The Girl’s Guide To Curating A Super Cool Jewelry Collection

Besides being a makeup addict, I also happen to be a jewelry addict. That whole Coco Chanel “take one accessory off before you leave the house” adage? Um, no thanks. Though I layer piece upon shiny piece (Iris is my homegirl, after all), even just one really great item can transform an outfit from blah to bomb. And you want to look all bomb, don’t you? This is why I’m going to teach you how to curate a super cool jewelry collection.

1. Realize that costume jewelry is just as good (if not totally better) than fine jewelry.

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend and all that, but fine jewelry can be crazy expensive and rather boring. Fear not if you don’t have many “nice” pieces. Everyone wears costume jewelry. Seriously, everyone. Even Jackie O. wore fake pearls.

2. Go shopping in your mom/grandma/aunt/[insert relative you really like here]’s jewelry drawer.

It doesn’t matter if your style doesn’t match that of your female relatives. Because chances are they will still have something you want and that they no longer wear. People don’t throw away jewelry, but they also hate when it doesn’t get worn. Pieces you get from them will be unique, sentimental and, most importantly, free. I’ve poached awesome yellow gold ’80s stuff from my mom, but my real coup was rifling through my great-grandma’s stash.

The rest of my family had dismissed her extensive costume jewelry collection as totally cheesy, but I knew I could find a diamond (or two or three) in the rough. (No, not actual diamonds! See above!) I indeed found several things, including a small watch that I could have easily overlooked. Not only is it pretty, it also has this engraved on the back: “Frank to Edith — 3-18-44,” as in my great-grandpa gave it to my great-grandma on their 10th wedding anniversary in 1944. I wear it every day.

3. Discover your new favorite accessories designers, and know where to find them.

There’s a whole crop of talented designers making beautiful and affordable jewelry — you just need to discover them. Lately I’ve really been digging Lizzie Fortunato, Pamela Love and Giles & Brother (and also Eddie Borgo, Tom Binns and Joomi Lim). Clothing designers you like also tend to make sick jewelry, so take a look at the goods over at Marni, Proenza Schouler and YSL. And on a less designer-y note, Kenneth Jay Lane and Amrita Singh have fabulous costume jewelry collections.

Aren’t sure where to get it all? Opening Ceremony, Shopbop and Net-a-Porter stock many of my favorites, and Gilt has solid jewelry sales. Also, I’ve found some of my best pieces abroad. So, if you find yourself in another country, take some time to scout out local stores (like El Delgado Buil in Barcelona) and museum gift shops (try the MALBA in Buenos Aires).

4. Fill in your collection with fun, cheap pieces that cost less than a manicure.

A good jewelry collection (and a good wardrobe, for that matter) needs some cheap filler. I have the best pair of $2 earrings from Forever 21, as well as a bunch of fun pieces from H&M and Aldo.

I also have an afinity for plastic rings, so I went through a phase in college where I would buy a box of cupcakes from the grocery store just to get the rings they were decorated with. They would break after a month or so, but one of my plastic dinosaur rings looked so cool that a girl asked me where I got my “amazing glass ring.” Party supply stores also have fantastic, silly jewelry.

Now go forth and adorn thyself!

[Photo via Vogue]

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