Let’s talk about jewelry for grown-ups. I have my fair share of mall and thrift store jewelry, but as I get older, I’m finding that I want to invest in nicer-quality pieces that are still fun and young, just not necessarily the big old ruby-encrusted stuff that my grandmother would wear.
Here are six of the independent jewelers and jewelry companies who are producing work that I think is beautiful, interesting, and worth ponying up a bit of extra cash for. My birthday is in two weeks, and I’m 99.9% sure my gift to myself is coming from one of these creative retailers.
Jennifer Zuener: This jewelry isn’t cheap, but OMG, the YOLO necklaces, incredible turquoise eye pendants, and everything personalized makes a piece of Jennifer Zuener work worth it, in my opinion.
Highlow Jewelry: Organic and arty, unexpected and intriguing. Not necessarily words you’d use to describe jewelry, right? Well, you haven’t seen the work of Sonya Gallardo, who designs for Highlow Jewelry in Los Angeles. Her work, like this unadorned, beachy necklace, would look amazing with a slouchy sweater this winter.
Kerrie Yeung: These rings, earrings, and necklaces are simple, modern, and charming. Kerrie Yeung’s pieces are the kind of thing you wear every day because it goes with every outfit and somehow never fails to garner compliments. How pretty would this unadorned 14k gold band be as a wedding ring, by the way?
Wanderluster: Wanderluster, designed for the “modern nomad,” sells a range of baubles, from the bold—this necklace that looks like the prettiest weapon you’ve ever seen— to the bright, like this jeweled cuff.
Erica Weiner: Erica Weiner’s work might just be my favorite out of the bunch. It’s so varied, from dogwood-shaped studs to a pendant cast from a mouse pelvis (prettier than it sounds, I promise) to these amazing milagro necklaces. I also adore her more vintage-looking pieces, and she sells antique jewels outright, too.
Catbird NYC: I’m obsessed with everything Catbird NYC sells. I’ve been saving for a healthy stack of their knuckle rings for the last few months, but their wedding, engagement, and every day jewels are simply gorgeous, too. So elegant and feminine.