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

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  • 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: 

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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
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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

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Diamond Necklace

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Diamonds Team Ring

mejuri affordable fine jewelry

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Stacker Ring

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Zodiac Necklace Vermeil

mejuri fine everyday jewelry

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Curb Bracelet

everyday fine jewelry dainty bracelet

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Sapphire Twin Hoops

mejuri everyday fine jewlery earring gold

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Duo Ring

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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.” 

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