A 29-year-old turned her quarantine hobby into a jewelry business beloved by models and a ‘Bachelor’ star. Here’s how she spends her day.

Charlotte Alden
Charlotte Alden

  • Charlotte Alden is the founder of jewelry company lottie, which she started after losing her job last year.
  • Models and celebrities are already sporting her handmade designs.
  • To Insider, Alden gives a behind-the-scenes look at running a jewelry brand as the category heats up.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Charlotte Alden was working as an art specialist at an auction house when COVID-19 reached the US and shuttered roughly 200,000 businesses. She lost her job and struggled to find another, so she bought a bead kit on Amazon and launched her own jewelry company in October.

“It’s never been more feasible to start an e-commerce company,” said Alden, founder of fine jewelry startup lottie, which already counts model Nina Agdal and “The Bachelor’s” Hannah Goodwin as fans. Alden crafts all the jewelry, including $150 body chains and $70 bracelets.

Alden is one of 4 million people who started businesses in 2020, a 24% increase from the year prior. What’s more, she entered a thriving market: The global jewelry market is growing and expected to reach a value of $292 billion by 2025. Despite just getting started, lottie is on track to book nearly six figures in revenue within the next year and Alden said average monthly revenue has risen 50% year-to-date, according to documents viewed by Insider.

Alden said practicing discipline was vital when turning her hobby into a thriving business. This includes running every morning and going to bed at the same time every night. For Insider, Alden breaks down how she structures her day so she can execute on her ideas and find balance in her life.

She wakes up at 7:30 p.m.

Lottie jewelry
Lottie

After waking up, Alden immediately checks her phone. She responds to unanswered text messages, skims through her email, and checks lottie’s Instagram, which already has 16,000 followers.

“It’s a bad habit, I know,” said Alden, who shuffles between her parents’ house on Martha’s Vineyard, where she keeps her inventory, and her boyfriend’s apartment in Manhattan to save money.

Phone still in hand, she makes herself a double espresso and checks Shopify to see if the company made any new sales since the day before. That wouldn’t be unrealistic for lottie: In the past 90 days, lottie’s web traffic increased by 129%.

Alden is lottie’s sole employee but she’s still able to plan a new collection and collaborations, including ones with significant properties like Palm Beach Historic Inn and Hudson Chatham Winery. 

“lottie’s success and failure is my responsibility,” she said. “But another aspect of maintaining balance is never getting too high, and never getting too low.”

At 9 a.m., she prepares for the workday

Lottie jewelry swimwear collection
Swimsuit collaboration lottie just finished with sustainable swimwear brand Ricki Rum.

Alden puts her phone down to exercise, which helps her maintain a healthy mindset and balanced routine. Then she’ll shower, have breakfast, and ship prepackaged lottie orders from USPS. 

“If I don’t get out the orders first thing, I never end up making it to the post office that day,” she said, noting that she’ll get consumed by her inbox. 

Once she’s home, she begins working on lottie’s social media strategy, using Instagram management app UNUM to plan posts weeks in advance. Around 10 a.m., she’ll start taking phone calls and chatting with suppliers, customers, and potential brand collaborators.

Sourcing materials and planning collaborations take up her afternoon

Lottie collaboration with Break the Love
Lottie collaboration with Break the Love

Alden officially starts her workday around 11 a.m. when she speaks with her manufacturers about sourcing elements for her jewelry. Finding the necessary raw materials is one of Alden’s biggest challenges and she often has to purchase goods from multiple suppliers in order to make one necklace. 

Before breaking for lunch, she meets with a consultant to plan other brand collaborations. In addition to the partnerships with physical properties, Alden is making a tennis bracelet for the Adidas-backed sports company Break the Love. 

Alden is also planning to open lottie pop-up locations this summer. Previous versions were in Brooklyn, Miami, and East Hampton; future ones will be in Manhattan, Palm Beach, and on Martha’s Vineyard.

The remainder of the day is reserved for making jewelry

Jewelry by lottie
Jewelry handmade by Charlotte Alden for lottie

After scarfing down lunch, Alden spends the rest of her day making jewelry. It can take her between five minutes and one hour to make a piece, but the key is keeping her materials neat, she said. 

“Every little bead or crimp can get so expensive,” she said. “It’s important to stay organized and not lose anything.” 

Alden taught herself how to make jewelry through trial and error, learning about semi-precious gemstones and the difference between gold-plated and gold-filled, she said. “There’s a lot more that goes into it besides stringing beads,” she added. 

When she completes a piece, she photographs it for Instagram. She’ll also send press boxes to celebrities, like Charli D’Amelio and Emma Chamberlain, in the hopes that they will share them with their followers.

Getting enough sleep sets the tone for tomorrow

Charlotte Alden
Charlotte Alden

Around 7 p.m., Alden showers, dons her pajamas, and takes her work to the couch. 

Despite the change in scenery, she’ll continue crafting jewelry, making social content, and packaging the orders she’ll send the following morning. 

Even if she’s not tired, she’ll stop working at 10 p.m. and tuck herself into bed. “Getting a good night’s sleep can determine my entire day,” she said.

Then she wakes up and does it all again tomorrow.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 17 best places to buy affordable fine jewelry you’ll have forever

When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Fine jewelry costs a bit more than costume, but you can still get quality pieces on a budget.
  • Brands and retailers like Catbird, Mejuri, and Vrai are changing the game.
  • We’ve rounded up our favorite pieces and retailers below.

affordable jewelry lead

With its inaccessible prices, technical terminology, and nebulous production practices, the world of fine jewelry is intimidating to step into and, for a generation that cares simultaneously about value, style, sustainability, and ethics, often a world that’s avoided altogether.

Not too long ago, we wouldn’t even have considered buying nice jewelry online. But with direct-to-consumer jewelry companies taking center stage, no middlemen or mark-ups mean that you can pay a palatable price that’s closer to the true cost of making that beautiful gold necklace. Plus, high standards for sourcing and production quell any fears that your purchase sets other livelihoods or the environment back.

These online jewelry companies will help you make the decision without overcharging you in the process.

The best places to buy affordable fine jewelry in 2021:

Montserrat

woman wearing the Fresas necklace and earring set from Montserrat

For everyday pieces that make more of a statement, Montserrat has a collection of playful designs that are easy to wear alone or layered with minimalist pieces.

A playful blend of pearls, charms, and 14-karat gold plated settings make up Montserrat’s jewelry line. With its enamel fruit designs, the latest collection transports you to a state of constant vacation. Though statement-making, the pieces are still dainty enough to layer with other pieces you own and an entire set won’t set you back more than $200.

What to buy:

The Limón Huggie Earrings (small)The Frutti Di Mare Fresas Set (small)The Seta Set (small)
Italic

Woman wearing Italic Diamond Solitaire Necklace

Just by skipping the brand name, Italic lets you buy jewelry made in the same workshops as designer artisans at a fraction of the price.

Italic is a membership-based online retailer where you can find clothing, handbags, home goods, and more that are made in the same factories as designers like Miu Miu and Prada — just without the label and for a fraction of the price. Recently, it added fine jewelry to the mix. You can now pick up timeless additions like diamond necklaces and solid gold huggie hoops for as little as $225 and $150, respectively. 

What to buy:

Gold Huggie Earrings (small)Diamond Eternity Band Ring (small)Diamond Solitaire Necklace (small)Baguette Diamond Pinky Ring (small)Solitaire Diamond Bracelet White Gold (small)

 

Paige Sargisson

Woman wearing gold heart stud earring

Look to Paige Sargisson for handmade solid gold and sterling silver jewelry that’s perfect for gifting and starts as low as $32.

Brooklyn-based designer Paige Sargisson makes custom pieces that run well into the thousands, but you’ll also find plenty of more affordable options as part of the 10kt & silver collection. Everything is made by hand out of solid gold or sterling silver and includes pieces like an opal-studded evil eye necklace ($350), tiny stud earrings ($32), and a calendar charm (from $735) that can be personalized to commemorate a special date.

What to buy:

Teeny Tiny Double Post Earrings (small)Evil Eye Small Ring (small)Zodiac Constellation Charms – Silver (small)Small Calendar Charm (small)
Catbird

catbird ring

Known for its delicate rings and transparent sourcing, Catbird is the epitome of cool, affordable jewelry. 

Cool, Brooklyn boutique vibes meet the ease of online shopping at Catbird, where you can find delicate $44 rings alongside sparkly $12,700 engagement rings. It’s fully transparent about the source of its materials, and donates 1% of all sales to non-profits including the ACLU and Planned Parenthood. In addition to jewelry that’s crafted in-house, Catbird is home to other designers and beauty and home goods. 

What to buy: 

Mejuri

mejuri_4x3

Mejuri provides dainty, minimal jewelry at an affordable price point. 

Toronto-based startup Mejuri, founded by a former art director and a former engineer and third-generation jeweler, drops new pieces every week of the year, and without fail, its largely female clientele return again and again to its 14-karat gold, gold vermeil, and sterling silver jewelry that’s made for everyday wear. Mejuri’s mission is to have women “embrace a daily dose of luxury.” With plenty of under-$100 options, it makes fulfilling this mission very achievable.  

What to buy:  

AUrate

AUrate anklet

AUrate offers both minimal, everyday pieces as well as bold statement pieces, so you can create a well-rounded jewelry collection. 

AUrate offers both the solid foundation pieces and the unique statement pieces that you’ll need for a jewelry refresh. Everything is crafted in New York City, which also means that NYC dwellers can enjoy same-day delivery of 14- and 18-karat gold, AAA pearls, and ethically sourced diamonds (the rest of the country gets free shipping).

What to buy: 

Soko

soko

For handcrafted pieces that won’t break the bank, Soko is a go-to. 

At the helm of the movement towards “ethical fast fashion” is Soko, a jewelry startup with an innovative, efficient, and empowering model that uses technology to connect with independent artisans in Africa. Soko’s jewelry is guaranteed to attract attention, not only for its unique sourcing and manufacturing origins but also for its structural, powerful style. These hand-made pieces are produced from less conventional, but more affordable materials like brass. 

What to buy: 

Auvere

auvere

The pieces at Auvere are investment pieces, but they’ll appreciate in value over time. 

For top-line luxury, specifically 22- and 24-karat gold, at surprisingly affordable prices, Auvere is the place to go. There’s a range of feminine and more masculine designs, so there’s something to fit everyone’s style. There’s no denying that the architectural pieces are investments, but you get what you pay for — pure gold, wrapped into beautiful designs without the mark-up — and they’ll only appreciate in value over time. 

What to buy: 

Ariel Gordon

avo

Ariel Gordon designs cute, delicate jewelry that is meant to be worn over and over again. 

This Los Angeles-based brand is a celebrity favorite and it’s easy to see why. Launched out of her apartment while Gordon worked as a Hollywood publicist, the collection is made up of pieces designed to be worn over and over again, transitioning from occasion to occasion without losing quality and durability. Its charm pieces, which include animals and flowers, are truly sweet designs that’ll brighten your day. 

What to buy: 

The Last Line

last line

For those who love bold, beautiful jewelry, The Last Line is a must-shop. 

Founded by a Parsons grad and industry veteran, The Last Line wants to be the one and only place you buy all your jewelry. That might not be as ambitious as it sounds considering the brand sells everything from show-stopping rainbow pieces to chunky rings to classic gold hoops. If you thought fine jewelry couldn’t be fun or colorful, The Last Line is here to prove you wrong. 

What to buy:

Pink Tourmaline Perfect Tennis Bracelet (small)Emerald Large Biggie Earring (small)
Gorjana

gorjana

For jewelry that is effortlessly cool, look no further than Gorjana

If you love the “I-just-threw-this-on” jewelry look, you’re going to want to check out Gorjana. If you haven’t heard of it already, this Laguna Beach-based brand is well-loved for its range of affordable, gold-plated pieces that range from simple and dainty to funky and trendy, that pretty much all cost under $100. 

What to buy: 

Product Card (small)Product Card (small)Product Card (small)

Stone and Strand

s&s

Ethically sourced and conflict-free, Stone and Strand has its own capsule collection while also curating other like-minded brands on its site. 

Stone and Strand produces its own high-end jewelry and curates other like-minded brands on its site, creating an online space where shoppers aren’t intimidated to explore fine jewelry. Most pieces are made of 14-karat solid gold — though you can also find more affordable gold-plated options — and the diamonds and gemstones used are ethically sourced and conflict-free. Its first capsule, Good Girl Tools, sets the tone for the types of jewelry you can expect from the rest of the brand: bold, pretty, and wearable for every day. 

What to buy: 

Verlas

Verlas

If you tend to be indecisive about purchasing jewelry, you’ll love Verlas‘ at-home try-on service. 

Investing in a nice piece of jewelry without trying it on first can feel risky. If you can’t make up your mind right away, Verlas makes it easy to make sure you’ll love your new piece. The brand offers a try-at-home program where you can try any three pieces from the site for 15 days. The test pieces are made of replica materials (like cubic zirconia and brass), but when you’re done, you can choose the ones you love best and then order the real deal made with diamonds and gold. If you want to pass on them all, that’s okay too. Of course, if you know what you want right off the bat, you can go straight to purchasing it too. 

What to buy: 

Vrai

rings vrai

Skeptical about buying diamond rings online? Vrai helps to streamline the process. 

This downtown LA-based company only uses solid gold and Diamond Foundry diamonds, which are physically and chemically indistinguishable from mined diamonds, and created using solar energy. Vrai’s simple and timeless pieces will delight minimalists and anyone who hates to be plagued by pages and pages of choices. Couples should take advantage of its free home try-on program for wedding rings, which decreases the pressure of choosing the perfect ring. 

What to buy:

Holden

holdeeen

Customized wedding rings are super affordable thanks to Holden

When wedding ring shopping gets so stressful that it detracts from the real experience of starting your life with someone, that’s a problem. Holden is making it easy to shop for and customize wedding rings that start at only $249. Simply request a free ring size kit, choose your ring profile, width, metal, karat, and finish, and add an optional engraving, and your rings will be made-to-order with 3D printing technology. 

What to buy:

Couple

halo

Couple gives couples the opportunity to purchase their engagement rings online. 

The idea for Couple began when one of its co-founders had difficulty finding an engagement ring for his now-wife and saw an opportunity to also lessen the environmental and ethical challenges of mined diamonds. Couple works with lab-grown diamonds that look identical to mined ones (and are actually of higher quality) so that marriages can start off on the right foot — with trust, transparency, and thoughtfulness. Many of the rings can also be engraved for a truly personal touch. 

What to buy:

Knife Edge Ring (small)Classic Thin Ring (small)The Halo Ring (small)The Pavé Signature (small)
Gemist

Gemist

If you love a ring stack, you’ll love Gemist‘s wide array of rings that you can layer. 

Love a finger full of stackable rings? You’ll love Gemist’s wide variety of affordable pieces. The brand offers a streamlined at-home try-on process, where you’re given three costume rings to play with for two weeks. Enjoy the pieces? Just let Gemist know, and they’ll send you the custom pieces after you send your testers back. Gemist also has a variety of earrings, wedding bands, and engagement rings, too.

Check out our other jewelry guides and roundups

affordable jewelry related guides
Read the original article on Business Insider

A 33-year-old identity thief who bought a diamond-encrusted bitcoin pendant and stole half a million dollars gets 3 years in prison

Bitcoin Cryptocurrency logos seen displayed on an Android phone with an American flag in the background
  • A 33-year old who used the dark web to steal $500,000 and buy bitcoin has been sentenced to prison.
  • Aaron Laws used burner phones and recruited accomplices to avoid detection, a Seattle court said.
  • He bought a diamond-encrusted bitcoin pendant and a Rolex that cost more than $34,000.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

A “prolific identity thief” who fraudulently used credit cards, pocketed $500,000, and bought bitcoin has been sentenced to three years in prison, the US District Court in Seattle announced on Friday.

Aaron Laws of Atlanta, Georgia, the 33-year-old suspect, employed a sophisticated scheme that involved recruiting accomplices, operating digital wallets and burner phones, and using bitcoin to avoid detection, Acting US Attorney Tessa Gorman said.

“Motivated by greed, this defendant attempted to use digital advances to hide his old-fashioned fraud,” Gorman said in a statement.

“At all phases – from accessing the dark web, to loading stolen data onto digital wallets, to acquiring prepaid anonymous phones, to adopting aliases, to laundering money through anonymous cryptocurrency accounts – his operation was sophisticated and difficult to detect. But ultimately law enforcement stopped him in his tracks.”

Laws acquired credit card information from “carding websites” on the dark web to carry out his scheme, the District Court said, citing case records. Such illegal websites are used to share stolen credit card data and for criminal activity.

He stored this information on digital wallets on prepaid phones, then immediately used it to make fraudulent purchases of luxury goods and items that could be sold for cash or bitcoin, the court said. He also bought a diamond-encrusted bitcoin pendant and a Rolex watch that cost more than $34,000.

Bitcoin diamond pendent

Laws spent about $166,000 on bitcoin between February and November 2017, buying 56% of that amount in just one day – on August 23, 2017. He was arrested in October of that year, having to serve time in jail on the weekends. But he continued to commit fraud across the country, the statement said.

He “had a very complicated criminal enterprise and nothing seemed to deter him,” US District Judge Robert Lasnik said at the sentence hearing.

Laws pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft on January 31, and was ordered to make a $623,554 restitution payment.

Representatives for Aaron Laws could not be reached for comment.

Read More: These 5 stocks are ripe for a short squeeze after surging in popularity this past month, according to Fintel. 2 even have the meme-friendly appeal of AMC and GameStop.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Warren Buffett trolled Bill Gates by telling him to spend $370 million on an engagement ring

bill gates warren buffett friendship
Warren Buffett and Bill Gates.

  • Warren Buffett jokingly urged Bill Gates to spend close to $400 million on an engagement ring, according to “The Deals of Warren Buffett Volume 2: The Making of a Billionaire.”
  • Berkshire Hathaway’s boss took the Microsoft founder and his future wife, Melinda, ring shopping at Borsheims, one of his businesses, in 1993.
  • Buffett told Gates that he spent 6% of his net wealth on an engagement ring in 1951, and the technology tycoon should do the same.
  • Gates was worth around $6.2 billion in 1993, and declined to shell out $370 million – more than $660 million in today’s dollars.
  • View Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Warren Buffett trolled Bill Gates by urging him to spend close to $400 million on an engagement ring, according to “The Deals of Warren Buffett Volume 2: The Making of a Billionaire.”

The Berkshire Hathaway CEO made the pitch to the Microsoft founder when he and his future wife, Melinda, visited Omaha to go ring shopping in 1993. Buffett met them at the airport and escorted them to Borsheims, a jewelry business he bought four years earlier.

The famed investor told Gates – the richest man in the world and a Berkshire board member at the time, as well as a close friend – that he spent 6% of his net wealth on an engagement ring in 1951, and Gates should do the same.

Gates was worth around $6.2 billion in 1993, according to Forbes. Despite Buffett’s coaxing, he declined to shell out $370 million – nearly $660 million in today’s dollars.

“We didn’t have quite as big a day that Sunday as I had hoped,” Buffett joked afterward.

Skimping on the ring didn’t end in disaster. Bill and Melinda married in Hawaii in 1994, and stayed together for 27 years. They announced their intention to divorce in May 2021.

Read the original article on Business Insider

20 understated jewelry gifts to give your mom for Mother’s Day

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

signet ring
A heart-shaped signet ring is a sweet gift for Mother’s Day.

  • If you clicked into this post, you likely want to treat Mom to a nice piece of jewelry.
  • When it comes to Mother’s Day, you don’t have to spend a lot to get her something she’ll love.
  • We rounded up 20 beautiful pieces we think Mom will love, covering all budgets and tastes.
  • Still looking for inspiration? Check out more Mother’s Day gift ideas here.

Editor’s note: It’s likely that many families will be spending Mother’s Day apart this year due to the impact of coronavirus. Nothing takes the place of time spent together, but if you’re looking to send a gift to Mom in lieu of a visit, we hope this list will help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

There are a lot of great gifts you could treat Mom with for Mother’s Day. But sometimes the greatest gifts don’t serve any purpose other than pleasure. If you’re looking for a gift that feels like a special treat, you can’t go wrong with giving Mom a nice piece of jewelry.

Beautifully crafted, just her style, and something she probably wouldn’t splurge on for herself, jewelry is the perfect way to show Mom your appreciation. And, these days, you don’t have to spend a ton of money to get her something that sparkles. We rounded up 20 jewelry finds Mom will love, covering a wide range of budgets and tastes.

Here are 20 of the best jewelry gifts for Mom:

A necklace with custom initials and symbols

GLDN Personalized Yue Necklace Gift for Mom

Personalized Yue Necklace, $33-$200 + $9-$48 tags, available at GLDN

For the mom who appreciates small reminders of her children and loved ones, you can add multiple tags to this necklace. You can choose from all the letters in the alphabet as well as symbols like a star, a heart, and a dot. The prices of the necklace and the additional tags vary based on the material you select — 14k gold fill, sterling silver, rose gold fill, and 14k solid gold options will guarantee to make her feel special.

Earrings with a delicate medallion design

Kendra Scott Dira Stud Earrings Gift for Mom

Dira Stud Earrings, $68-$88, available at Kendra Scott

For studs that aren’t the ordinary circular shape, these ones from Kendra Scott offer up a dainty flower design instead. You can pick these out for her in sterling silver or 18k gold vermeil, with either option giving her ears some delicate decoration.

A herringbone snake chain anklet

Jenny Bird Priya Snake Chain Anklet Gift for Mom

Priya Snake Chain Anklet, $75, available at Jenny Bird

Mix it up by gifting Mom a basic anklet. This one’s a herringbone snake chain that’ll add a sparkly touch to her ankles. It’s stunningly simple, and so is its silver counterpart.

Dainty stud earrings

GLDN Initial Stud Earrings Gift for Mom

Initial Stud Earrings, $30-$34, available at GLDN

Moms who opt for simpler and smaller pieces of jewelry will adore these dainty studs. You can get them as regular circular studs or in heart shapes. Plus, you can get letters or symbols engraved in each, at no additional costs. 

A chain necklace with a lock pendant

Oak & Luna Initial Lock Necklace Gift for Mom

Initial Lock Necklace, $95-$145, available at Oak & Luna

Keep your appreciation for Mom under lock and key with this chain necklace from Oak & Luna. Coming in sterling silver, 18k gold plating, 18k rose gold plating, and 18k gold vermeil, the lock is an edgy yet chic detail. Not to mention, you can engrave the lock, free of charge.

Mix and match earrings

Jenny Bird Cordo Convertible Hoops Set Gift for Mom

Cordo Convertible Hoops Set, $95, available at Jenny Bird

Your mom can keep her looks fresh with this versatile hoops set. She can wear the tiny hoops on their own or attach the mid-sized petals to them. This means she can also mix and match the silver and gold pieces to try something different every now and then.

A heart-shaped signet ring

Stone and Strand Heart Signet Ring with Diamond Gift for Mom

Heart Signet Ring with Diamond, $245, available at Stone and Strand

The “M” (for “mom”) inscription on this heart-shaped signet ring takes it from plain to personal. There’s also a small diamond to add a little extra sparkle.

A simple gold necklace

connection

Connection Necklace, $380, available at Aurate

Two interlocking gold loops represent harmony, making this a sweet, simple, and meaningful necklace for Mom on Mother’s Day.

A thin pair of gold hoops

hoops

Oversized Thin Hoops, $295, available at Mejuri

Everyone needs a great pair of gold hoops. If she’s of the mindset that bigger is better, she’ll love this pair. They’re bold while still maintaining a dainty feel. 

A dainty gold band with diamonds

1

Diamonds Open Ring, $175, available at Mejuri

Stacked or worn on its own, this minimalist ring is perfect for everyday wear. With two small diamonds and the choice of either 14-karat rose, yellow, or white gold, you’re sure to find one that’s just her style.

A pair of heart-shaped huggers

2

Infinity Heart Huggie Earrings, $90, available at AUrate

There are so many ways to tell Mom you love her. These huggers, made from a series of cascading hearts, are a sweet way to say it. The price listed is for a vermeil (gold-plated) pair, but you can also opt for 14-karat or 18-karat gold versions.

A unique pair of studs

4

Horn Duara Stud Earrings, $48, available at Soko

If she’s got a style all her own, she’ll love these unique open-circle studs. They’re made using traditional techniques by artisans in Kenya.

A simple gold bracelet

Missoma Lucy Williams Gold Flat Chain Bracelet

Lucy Williams Gold Flat Curb Chain Bracelet, $127, available at Missoma

This delicate vermeil chain is the perfect gift to say “thank you” to your mom while sticking with a classic.

A colorful tennis bracelet

6

Mini Tennis Bracelet, from $375, available at The Last Line

Liven up her everyday outfits with a colorful bracelet. The 14-karat gold cable chain is lined with glittery gemstones — just pick out her birthstone and you have a beautiful, meaningful gift.

A pretty pendant necklace

gorjana necklace

Gorjana Compass Coin Pendant Necklace, $60, available at Nordstrom

When you don’t know where you’re going or what to do, Mom always guides you in the right direction. That makes this cute pendant necklace, made to look like an adjustable compass, a fitting gift. If you’re not a fan of my cheesy messaging, this necklace is still a cute piece she can wear every day. 

A classic ring with her zodiac

9

Zodiac Ring, $124, available at Catbird

Astrological symbols give the traditional signet ring a modern twist. Each brass ring is engraved with a different zodiac sign’s symbol — just choose hers and you have a unique, thoughtful gift.

A sophisticated pair of coin earrings

Mejuri Pearl Hoops

Pearl Hoops, $65, available at Mejuri

Whether it’s with a flowy summer dress or a T-shirt and jeans, these pearl earrings add instant elegance to every look.

A funky cuff

8

Dannijo Owen Bracelet, $195, available at Shopbop

A chunky cuff covered in chain links and silver medallions make this a one-of-a-kind piece she’ll love to rock. The silver-plated brass adds an eclectic touch to any outfit.

A symbolic ring

10

Pas de Deux Ring, $410, available at Catbird

Mom’s been there to hold your hand through it all. This ring — inspired by the 15th century Fede rings, which were commonly used as wedding bands — comprises two clasped hands, which are the ultimate signal of love, friendship, and togetherness.

A rainbow necklace

12

Elisa Solomon Rainbow Opal Disc Necklace, $924, available at Catbird

This 18-karat necklace is dainty enough to wear every day, but full of unique stones that make it feel really special. A glimmering opal is surrounded by amethyst, blue sapphire, citrine, garnet, and other beautiful gems for a vibrant but dainty look.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 14 best places to buy affordable fine jewelry, including rings, bracelets, and necklaces

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

  • Fine jewelry costs a bit more than costume, but you can still get quality pieces on a budget.
  • Brands and retailers like Catbird, Mejuri, and Vrai are changing the game.
  • We’ve rounded up our favorite pieces and retailers below.

affordable jewelry lead

With its inaccessible prices, technical terminology, and nebulous production practices, the world of fine jewelry is intimidating to step into and, for a generation that cares simultaneously about value, style, sustainability, and ethics, often a world that’s avoided altogether.

Not too long ago, we wouldn’t even have considered buying nice jewelry online. But with direct-to-consumer jewelry companies taking center stage, no middlemen or mark-ups mean that you can pay a palatable price that’s closer to the true cost of making that beautiful gold necklace. Plus, high standards for sourcing and production quell any fears that your purchase sets other livelihoods or the environment back.

These online jewelry companies will help you make the decision without overcharging you in the process.

The best places to buy affordable fine jewelry:

The best overall

catbird ring

Known for its delicate rings and transparent sourcing, Catbird is the epitome of cool, affordable jewelry. 

Cool, Brooklyn boutique vibes meet the ease of online shopping at Catbird, where you can find delicate $44 rings alongside sparkly $14,000 engagement rings. It’s fully transparent about the source of its materials, and donates 1% of all sales to non-profits including the ACLU and Planned Parenthood. In addition to jewelry that’s crafted in-house, Catbird is home to other designers and beauty and home goods. 

What to buy: 

The best for handcrafted pieces

soko

For handcrafted pieces that won’t break the bank, Soko is a go-to. 

At the helm of the movement towards “ethical fast fashion” is Soko, a jewelry startup with an innovative, efficient, and empowering model that uses technology to connect with independent artisans in Africa. Soko’s jewelry is guaranteed to attract attention, not only for its unique sourcing and manufacturing origins but also for its structural, powerful style. These hand-made pieces are produced from less conventional, but more affordable materials like brass. 

What to buy: 

The best for pure gold

auvere

The pieces at Auvere are investment pieces, but they’ll appreciate in value over time. 

For top-line luxury, specifically 22- and 24-karat gold, at surprisingly affordable prices, Auvere is the place to go. There’s a range of feminine and more masculine designs, so there’s something to fit everyone’s style. There’s no denying that the architectural pieces are investments, but you get what you pay for — pure gold, wrapped into beautiful designs without the mark-up — and they’ll only appreciate in value over time. 

What to buy: 

The best for playful charms

avo

Ariel Gordon designs cute, delicate jewelry that is meant to be worn over and over again. 

This Los Angeles-based brand is a celebrity favorite and it’s easy to see why. Launched out of her apartment while Gordon worked as a Hollywood publicist, the collection is made up of pieces designed to be worn over and over again, transitioning from occasion to occasion without losing quality and durability. Its charm pieces, which include animals and flowers, are truly sweet designs that’ll brighten your day. 

What to buy: 

The best for maximalists

last line

For those who love bold, beautiful jewelry, The Last Line is a must-shop. 

Founded by a Parsons grad and industry veteran, The Last Line wants to be the one and only place you buy all your jewelry. That might not be as ambitious as it sounds considering the brand sells everything from show-stopping rainbow pieces to chunky rings to classic gold hoops. If you thought fine jewelry couldn’t be fun or colorful, The Last Line is here to prove you wrong. 

What to buy: 

The best for minimalists

mejuri_4x3

Mejuri provides dainty, minimal jewelry at an affordable price point. 

Toronto-based startup Mejuri, founded by a former art director and a former engineer and third-generation jeweler, drops new pieces every week of the year, and without fail, its largely female clientele return again and again to its 14-karat gold, gold vermeil, and sterling silver jewelry that’s made for everyday wear. Mejuri’s mission is to have women “embrace a daily dose of luxury.” With plenty of under-$100 options, it makes fulfilling this mission very achievable.  

What to buy:  

The best for affordable gold

gorjana

For jewelry that is effortlessly cool, look no further than Gorjana

If you love the “I-just-threw-this-on” jewelry look, you’re going to want to check out Gorjana. If you haven’t heard of it already, this Laguna Beach-based brand is well-loved for its range of affordable, gold-plated pieces that range from simple and dainty to funky and trendy, that pretty much all cost under $100. 

What to buy: 

Product Card (small)Product Card (small)Product Card (small)

The best for on-trend pieces

s&s

Ethically sourced and conflict-free, Stone and Strand has its own capsule collection while also curating other like-minded brands on its site. 

Stone and Strand produces its own high-end jewelry and curates other like-minded brands on its site, creating an online space where shoppers aren’t intimidated to explore fine jewelry. Most pieces are made of 14-karat solid gold — though you can also find more affordable gold-plated options — and the diamonds and gemstones used are ethically sourced and conflict-free. Its first capsule, Good Girl Tools, sets the tone for the types of jewelry you can expect from the rest of the brand: bold, pretty, and wearable for every day. 

What to buy: 

The best for sustainable gold

AUrate anklet

AUrate offers both minimal, everyday pieces as well as bold statement pieces, so you can create a well-rounded jewelry collection. 

AUrate offers both the solid foundation pieces and the unique statement pieces that you’ll need for a jewelry refresh. Everything is crafted in New York City, which also means that NYC dwellers can enjoy same-day delivery of 14- and 18-karat gold, AAA pearls, and ethically sourced diamonds (the rest of the country gets free shipping). For indecisive shoppers, Curate is AUrate’s personalized jewelry box delivery service that gives you a week to try on five pieces and decide which one(s) you want to keep.  

What to buy: 

The best for at-home try-on

Verlas

If you tend to be indecisive about purchasing jewelry, you’ll love Verlas‘ at-home try-on service. 

Investing in a nice piece of jewelry without trying it on first can feel risky. If you can’t make up your mind right away, Verlas makes it easy to make sure you’ll love your new piece. The brand offers a try-at-home program where you can try any three pieces from the site for 15 days. The test pieces are made of replica materials (like cubic zirconia and brass), but when you’re done, you can choose the ones you love best and then order the real deal made with diamonds and gold. If you want to pass on them all, that’s okay too. Of course, if you know what you want right off the bat, you can go straight to purchasing it too. 

What to buy: 

The best for sustainable diamonds

rings vrai

Skeptical about buying diamond rings online? Vrai helps to streamline the process. 

This downtown LA-based company only uses solid gold and Diamond Foundry diamonds, which are physically and chemically indistinguishable from mined diamonds, and created using solar energy. Vrai’s simple and timeless pieces will delight minimalists and anyone who hates to be plagued by pages and pages of choices. Couples should take advantage of its free home try-on program for wedding rings, which decreases the pressure of choosing the perfect ring. 

What to buy:

The best for customized wedding rings

holdeeen

Customized wedding rings are super affordable thanks to Holden

When wedding ring shopping gets so stressful that it detracts from the real experience of starting your life with someone, that’s a problem. Holden is making it easy to shop for and customize wedding rings that start at only $249. Simply request a free ring size kit, choose your ring profile, width, metal, karat, and finish, and add an optional engraving, and your rings will be made-to-order with 3D printing technology. 

What to buy:

The best for engagement and wedding rings

halo

Couple gives couples the opportunity to purchase their engagement rings online. 

The idea for Couple began when one of its co-founders had difficulty finding an engagement ring for his now-wife and saw an opportunity to also lessen the environmental and ethical challenges of mined diamonds. Couple works with lab-grown diamonds that look identical to mined ones (and are actually of higher quality) so that marriages can start off on the right foot — with trust, transparency, and thoughtfulness. Many of the rings can also be engraved for a truly personal touch. 

What to buy:

The best for stackable rings

Gemist

If you love a ring stack, you’ll love Gemist‘s wide array of rings that you can layer. 

Love a finger full of stackable rings? You’ll love Gemist’s wide variety of affordable pieces. The brand offers a streamlined at-home try-on process, where you’re given three costume rings to play with for two weeks. Enjoy the pieces? Just let Gemist know, and they’ll send you the custom pieces after you send your testers back. Gemist also has a variety of earrings, wedding bands, and engagement rings, too.

Check out our other jewelry guides and roundups

affordable jewelry related guides
Read the original article on Business Insider

Luxury items like watches and jewelry are getting even more expensive

luxury jewelry covid
  • The cost of goods in the US saw its largest monthly increase since 2012.
  • Jewelry and watches were among several items that saw a significant price boost.
  • Prices are expected to continue rising in the coming months as vaccination levels increase.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Luxury items became even more expensive last month as the price of goods in the US saw its highest monthly increase in nearly 9 years, according to the US Bureau and Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index.

Jewelry and watches were among several items that pushed the overall surge in prices. The cost of jewelry in the US rose 7.4% from the previous year and nearly 6% between February and March, according to the index.

Similarly, the price of watches also rose 4.3% from 2020 and 2.4% in the past month alone.

While the price increase might not seem particularly high on a surface level, they could put a further strain on the wallets of people buying big-ticket items.

If applied to the average price of a Rolex in 2020 – which falls around $12,000, according to Wrist Advisor – rising prices mean buyers can add about $500 to the price tag.

And that’s just for the average buyer. Customers looking to purchase even more pricey watches, like Rolex’s $75,000 model, would have to tack on an additional $3,000 to that price tag.

Similarly, for couples looking to buy a diamond engagement ring – an item with an average price around $5,000, according to Jewelry Wise – buyers can expect to pay an additional $370 this year, or even see a price increase of $285 from the previous month.

Prices in the US are only expected to continue to rise in the coming months, as increased vaccination rates allow the economy to reopen and demand to surge.

The cost of goods has also been impacted by several supply disruptions, including a shipping container shortage, port delays in California, and the impact of the Texas freeze on production in the state. Many companies are also still struggling to meet demand after cutting back on production due to COVID-19 shutdowns last year.

Outside of watch and jewelry prices, the Consumer Price Index showed several other goods had significant price increases, in particular fuel and food. Gas prices jumped over 9% in the past month and drove the largest increase in the index.

Overall, prices rose over last year at their highest rate since 2018, beating analysts estimates. The index rose 0.6%, while analysts estimated a 0.5% increase, according to Dow Jones estimates.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Popular jewelry startup Mejuri is one of the most affordable places to buy everyday pieces, from solid gold hoops to stacking rings

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

mejuri

  • Mejuri is a Canadian jewelry startup that makes affordable, fine jewelry meant to be worn every day.
  • The D2C model means you can find a 14K gold diamond necklace made with ethical materials for $300.
  • Learn more about why Mejuri jewelry is a recurring purchase for Insider Reviews reporters.

If you’re looking for dainty, everyday jewelry that’s nice enough to stand the test of time and affordable enough to buy for yourself, then you’ll probably want Mejuri on your radar. It’s an online jewelry startup based on the idea that women want to buy fine jewelry for themselves, and without waiting for an excuse or occasion to do so.

Mejuri has seen five times year-over-year revenue growth, product waitlists of 100,000 people, a $23 million Series B funding round, and – most unusual for an industry steeped in milestones and big gesture gifts – data showing that more than 90% of its customers are purchasing jewelry for themselves.

If you take a look through Mejuri’s site, it’s easy to see that success and customer retention were inevitable, rather than a stroke of luck. For starters, Mejuri prices are remarkably affordable relative to the rest of the industry (similar to Everlane’s transparent pricing model, there’s an estimated retail markup on every product page). You can buy a diamond, 14-karat gold necklace for $300 – not exactly pocket change, but accessible for a millennial woman with some expendable income.

And, Mejuri jewelry isn’t trendy. Co-founder Justine Lançon told Insider in 2018, “We design products we, our friends, and our community would actually wear. It’s not just something you put on your Pinterest board for ‘someday.'”

mejuri everyday fine jewelry

Though teeming with classics, Mejuri doesn’t make the mistake of becoming boring. You’ll find clever, edgy upgrades to essentials that blend in with the rest of your jewelry collection – like an entire Zodiac collection. There are also hoops in every size, thickness, and texture, ranging from smooth to beaded to gem-set. Most come in pairs, but you can also buy some earring styles as singles.

With Mejuri’s roster of Holy Grail basics, it makes sense to buy the “nice” version of each item – you’ll wear them often, and own them forever.

Mejuri also offers meaningful transparency in regards to the ethics of their luxury items. It ensures all diamonds are conflict-free, and it works exclusively with ethical suppliers. You can read more about the materials here. (Some jewelers, like Couple and Clean Origin, actually go one step further, with lab-grown diamonds).

What we wear from Mejuri

Mejuri jewelry has become a recurring purchase among Insider Reviews reporters. Senior editor Sally Kaplan loves the brand’s Tiny Gold Hoop Earrings ($55) because of how small and dainty they are, and explained that “they’re representative of Mejuri to me as a brand – they don’t try too hard or feel fussed over.” Mejuri’s now-retired gold safety pin earrings are the only pair senior reporter Connie Chen brings while traveling. Former senior editor Jada Wong wears the Sapphire Twin Hoops ($215) every day, though she notes that the sapphires may seem duller and smaller than expected – and may try the solid gold version ($185) next time instead. I’m wearing the Stacker Ring ($75) now, and I do just about every day.

Here are more of our favorite pieces of jewelry from Mejuri:

Small Hoops

small hoop jewlery gold

Product Card
Diamond Necklace

October_19_ _Studio 0126

Product Card
Diamonds Team Ring

mejuri affordable fine jewelry

Product Card
Stacker Ring

October_19_ _Studio 0047_copy

Product Card
Zodiac Necklace Vermeil

mejuri fine everyday jewelry

Product Card
Curb Bracelet

everyday fine jewelry dainty bracelet

Product Card
Sapphire Twin Hoops

mejuri everyday fine jewlery earring gold

Product Card
Duo Ring

mejuri-black-friday-deals

Product Card

The bottom line

Overall, Mejuri is a great option for fine, delicate jewelry you can wear every day and keep forever. And thanks to the direct-to-consumer model, it’s affordable enough to buy for yourself — even without the excuse of a special occasion.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How a 28-year-old launched a $6 million education consulting firm with just $1,500 in startup capital

Benjamin Arabov
Benjamin Arabov.

Benjamin Arabov could have gone into the jewelry industry if he wanted to.

His father is, after all, famed jeweler Jacob Arabo, nicknamed “Jacob the Jeweler” for his jewelry company, which has created custom work for the likes of Jay-Z, Paris Hilton, Pharrell, and even Rudy Giuliani.

Arabo has gotten mentions in Kanye West’s songs “All Falls Down” and “Diamonds from Sierra Leone” and he has an office set up on what’s been called New York’s “Billionaire’s Row.” 

But Arabov felt he needed to create his own path in order to emerge from his father’s shadow, he told Business Insider. “[My brother and I] didn’t want to be known as the kids that just have successful parents that we’re just leeching off of.”

Arabov didn’t want to follow the success of his brother, either – David Arabov cofounded the news site Elite Daily in 2012 before selling it to the Daily Mail for $50 million in 2015

Both brothers have become entrepreneurs despite their famous father encountering legal troubles when they were still adolescents. Arabo was arrested in 2006 on charges including money laundering. He ultimately entered into a plea deal, admitting to lying to investigators while the money laundering charges were dropped, and he served two years of prison time, from 2008 to 2010. 

Arabov said this was “understandably a tough period for myself and my family to go through, but it also taught me lessons in adversity at a young age. We all face some kind of adversity in life and become stronger because of it.”

Benjamin Arabov

Five years later, Arabov founded Grow Enrollments when he was just 22 years old, with startup capital of the $1,500 that was sitting in his savings account at the time. Arabov had helped his brother launch Elite Daily and had brief jobs at Google and Narrative Science after graduating from college, but he was spending money almost as fast as it was coming in.

“I was making good money,” he said of his financial status back then. “But I wasn’t doing a good job of saving money.” 

Today, Grow Enrollments has 33 employees and is profitable, Arabov said. The firm helps connect universities to potential students, as well as potential students with online courses, training, and coding boot camps.

It made about $6 million in revenue in 2020, per documents reviewed by Business Insider, with Arabov still the sole owner of the company. He recently made the 2021 Forbes30Under30 list for his work with Grow Enrollments. 

Arabov has created his own path, but lessons from his father and brother helped him along the way.

Father knows best

Arabov said this entrepreneurial journey taught him a lot, and he credits his father for much of his business acumen., Jacob immigrated to the US from Uzbekistan in 1979 at the age of 14, and was already working in New York’s diamond district by 16. In his early 20s, he launched his eponymous jewelry brand and began it selling out of his store, Diamond Quasar, or what his son deemed “a small booth on 47th Street.” 

Arabo’s rise in hip-hop came nearly a decade later, in the 1990s, when everyone from Slick Rick to Jay-Z, Diddy to Foxy Brown began coming to him for custom pieces. In 1999, The New York Times hailed Arabo as “the Harry Winston of the hip-hop world.” 

Since then, Arabo began to focus on being a jeweler to the stars, working with Jennifer Lopez and Beyoncé.

Arabov said his father had high expectations of him and his brother, telling them they had the potential, mindset, ambition, persistence, and vision to make it on their own. 

Jacob Arabo
Rapper Busta Rhymes and Jacob Arabo.

The best advice a jeweler can give an educational consultant is that it’s pointless to cater to everybody. Arabov said his father told always told him that when you try to cater to everybody, then you can’t focus on what really matters.

Initially, Grow Enrollments wasn’t just focused on education, but about four years ago, the company sought to further specialize.

Arabov said he remembered his father’s advice to focus – on having a specific business mission, on crafting a specific set of potential prospects, and on seeking out a specific set of clients. 

“I wasn’t really a scholar. I didn’t do well in school, per se, growing up,” Arabov said. “But we wanted to make that difference for everybody else.”

When he looked into it, he said he felt the company wasn’t advertising what Arabov referred to as “meaningful products” and he wanted to shift into a medium that could more drastically impact people’s lives. Education, to him, was that medium. 

“We wanted to be the connector between hungry minds and hungry individuals looking to expand their knowledge,” Arabov said. “To connect them to programs, courses, universities, training, and coding boot camps that could give them the knowledge that they’re asking for.” 

Arabov felt education was a ‘meaningful product’ meant to be accessible 

Arabov’s passion for marketing came from working on Elite Daily when he was 18 years old: his brother charged him with helping to market the website.

Arabov said he was involved in getting Elite Daily off the ground in its first year and then left. He found an internship opportunity at the digital marketing agency Tinuiti, then known as Elite SEM, where he ended up staying for two years – going to work during the day, still helping his brother with Elite Daily on the side, and attending Pace University for a degree in business administration at night.

Benjamin Arabov

Within the general sphere of education, Arabov said the company has been focused on supporting what he calls “distributive education” – online courses, training classes, and coding boot camps – all of which bypasses the traditional model of four-year schooling.  

A 2019 report by Research and Markets entitled “Online Education Market & Global Forecast” predicted that the online learning market would hit $350 billion by 2025, as the availability of flexible and new learning technologies began to increase. 

Arabov said Grow Enrollments plans to take advantage of that market, using its 6-Step Education SEM Connector System and Education Audience Playbook services, available for schools to purchase, that helps institutions cut their advertising spending while still increasing their student enrollments.

The company works with online learning platforms such as HubSpot Academy and Distance Learning Systems but has also partnered with traditional colleges and universities, such as the LA Film School and Perdue University, to help advertise the institution’s online offering to potential students. 

Arabov said this so-called online “distributive education” is the future of learning. The pandemic, he said, has only fast-tracked its progress.  

Benjamin Arabov

Even after the pandemic subsides, Arabov said, colleges and universities need to start looking into how to provide more flexible and affordable learning opportunities to help stay competitive as online education becomes more popular. 

“You could find a very similar – or pretty much an identical course or program – that they’re selling for significantly less,” he said. 

Aside from the future of education, Arabov is also betting on a big future for himself.

His brother, David, left Elite Daily in 2016 and went on to cofound the mobile phone company, Wing. His father, Jacob, is still one of the best-known jewelers in New York City. 

“I come from a bloodline of entrepreneurs,” he said. “My intention was to build a great foundation, and launch my own business and launch my own vision. That’s what I did.” 

Read the original article on Business Insider