning lapses.
Yet, because of this, I'd argue that I'm uniquely qualified to recommend jewelry. Whenever I do take a leap and purchase jewelry, it is always a very deliberate and emotional choice, and — key point here — I always buy pieces that are high quality but still affordable. This serves two purposes; I don't lose a small fortune if I lose a necklace (as I am wont to do), and additionally, I get jewelry that I love and that doesn't turn my skin green or purple, so I am more likely to keep track of it.
Because of all of this, I'm extremely picky and opinionated about my jewelry, and I don't like wearing just anything that everyone else might have (I want to be an original. I know, such an unoriginal position!). With this position in mind, here are my top 8 jewelry brands that are affordable but also adorable, and most of which you've (probably) never heard of.
This Portland-based jewelry designer makes beautiful and unique pieces that fall somewhere in-between the delicate minimalist jewelry trend of today and the geometric awareness of classic costume jewelry. They notably create hair accesories as well, with this modern vintage hair pin being one that I personally covet.The pieces occasionally have an almost inexplicable nautical feel (unsuprising, given the name), and prices hover around $100.
Littionary carries small and delicate pieces, as well as the option for personalized jewelry with secretive messages or engraved initials. I need to get my personal motto (“bitches get stuff done”) engraved on a necklace, stat.
LM White Jewelry
I met Lindsay, the creator of LM White at a bar she used to work at in Williamsburg (shout out Skinny Dennis!). She let me borrow one of her amazing hand-welded rings, and I wore it almost every day the entire summer. Her line is made up of beautiful metalwork and combinations of brass, stainless steel, and copper. Her prices are higher than most brands featured on this list, but with the steampunk meets Brooklyn meets flower goddess vibes of her pieces, they're totally worth it. Oh, and she also sells these pitch-perfect Bulleit Bourbon Planters, and metal flower crowns to help you unleash your inner Shakespearean forest queen.
Faris is one of the most well-known brands of the bunch, and for a good reason. The pieces are the epitome of the minimalist but precise geometry trend that is currently all the rage, and their prices are on the affordable side (depending on which metal you buy your jewelry in). Some of my favorites of their line veer even more towards the avant garde, like these amazing Lash earrings.
Last on my list is Kendra Philip, a line of beautiful on-trend pieces that offers trunk shows and styling tips on their website. Some of the pieces lean a little bit towards the whimsical, but I'm absolutely in love with these earrings and I need them right now.