Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Accessory Overload

I had a realization a while back that I'm a jewelery girl more than I'm a fancy dress girl, and it helped me refocus my wedding style crazies from a perfect perfect dress to a dress that felt right, especially if it allowed for incredible, bold-but-elegant, statement piece jewelery. And since I found that dress, and it  "only" cost $200, I feel like I can treat myself a bit on the jewelery. At which point, I can then decide on the shoes, which are a distant second in accessory land importance. For reference, I find shoe photographs entirely silly, but then I think about asking for a necklace photograph, and it starts to make sense. (Um, I'm not really going to ask for a necklace photograph, but it helps me understand other women's shoe obsessions, even if I still don't love how "stuff" photos are celebrated in wedding recaps.)

So I began internet window browsing for my necklace, full of excitement that I could actually consider a splurge purchase. And then, in much the same way that $1000+ wedding dress prices made me screech like a wounded banshee, necklace prices for the pieces I love did the same.

First of all, I would recommend NEVER setting your browser sights on Neiman Marcus, even for inspiration, unless you're ready to shell out $600+ for a necklace. (I am not.) You can, however, find golden fur necklace equivalents for the bargain price of $370, in case that's your thing.

Second of all, etsy is so entirely difficult to search that, after scrolling through eighteen pages of 1,792 pages worth metalwork necklace options with "turquoise" as a keyword, my eyes glazed over and I could no longer distinguish the subtle qualities of one potential necklace over another. Even my favorites page is visual and mental overload now. So when I found this necklace, I actually sat up and got excited. And when I noticed it was "only" $150 and that the artist is based in Los Angeles, I got even more excited.

But I was only excited until I realized that it's just the bottom strand that's $150 and there's no pricing provided on the combination option that I was actually drawn to. And I'm not paying $150 for this:

Also I was very upset to find myself drawn to this necklace (maybe for the wedding, maybe just for fun)...

...only to discover that it was inspired by a necklace Megan Fox wears, and about eighteen different versions of the knockoff design were all over etsy, along with Megan and her sexyface look photos. Really, I have nothing against Megan Fox (except that she's not really a good actress) but I don't want sexyface images marring my enjoyment of a necklace.

(I'd link to a shop, but there are literally dozens of search "megan fox necklaces" on Etsy.)

And lastly, why must my two favorite necklaces (so far) cost $275 apiece?


Guys, I want to support artists here, but I don't want to spend $300 to do it. Also, I want to stop dreaming about that Nicole Miller necklace, but it's very very difficult. On the plus side, I think five months is about how long it will take to scour all the options on etsy, so it's good I'm starting on the accessory process now.


  1. Oh, girl, I feel your pain. We saved so much money on my wedding dress by opting to order a bridesmaids dress in white that I figured the accessories would be the splurge. And boy, were they ever. I'm an accessory fiend and I spent more than I probably should have on my wedding jewelery. Etsy really does have some great options for inexpensive accessories that look great, so I think you're on the right track there. Happy hunting!

  2. I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds Etsy to be totally overwhelming. I love it, pinky swear, but it takes up way too much of my time and makes me a little insane with comparison shopping. Sometimes a finite number of options can keep you sane. I heading back to retail-land for my accessories.

  3. Oh, it looks like you love the wire wrapping or set stones (I'm in the same boat). Wire wrapping is time consuming and takes practice/skill to get right, so the good pieces are almost always really pricey even if you're looking at inexpensive stones.

    That said, you might be able to find someone starting out on Etsy who is pricing lower - you just have to accept that the skill level might not be quite as high as your inspiration pieces.

    Something like that turquoise necklace should be way cheaper (assuming the stones aren't real) because it's basically just strung together. Maybe someone could do something similar for you with a slightly different stone or length.

    And, my last tip - check out some of the better thrift stores. NCJW thrift store has branches all over the city and they tend to have a decent jewelry selection. It'll always be hit or miss and you won't get a super crazy bargain because most places have their jewelry appraised in order to price it, but sometimes you can find great stuff.

  4. Keep an eye on bluefly's jewelry section. They've usually got a pretty good selection, and great prices. I've definitely seen a lot of Nicole Miller stuff on there. Also, you're in LA! Get your butt down to the fashion district and start browsing the jewelry stores down there. It might take some patience, but the prices are unbeatable

  5. Yeah. I spent an insane amount of time on Etsy, and it hurt. Very badly. I had to force myself to forget about searching for something specific and chalk it up to one of those "happy accident" sites, where you occasionally find something you want to buy just by sheer luck.

    Kudos to you for starting early. I looked for a necklace in fits and starts, and then suddenly it was two weeks before the wedding and it was the last piece missing in my ensemble. Not recommended.

    Also, I just love the idea of statement/special occasion jewelry. I didn't capitalize on my opportunity as well as I should have, but I love how it's a piece you can actually rewear after the wedding and I also love the ready-made sentiment that comes with it.

    And: mmm, that Kate Spade is delicious. (Inner stab of jealousy)

  6. @Rachel - exactly. And I know it's a painstaking handmade process, but I'm still frugal-ish. And handmade quality can vary so much, I really want to see it in person. The thrift stores are a good idea (and that reminds me I saw some sliver pieces at NNJW on Fairfax that I want for our succulents. I hope they're still there...)

    @Lyn - if you hadn't told me it was last minute, I wouldn't have known. Everything seems so wonderfully coordinated. And even if your necklace wasn't made/billed as "special occasion" you'll be wearing it on YOUR special occasion. Which is kinda awesome, because each and every time you wear it after the wedding, even on a random work day, you'll get a little wedding thrill. And I hope you wear it a lot, because I like it a lot. Those and the shoes (I even checked Sechelles but they didn't have my size. Sometimes shoes get me too, what can I say?)

  7. I don't know if this interests you, but I spied this necklace a little bit ago (I've ordered from this shop before) and it reminded me of the bib-style necklace you seem to be interested in: http://www.etsy.com/listing/55514188/the-emerald-goddess-necklace-vintage. I would also recommend going to thrift stores and asking friends and family for jewelry options they may be able to loan you.

    At the same time, I want to remind you that you do have the option (permission?) to award yourself some sweet-ass jewelry, especially since you've realized it is one of your "things". Whereas you will probably never wear your wedding dress again, you can wear your jewelry again. and again. and again. And if it is well made, it could even become an heirloom for your family. I wore two heirloom necklaces on my wedding day and my mom gave me one of them as a wedding gift afterwards. I've been wearing it and I love to think about the special day that it marked. I think that when planning a wedding and stressing about the budget and being resistive of the WIC, etc. it is easy to become so focused on that, that we can't take a little pleasure in doing something fun for ourselves-- and that's actually what this whole time is supposed to be. So, I'm not saying you should go buy something you can't afford, but take a look at the value of it before you brush off the necklace you see yourself wearing at your wedding and down the road.

  8. for a "support your local artist!" girl, i'm really all about the department store jewelry.

    anthro and jcrew may be satan to the indie world, but they almost always have hot jewelry on sale, and it usually is cheaper than etsy.

    (i'm sorry for betraying you, my dear etsy!)

  9. I sent you a link to Jess LC before right? If not, I really think you'd like their Astor line. http://www.jesslc.com/collections/astor

    Jess LC is an independent company run by a few young Chicago women. The owner, who I personally know, is incredibly kind, philanthropic, and has a vision for her jewelry business that goes far beyond just making profits. Her name is Jess her personal blog is here: http://makeundermylife.com/

    All the jewelry is made by hand and designed here in Chicago by these women. The workers are very fairly paid (I would know because I actually used to work for Jess LC right when I first arrived in Chicago). I feel like a piece or two from them, if any strike your fancy, would fit your aesthetics and ethics requirements. And I think they would fit into your budget. They will also create custom pieces too if you like something, but want to tweak it a bit.

  10. Oh, SNAP! That first necklace? Super duper *SWOON!*
    OK, are you signed up for RueLaLa? No, get on it. In fact, I'll send you an invite then I'll get $10 if you buy something. My point is that they have had that Nicole Miller for sale before generally about 40-75% off retail. Also, please stalk gilt.com and giltfuse.com for deals.

    I'm just sayin'. Not that you need more shit to look at, but I like to feed others addictions, particularly since I"m on financial lock down and can't spend like I want.

  11. @Bex - I noticed Bluefly carries some Nicole, but not this necklace. I'll keep checking and hoping though!

    @Thirty-Something Bride - I'm an definitely on Rue La La, but I haven't seen this necklace on the Nicole Miller boutique I visited (I think it's from the Fall 2010 line?) Yeah, I will stalk, because Rue La La takes returns.

    @Elizabeth - I like using Etsy to find local folks for jewelery and clothes, because I really value being able to try things on (especially with my dress at home). I could hunt down a local jewelery person to see their stuff with my dress, and then I'd feel good about it, especially with it's higher quality/heirloom stuff. (Some department store items can be surprisingly poor quality, but then I can return them.) With etsy, you never know, and you rarely get a return. That's my issue. I'll pay (up to a point) for quality. Or I'll pay (up to a lower point) for pretty-but-not-heirloom pieces.

    @Ms Bunny - Ooh I really like some of her stuff, and love that you can vouch for her... but I think I'd put it on my holiday wishlist over my wedding dress wishlist. They're minimalist and elegant, like my dress. But maybe that's why I want something with more pizazz for the necklace? Without going overboard? Sigh.

  12. Have you looked at Wendy Mink? I'm not really a jewelry girl (mainly because I don't allow myself to look) but if I were, she would be my pick.

    This has a similar feel to the NM at half the price. And she does custom colors!

  13. oh etsy... love love love. and it also makes me sad sad sad. so much to hunt through, so much to weed through.

    but those gems.... oh, then we find those gems and it's magic.

    then i want to open my own etsy, but what would i sell. jokes? random isms that sound funny only when i'm pissed off or hyper or drunk?

    nay. those won't do.

    anyways, i'm confident you'll find something that looks good and is in your price range. that first necklace did take my breath away, though. YAOW!

  14. I second the recommendation for Wendy Mink! Several of her necklace designs seem similar in style to those you've found but a bit cheaper.

    Everything I've ordered from there was beautiful and well-made; plus the ladies there are super nice to interact with.

    (I splurged on these for my wedding and just loved them: http://www.wendyminkjewelry.com/detail.htm?the_latest=dangles_clusters_and_rings&skip=14).

    Good luck with the search...

  15. Ok I admit to enabling Liz to J. Crew jewelry. They have pretty great sales occasionally.

    The Nicole Miller is pretty darn divine though. Or if the stones were decent quality perhaps this could be a keepsake item (fyi a friend made a semi-precious stone bracelet with stones direct from Malaysia and it was still $800 or $1000)
    Keep it in the back of your mind. Set up a saved search on eBay to see if it pops up. Otherwise, I'm crossing my fingers that it comes up on the sample sale sites. Seriously just sign up for all of them to see if it comes up. I'll look out for it for you too!

  16. Couldn't agree more...jewelry on Etsy is getting a little ridiculously priced. I love the chunky turquoise necklace, understandable that it would be less appealing because of Megan Fox though...hm...you'll find what you're looking for.

  17. Love these!!!


    P.S: I bet you'd love my custom map pendant giveaway! :D Come and join in!

  18. Check out http://www.hollyyashi.com/ - I saw her work at a Disney store, of all places, but I really like it.

  19. Why don't you post a request on alchemy, with pictures of your favorite necklaces? You can set your price and timeline. I had cufflinks made for my fiance this way and got a few bids, all of which were great. Hope this helps!


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