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You want to look like a million bucks, but you don’t want to spend that much on your jewelry. Granted, if you’ve got seven figures to spend on jewelry, you probably aren’t here reading this article. If so, hi, and good on you for being frugal. It’s actually much easier to have an expensive look than you might think, so long as you follow a few easy rules.
This is probably the biggest tip for making budget-friendly jewelry look expensive. You want to keep everything simple and relatively understated. Think about it. Simple pieces of everyday jewelry always look more expensive than they are because they have subtle designs and don’t draw the wrong kind of attention.
Think about this in reverse. Just because something costs a lot of money doesn’t mean it looks expensive (or good at all). In fact, the most expensive pieces can often look ridiculous. If it’s true that over-the-top expensive pieces can look cheap, it stands to reason that simple and affordable pieces may be able to look more expensive than they are.
Avoid Real Diamonds
We don’t have to tell you that real diamonds cost real money. Not terribly budget-friendly. Also, the ethical concerns are there as well. Natural diamonds aren’t the most sustainable, and the ethics of them are dicey at best. Add on to the fact that they cost a ton, and avoiding them is a no-brainer for those trying to get an expensive look on a budget.
Choose the Classics
In the same way that simple and minimal pieces look more expensive than they are, the classics also operate in that vein. Handed-down rings look cool because they’re classics. They’re pieces that have stood the test of time. So, when you opt for stacked wedding rings with classic styling, they’re always going to look more expensive than they are, no matter the price tag. Luckily, the price tag can be quite affordable, so win-win.
Pick Plated Pieces
Hey, who has to know? Seriously, it’s about the look, not about the actual material. Now, sure, plated pieces won’t hold up as well as real gold or silver. You know that, and we know that. However, consider the math of it. Something plated won’t hold up as long as something real, but when it’s so much cheaper, who cares? If you have to replace it every five to 10 years, you’ll still spend so much less, and you have the built-in opportunity for a style refresh as well.
The one thing to note here is hypoallergenic concerns. While most people are going to be fine, those with severe allergies or highly sensitive skin may want to pass over this one. Plated options aren’t as hypoallergenic as the real thing. For nearly everyone, that’s not a big deal. However, if you have severe allergic reactions, talk to a doctor before choosing plated over the real thing.
This certainly isn’t an option for everyone, but it’s one worth exploring for some. If you want to buy fine jewelry without paying an exorbitant price, buying used is an option. Now, you do have to be careful if you’re going this route. Only buy from reputable sources to ensure authenticity.
Even when buying used, though, you still may spend a lot of money. While plenty of luxury brand pieces devalue over time, that’s not a guarantee. In fact, some pieces retain or even increase in value over time. While you can definitely get a deal buying used, don’t assume you’ll save hundreds of dollars every time you buy a used piece of fine jewelry.
Sometimes it doesn’t come down to what you buy. It comes down to how you wear it. It’s so easy for an outfit to look busy — and therefore cheap — when you do way too much all at once. In the same way that we’re promoting that you opt for simple, classic pieces, you also want to err on the side of less is more when putting them on.
Having too many accessories is a surefire way to make your expensive-looking pieces look cheap and uncoordinated. Now, if you aren’t sure how to mix and match jewelry, fear not. You can start small with just one or two pieces and slowly work your way up as you learn. In fact, that’s the way we recommend going about it.
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Really, it is all about how you wear your pieces. If you buy the classics, pick simple styles and don’t do too much all at once, we guarantee people will think you spent a paycheck on your outfit. Luckily, you didn’t! Now, you can let everyone you know in on the secret and save all your friends some serious money in the process.
Lucy is a fashion blogger with an interest in all things style-related. She loves trying out different styles and adapting them to her own life; she also likes to share what she’s learned along the way.