The Minimalist Jewelry Guide for Lazy People (Updated Jan 2019)
For years, I saw fine jewelry as gifts that were bestowed upon you by loved ones. I assumed one had a jeweler or went to a department store to snag some special sparkles. It wasn’t until 2012 when I was meandering through Chelsea Market wondering why none of my loved ones ever gifted me jewels, and Vale Jewelry caught my eye. The appeal was simple, chic, and call it dainty bracelets, necklaces, and earrings. I made my first purchase, an initial “M” bracelet, and Vale kindly shortened the chain in their Midtown workshop.
Since that time, there have been several brands that have cultivated similar aesthetics and focus around quality but without the hefty price tag. Some have even taken the process further and committed to selling direct-to-consumer to achieve even better pricing. The roundup below captures some of my favorites under the criteria that the jewelry be solid gold and endure everyday wear (including sleeping and showering in the pieces). I’m not creative or energetic enough to switch out my jewelry often. I’ve been wearing the same pieces for quite some time and rarely adjust them because I’m lazy.
Vale captured what I wanted out of my everyday jewelry, solid gold, delicate bracelets. Since then, Vale has focused more on delivering more bespoke and higher end designs, moving up their price point on the majority of their collection. While I always eyed their diamond adorned bracelets, I wasn’t interested in spending more than $200. They continue to design unique items but are definitely on the higher end for pricing. The delicate $200 range bracelets I own appear to be discontinued.
Vrai & Oro (V&O)
Vrai & Oro encapsulates Medlare material, explicitly calling out wholesale markups in their process. Their jewelry is made in LA and falls into tiered collections called the Essentials, Black Label, and Wedding. What I like the best, is that of the brands V&O has the most range in accomplishing what you’re looking for. Plain stackable rings? A single stud for that new piercing? A bespoke engagement ring? V&O has something for each of those and with achievable pricing to expand your collection.
The Last Line (TLL)
The Last Line is a vision created by Shelley Sanders (a jewelry industry vet with celebrity ears to help with marketing). I was drawn to their “cut out the markup” stance while searching for a diamond huggie for my ear cartilage. My piercing shop was quoting me $650+ and a cursory look online was telling me the same thing. I snagged a large huggie from TLL for less than half that price. I also found their customer service to be top notch. I had sent them an email to ask what size they recommended for ear cartilage, and they had me take a picture of my ear and send it in before they referenced a size. After I had received my first huggie, I wanted to go bigger (it’s better right?), and they dropped a return label into my email and within a few days I was successfully(?) impersonating as a cool LA girl.
I am cheating a little here. Sachi does not fall under the Medlare purview seeing as I first got them as a gift from S (after I returned the original gift he gave me) on sale from Revolve. However, I routinely wear their earrings and square pavè necklace. I have found the pavè look is an easy way to reduce the cost of solitaire diamonds but achieves a similar dazzle effect. They run sales either directly on their own website or through retailers such as Revolve, so keep on the lookout to add everyday fine pieces to your OOTD.
I believe Gemvera has pivoted since I have purchased with them. At the time, they would send you an insured box to return your own jewelry that you wanted to be reset. I had my mother’s engagement ring reset into a necklace as well as a lone diamond earring bereft of its partner reset into a ring. Since you provide the gemstone, the process and materials for the chain and band were priced favorably. I don’t believe they offer this option anymore, but they do still have customizable jewelry albeit with their own stones.
Something that is a little bit tough about writing for the Medlare is that there are brands I’d like to test, but out both financial and need constraints, I can’t embark on every fun shiny sparkle. With that said, AUrate & Mejuri also run in the same direct-to-consumer circle but additionally have pieces that are sterling silver with gold vermeil overlay. This option works well for those who aren’t as partial to solid gold and want a cheaper price point. I did order some Mejuri solid gold hoops and will update the review after I’ve worn them for some time.
Update: I have had the large solid gold hoops from Mejuri for a few months now and am pretty content with how I am able to wear them. I originally thought they were on the smaller size for a “large” hoop, but now find the size easier to wear during the day and with more outfits. They feel and look quite nice and for $79, I think a great addition to anyone looking for solid gold jewelry.