You’ll Want To Layer These 12 Best Pieces of Chunky Gold Jewelry Daily in 2022

You’re going to need a larger jewelry box to make room for these pieces from ByChari, Jenny Bird, Mejuri, and more.

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Best Pieces of Chunky Gold Jewelry

Amazon

When it comes to gold jewelry, the chunkier, the better. Sure, you can layer a ton of dainter designs, but there’s something about a bold necklace or pair of earrings that instantly completes an outfit. Perhaps after months of lockdown and quarantining, we can’t hold back from dripping in gold. “We’re seeing a resurgence of bold statement and sculptural pieces, including chains, hoops of all sizes, and bold cuff bracelets — perfect for return-to-office looks,” says Heather Kersten, Senior Vice President of Merchandising at the jewelry subscription service Rocksbox.

But all that glitters is not gold. With all the jewelry brands out there today, it can be difficult to tell what pieces truly are high quality and what is pure fashion. So I interviewed several jewelry experts to explain the differences between the common types of gold and which ones won’t turn you green, give you a rash, or tarnish. I then spoke to fashion bloggers and fellow editors to find their favorite pieces that are comfortable, high quality, and versatile. There’s no need to have low-quality jewelry cluttering your collection.

From hoops to chains, these are the best pieces of chunky gold jewelry.

Best Overall: ByChari Sade Baby Hoops

Sade Baby Hoops

ByChari

What We Like: Lightweight and timeless, these hoops are an everyday staple.

What We Don’t Like: Nothing!

Remember Michelle Obama’s viral “Vote” necklace? Well, the same black-owned business behind the iconic piece makes quality pieces you can wear daily. “My ByChari Sade Hoops are a classic hoop staple of mine,” says New York City-based blogger Rolanda Evelyn. “I love how thick they are, giving more of an elevated look.” As a fashion blogger and senior marketing manager at Rent the Runway, Evelyn has her share of extravagant, heavy earrings but she reports that these hoops are surprisingly lightweight and easy to wear. Not only does the closed back also mean they won’t get stuck on anything, like your face mask or hair, but you also will never have to worry about losing the backing. 

Made from silver and plated in 14K gold, they are built to last and will never go out of style, according to CEO and founder Chari Cuthbert. “A great pair of hoops will give you the most bang for your buck,” says Cuthbert. “Once you find your staple pair of hoops, you can wear them year-round to elevate any outfit."

Metal: 14K Gold Plated | Size: Small-Large | Colors: Gold and Silver

Price at time of publish: $75

Best Budget Hoops: Pavoi 14K Gold Chunky Open Hoops

Pavoi 14K Gold Chunky Open Hoops

Amazon

What We Like: These $14 hoops look and feel as good as those in the triple digits.

What We Don’t Like: Because they are gold plated, it’s best to avoid water or harsh chemicals.

For any last-minute styling needs, hop over to Amazon. Not only are these hoops less than $20 — seriously — but you can get them in a day or two with Prime shipping. InStyle writer Andrea Marie says these earrings look just as high quality as her pairs that cost upwards of $200. 

“The real game-changer for me was how lightweight they were,” says Marie. “They're as light as a feather and it feels like you're wearing nothing.” Made from 14K gold over a base metal, these hoops are hypoallergenic, nickel-and lead-free, and have sterling silver posts. The brand also offers a 90-day-money-back guarantee (though you likely won’t need it). 

“I've had these for about six months now, and there's not a sign of wear and tear in sight,” says Marie. “And no, I don't do anything special to take care of them — they simply go back into their box each night.” Ranging from small to large, these hoops can easily become your everyday and party staples.

Metal: 14K Gold Plated | Size: Small-Large | Colors: Silver, Yellow, and Rose Gold

Price at time of publish: $14

Best Large Hoops: Jenny Bird Slim Dune Hoops

Jenny Bird Slim Dune Hoops

Jenny Bird

What We Like: Despite the large size, these hoops are lightweight and won’t fall off.

What We Don’t Like: The gold coating isn’t as thick as on some other designs.

With a pair of hoops as large as these, you don’t even need to wear any other jewelry. That’s why plus-size fashion blogger Abby Bible always wears this style from Jenny Bird. “They're high quality, lightweight, and have little sculptural details that make these everyday hoops not so basic,” says Bible. In addition to the Maddie Perez-approved shape, the gold dipped brass design stands out thanks to cylinder backings that are thicker than on most other earrings, providing more security. “I lose every pair of earrings I get, but I've had these for two years, so that's saying a lot for me,” says Bible.

Metal: Gold Dipped Brass | Size: Large | Colors: Gold

Price at time of publish: $108

Best Small Hoops: Mejuri Croissant Dôme Hoops

Mejuri Croissant Dôme Hoops

Mejuri

What We Like: A unique “twist” on the basic hoop, these earrings elevate your outfits without tarnishing.

What We Don’t Like: Your hair or face mask can get stuck in the open back.

For those days that you want to add a little 'je ne sais quoi flair' to your outfit, Pia Velasco, senior beauty editor at InStyle, recommends these Croissant Dôme Hoops that have been spotted on Lorde and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. The small twists offer a nice variation when you don’t want to wear large hoops but still want a chunky earring. “Apart from being stunningly elegant, I love that they're relatively affordable and that the gold doesn't wash off,” says Velasco. “Seriously, I've showered with them on for over a year, and they look just as good as they did when I bought them.” 

The staying power comes from the thick layer of 18K gold over sterling silver. In fact, the brand even offers a two-year warranty. The only downside is that not everyone is a fan of the half dome shape, which can get stuck on hair and face masks, so consider that before you buy.

Metal: 18K Gold Vermeil | Size: Small | Colors: Gold and Silver

Price at time of publish: $78

Best Chain Earrings: Sterling Forever Textured Chain Link Earrings

Sterling Forever Textured Chain Link Earrings

Sterling Forever

What We Like: Coordinating with any chain necklace or bracelet, these earrings make a nice matching set.

What We Don’t Like: The backing can be hard to put on.

Just wearing hoops can get boring after a while, so when you want to switch things up, try this textured chain link design. I kindly received them as a gift from the brand and love that they are the perfect size for everyday wear. I usually wear my hair down and find that hoops can get lost in my long locks, so I appreciate how the chunky shape stands out prominently against my tresses. Still they aren’t so long that they feel heavy and get in the way. Metals often irritate my ears, but the nickel- and lead-free gold-plating causes no issues. I have noticed that the metal backings are really tight and can be hard to put on the post, but I have tons of extra plastic backings that I use instead. All I need is to pile on a chain necklace or bracelet, and I already have a matching set.

Metal: 14K Gold Plated | Size: Medium | Colors: Gold and Silver

Price at time of publish: $48

Best Everyday Bracelet: Karen Lazar Yellow Gold Filled Bracelets

Karen Lazar Yellow Gold Filled Bracelets

Karen Lazar

What We Like: The beaded design goes with everything and is casual enough to wear daily.

What We Don’t Like: The elastic cord felt tight when I first received them.

I saw these beaded bracelets all the time on my friends’ wrists and on social media — after being gifted a stack myself, I finally understand the hype. Before receiving them, I rarely wore gold bracelets since they felt too flashy. Now, I can put these on without thinking about it because they are subtle enough to go with everything and aren’t too bulky to bother me as I spend my days typing. Whether you have small or large wrists, you can just roll these on and the elastic cord will adjust to your ideal size.

Karen Lazar is originator of the gold beaded design, which lends itself perfectly to layering with other bracelets, especially those summer camp designs that have been all the rage recently. Or you can stock up on the eight different sizes from the brand and wear them together like InStyle commerce writer Caitlyn Martyn, who currently has six bracelets in her collection. “I bought my first two myself, but every time I have a milestone event like a birthday, new job, or a promotion, a family member or friend always gets me a new one to add to the stack,” says Martyn. She wears them practically every day, except for when she’s at the beach or pool as the 14K gold filled beads can eventually tarnish from water and sweat. 

Metal: 14K Gold Filled | Size: Small-Large | Colors: Silver, Yellow, and Rose Gold

Price at time of publish: $48

Best Chain Bracelet: Loel & Co Gold Etched Long Link Chain Bracelet

Loel & Co Gold Etched Long Link Chain Bracelet

Wolf & Badger

What We Like: The figueroa chain flatters everyone’s wrists.

What We Don’t Like: While gold vermeil is higher quality, the gold can still fade with time.

On occasions when you want something a bit bolder than your everyday bracelet, turn to this chain designed by a three-person brand in the United Kingdom. The combination of long, hand-etched links and smaller polished hoops create a figueroa pattern, which is fashion writer Dynasty’s favorite type of chain, especially for those who want something less industrial than a regular chain. “It’s not too dense but it still has some weight to it,” says Dynasty. “It looks good on everyone.” Thanks to the lobster clasp, you can slightly adjust the size by clipping to a shorter link, in case you have slender wrists. Bracelets take some of the most beating as you use your hands during the day, so the higher quality metal — 18k gold vermeil — mean it will last longer, though you still shouldn’t douse it in water or sweat. 

Metal: 18K Gold Vermeil | Size: 50 cm | Colors: Gold

Price at time of publish: $93

Mejuri Dôme Ring: Mejuri Dôme Ring

Mejuri Dome Ring

Mejuri

What We Like: Despite the chunky shape, this ring is lightweight and fuss-free. 

What We Don’t Like: It scratches easily with daily wear.

Whether you are just starting your ring collection or filling it out, Easter Ahn-Lee, the designer of the eponymous fine jewelry brand, recommends owning a couple chunky pieces to mix and match with delicate designs. With its simple yet bold shape, this dome ring is the ideal statement piece for your fingers. Erika Reals, associate fashion commerce editor at Byrdie, likes to pair it with other rings for a go-to look. “It's surprisingly really light,” says Reals. “It fits really well on my index finger and once I put it on I don't really notice it throughout the day.” After wearing it over a year, Reals notices some light scratches on the 18K gold vermeil, but a quick clean or polish brightens it up

Metal: 18K Gold Vermeil | Size: 3-10 | Colors: Gold and Silver

Price at time of publish: $68

Best Choker: OMA The Label The Nova Choker

OMA The Label The Nova Choker

Macy's

What We Like: The eccentric interlocking links are sure to turn heads.

What We Don’t Like: Because it’s gold plated, you can’t get it wet.

I have to admit that I haven’t worn a chain necklace since high school — there’s a fine line between looking chic and costumey with chains. But with this design’s unique links — choose between square or cylinder — this necklace is fierce yet feminine. “The choker is such a knockout piece that elevates any outfit,” says Evelyn, who first started investing in the brand to support a black-owned business. She often pairs it with coordinating earrings or mixes and matches with other styles like the Mejuri Croissant Dôme Hoops as shown on her Instagram. Because it’s not heavy physically or visually, this choker easily layers with other longer chains or necklaces. Evelyn is also a fan of wearing it alone, though. Take a look at celebrities like Katie Holmes and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, and you’ll understand the power of a chunky gold choker to make any outfit more seductive.

Metal: 18k Gold-Plated Brass | Size: Choker | Colors: Gold, Silver

Price at time of publish: $172

Best Chain: Ready Made Large Link Chain

Ready Made Large Link Chain

Ready Made

What We Like: This affordable gold alternative gives you the luxe look without tarnishing.

What We Don’t Like: The tone may not be a true gold.

When you don’t want to spend a ton on a chain but still want one that lasts, fashion blogger Cassandra Stone recommends Ready Made. Rather than using real gold, the brand uses sustainable, medical-grade materials, like surgical stainless steel and titanium nitrite, to make a variety of gold-tone chains that are waterproof, hypoallergenic, and chemical resistant. Stone owns multiple of these chains in different sizes in order to comfortably layer them. “The oldest one I bought almost three years ago, and the quality has definitely held up.” Out of all the choices — there are four different sizes from a choker to a long chain — she recommends starting with the Large Link Chain.  The spacious style pairs well with other necklaces without adding costume-like bulk.. 

Metal: Surgical Stainless Steel and Titanium Nitrite | Size: Small to Large | Colors: Gold

Price at time of publish: $18

Best Pendant Necklace: Mon Ete The Bernie Necklace

Mon Ete The Bernie Necklace

Mon Ete

What We Like: This clever, magnetic design combines pearls and a gold chain.

What We Don’t Like: It only comes in one size.

You’ve probably noticed that pearl jewelry has come back in full force. With a baroque pearl pendant on a 14K gold-filled paperclip chain, this necklace lets you check off two trends without looking like you raided your grandmother’s jewelry box (though Grandmacore is in as well). I’ve tried the Brooklyn-based brand personally, and I’m sold on its magnetic clasps. I often wear press-on nails, which makes clasping a necklace impossible, but this invention is so easy. Instead of wrestling to open the tiniest of claps with 5 inch fake nails, I can just stick the two magnets together to close the loop. The magnet is strong enough not to open during the day and is also lightweight, so that the clasp doesn’t twist to the front like in some other necklaces I own. Even if you’re not a press-on fiend like myself, not having to wrestle with a clasp every morning makes getting dressed that much easier. 

Metal: Genuine Freshwater Baroque Pearl Pendant, 14k Gold Filled | Size: Medium | Colors: Gold

Price at time of publish: $80

Best Rope Chain Necklace: Uncommon James On Board Necklace

Uncommon James On Board Necklace

Uncommon James

What We Like: This celebrity dupe instantly elevates your outfit for a reasonable price.

What We Don’t Like: It’s slightly heavier than other necklaces.

If you want a perfect dupe for the rope chain Jessica Alba has been wearing all over her Instagram, look no further than Uncommon James. The On Board necklace caught my eye even before I saw Abla’s posts, and after receiving a sample, I can confirm it’s just as stunning in person. The twisted shape is classically nautical and bold enough to be a standalone piece. Made from 14K gold plated brass, the chain is super shiny and has a nice weight to it. As Alba demonstrates, it goes with everything from a white tee to a neon blazer. Let’s just hope Alba also paid $68 for her necklace.

Metal: 14k Gold Plated Brass | Size: Short | Colors: Gold and Silver

Price at time of publish: $48 (originally $68)

What to Keep in Mind

Metal

All gold is gold right? Well, not exactly. When shopping for gold jewelry, you’ll come across a few different terms that may seem the same, but they are not interchangeable. 

Gold plated is the least valuable and most affordable form of gold. However, the gold coating in all these forms can eventually wear off with time, revealing the metal underneath. If you’ve ever developed a rash from a piece of jewelry months after owning it (hello me!), it’s likely that the gold coating wore off and you are allergic to whatever metal is underneath. For those sensitive to other metals, Sandy Ip, founder and designer of jewelry brand Sevun, recommends wearing jewelry that is at least 18K or platinum.Here’s a breakdown of the common terms, from most valuable to least,  according to Ip. 

Solid gold: This is the most valuable and expensive form of gold. 24K means it is 100 percent gold. As the number decreases, so does the gold content. For instance, 18K gold is 75 percent gold and 25 percent other metals. 14K gold is 58.3 percent gold, 41.7 percent other metals.

Gold filled: Two to three layers of solid gold (the karats can vary) covers another base metal, like brass, iron, nickel.

Gold vermeil: A thin layer of gold covers sterling silver. Because this combines two precious metals, gold vermeil is considered more valuable than gold plated.

Gold plated: A thin layer of gold covers the surface of a base metal. The layer of gold can be 18K or 14K, but some merchants may use even lower Karat gold for plating to cut costs. Because the coating is thinner than gold filled, gold plated is considered less valuable and typically comes at a cheaper price.

Cost per Wear 

When investing in jewelry, Olivia Landau, fourth generation GIA certified gemologist & founder of The Clear Cut, recommends calculating the cost per wear. For staple pieces that you want to have for the rest of your life, our experts think it might be worthwhile to splurge on the highest quality metals and jewels because the piece can last you for the rest of your life and potentially be passed down. In other words, it’s a valuable investment.

Alternatively, if you want some statement earrings or necklace you’ll only wear once or twice, go ahead with pursuing the fashion jewelry section.

Size/Weight

The size and weight affects how often I’ll wear a piece of jewelry. Even if I love a pair of earrings,, I’ll save them just for special occasions when they feel too heavy. The same goes with bulky bracelets, rings, and necklaces. For pieces I can wear every day, I look for styles that are chunky but lightweight enough to move around easily. When I want a necklace or bracelet that steals the entire show, then I’ll go for a big, bold piece.

Your Questions, Answered

How do I style chunky gold jewelry?

From mixing different metals to pairing high and low pieces, there really are no rules when styling chunky gold jewelry.

“I love to wear chunky gold jewelry with basic outfits, like with sweatpants or some cute overalls and a tank,” says Laura Mirabent, CEO and founder of jewelry website Gold Lovin Girl. “The balance of heavy gold and a comfy but cute outfit is unmatched.”

Bible uses jewelry to express herself and coordinates her pieces according to her clothes. “If a dress has a beautiful neckline, I prefer to skip a necklace and style it with intricate earrings,” says Bible. “If the neckline is basic, I love to use funkier necklaces with my everyday gold hoops. But my go-to everyday jewelry features my classic gold hoops and a funky beaded necklace spelling out my name — just in case people forget it.”

Can I sleep, shower, or exercise in gold jewelry?

When you find a piece of jewelry that you really love, you’ll forget to take it off. Whether or not you should wear a piece non-stop really depends on the metal. “Fine jewelry that is made of pure gold or platinum is totally fine to shower or sweat in,” says Landau. “If you’re wearing any gold plated jewelry, vermeil, or sterling silver your pieces will wear or tarnish over time.”

Even if your rings are made from fine metals, Landau cautions about wearing them while showering or sleeping. “When showering, soap builds up on metals and makes them appear dirtier faster,” says Landau. “You run the risk of dropping and damaging your ring in the shower, and your fingers swell while you sleep — it can be both uncomfortable and dangerous.”

I know from first hand experience that it’s also risky to wear rings while exercising — let’s just say I’ve dented a few rings while lifting weights. You can use this bandit from Clear Cut to keep your rings protected and by your side at the gym.

How do I clean gold jewelry?

To clean fine jewelry, Landau recommends soaking your pieces in a solution of warm water and a pea-sized drop of dish soap. After 15 minutes, use a toothbrush to gently brush off any remaining dirt, then rinse and pat dry your piece with a paper towel or a jewelry cloth

Why Trust InStyle

Emily Cieslak is the assistant commerce editor at InStyle, and has written about jewelry for various publications. For this article she interviewed several jewelry experts, including Laura Mirabent, CEO and founder of jewelry website Gold Lovin Girl, Olivia Landau, fourth generation GIA certified gemologist & founder of The Clear Cut, Sandy Ip, founder and designer of jewelry brand Sevun, Easter Ahn-Lee, the designer of the eponymous fine jewelry brand, and Heather Kersten, Senior Vice President of Merchandising at the jewelry subscription service Rocksbox. She also spoke to fashion influencers Rolanda Evelyn, Abby Bible, and Cassandra Stone to get their favorite pieces. InStyle editors weighed in as well on their jewelry picks.

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