One of the best effects of the current costume jewelry craze is its impact—or lack thereof—on the wallet. Designers are eschewing precious metals and gemstones for non-traditional materials like textiles and wood, driving prices down in the process. In fact, some of our favorite jewelry labels at the moment are some of the most affordable we’ve found in a long time, proving that you don’t need to spend a lot to make a statement.
Since graduating from London’s Royal College of Art in 2003, Maria Lau has gained a following for her intricate pieces made from materials normally found in clothing. Her most recent collection, “A Skin Less Ordinary,” takes root in the aesthetics of Masai jewelry but has an effect that’s far more ethereal than you’d expect. Nude stockings are braided, twisted and knotted with strands of semi-precious stones to create regal neckpieces and headbands, while magnetic hematine minerals are used to create long, layered chain necklaces. Select pieces from the collection are available at kabiri.co.uk, starting at $75.
Sabrina Dehoff is best known for her knotted cord pieces, which are reminiscent of the drawstrings on a hooded nylon parka. This season, she’s taken her collection’s urban wilderness theme even further, adding natural materials like spruce, perch, oak and plum woods. The rough, outdoorsy feel of the collection is balanced out with 23k gold plating and Swarovski crystal accents, which glam up a series of pyramid stud earrings, floral-shaped brooches and tiny pendants in the shapes of woodland creatures. The collection can be found at Opening Ceremony, where most prices are less than $250.
A former creative director for Donna Karan and consultant for everyone from Matthew Williamson to Bulgari and W magazine, it’s no wonder that Johanne Mills’ eponymous jewelry line is as eclectic as her résumé. Her collections combine graphic shapes, unusual raw materials and an arts and crafts sensibility, with most pieces hovering around the $300 mark. A pair of sleek drop earrings is made from onyx discs and brass tubes, while a cheerful bib necklace is crafted from looped silk cord, dotted with triangular studs in calcite, adventurine and metal. Yoox.com and Kabiri.co.uk carry a diverse range of Mills’ creations.