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8 Ways to make cheap jewelry look expensive

So, Santa didn’t leave you a tiny blue Tiffany box in your stocking this year. And your neck feels positively naked and cold and, oh, life is so unfair. Before you reach for that clunky beaded, bedazzled, throw-everything-but-the-kitchen-sink-on-it “statement” necklace, get ready to pick up a few tricks that will make your cheapest (let’s call it most frugal) jewelry pieces look like they cost you a million bucks.

1. Ditch the statement necklace and replace it with a layered look

Here’s the “statement” most statement necklaces are actually making: Look at me! I’m trying to impress you with my blindingly blue plastic lapis lazuli! Look at me! I look real, don’t I? Don’t I?! The truth is most of these gargantuan bib necklaces that were all the rage 10 years ago make us look like we’re trying really hard, and no one is buying the myth that they cost anything more than a few dollars. A more interesting option is to purchase three or four small, but unique, amulets or stones and hang them on chains that vary in length. Everyone will want to get in closer for a better look.

2. Go for the gold

At some point the ’90s silver jewelry became all the rage, possibly because the Winona Ryder in us was rebelling against all of that ’80s Dynasty gaud. It’s time to change our opinion of fake gold which, when used sparingly, can elevate an otherwise simple look. A rose-gold watch and matching gold stud earrings paired with a crisp white blouse, tailored pants and heels? Perfection.

3. Less is more

You wouldn’t catch Kate Middleton rocking chandelier earrings, a rope necklace, an armful of bracelets and rings on every finger for this simple reason: There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Choose one feature you want to highlight — like a beautiful, bare neck — and let your prettiest chandelier earrings direct traffic.

4. Charms aren’t always charming

charm necklace

Image via Betsy Weber/Flickr

Maybe you have three children, a dog, a cat, adore tennis and want to wear a charm bracelet that represents every person and hobby you’ve ever loved in your entire life. Totally fine, but no one is going to mistake this busy accessory for expensive — and, believe us, we know some charm bracelets cost an arm and a leg. For a more sophisticated look, put your cute owl pendant in a drawer and consider a necklace that features faux pearls — one for every member of your family.

5. Consider your clothing

Your accessories are there to enhance your overall look. If you’re wearing a ruffled blouse or a busy print, a simple chain necklace or strand of pearls will do the trick.

6. Avoid bad imitations like the plague


Image via

There’s only one Chanel. If you can’t afford to splurge on earrings that feature those famous double C’s, you’re certainly not alone and it’s not the end of the world. But instead of lusting after them and settling for imitation designer knock-offs, grab yourself a truly original pair of earrings and start your own trend.

7. Mix materials

There are few things more chic than a wrist that confidently displays two or three bracelets in interesting materials like metal, faux leather and wood.

8. Consider a brooch

Ladies who lunch know how to add polish to a simple sports jacket and jeans — they jazz it up with a jeweled brooch, the more ornate and interesting, the better. Once thought of as that accessory your grandmother wore, an inexpensive brooch adds just the right amount of oomph without going overboard and is more versatile than you think. Of course you can secure one to the lapel of your jacket, but you can also attach it to your necklace, bracelet or even your headband.

More on accessories

Accessorizing tips to balance your jewelry
Accessorizing tips for fashion newbies
Accessories that instantly make you look smarter

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