Affordable fine jewelry may sound like an oxymoron, but thanks to a recent boom in direct-to-consumer brands, the landscape is changing. And thanks to the advent of Instagram, it feels as though new brands are popping up every week with an interesting twist to stand out from the pack. Read on for seven of my favorites-from one that focuses solely on engagement rings to one that's priced depending on the weight of the piece on the day you want to shop.
Based in Los Angeles, CA, Ceremony focuses specifically on rings for special occasions. Wedding? Engagement? Graduation? Either way, Ceremony describes their pieces as “a collection of rings for marking new traditions.” And with its direct-to-consumer model, Ceremony minimizes the markup of their 18 Karat gold and precious stone bands.
Often called the “Rent the Runway” for fine jewelry, Flont lets you try pieces before you buy them. Choose from three types of memberships, Fine, Fine X, and 3-day rentals starting at $229 per month. Depending on your membership, you can borrow up to a certain amount in jewels and swap them at any time or return your jewels in three days. If you end up falling in love with any pieces, you can pay to keep what you love, minus the rental fee.
This brand believes “You shouldn't have to choose between high quality, fair pricing and doing good,” so they create jewelry made of durable materials (14 and 18 Karat gold, Japanese pearls, S1 clarity diamonds) through sustainable production methods. Shop individual pieces or try Curate by AUrate, a just-launched box service from the brand. Here’s how it works: Take a style quiz and AUrate will send you five pieces free of charge. Take a week to figure out what you love and return what you don’t. You’ll only be charged for the individual pieces that you decide to keep.
Vrai and Oro
Though the brand launched in 2014, it’s their latest development that’s caught our attention: Design Studio. Here, you can play engagement ring designer working with more than 3,500 style combinations to create your perfect ring. The diamonds come from Diamond Foundry - a Silicon Valley-based firm that produces lab-grown diamonds using solar technology-and acquired Vrai & Oro in 2017. V&O works with Diamond Foundry, which cultivates real diamonds above ground in San Francisco. Once your ring is designed, it's made in Los Angeles and then sent to you. Perfect for those who truly can’t stand shopping IRL.
Follow enough Insta-influencers and you’re bound to see one wearing a piece from Mejuri, a Canadian fine jewelry company that makes items you can wear everyday. Prices are lower than traditional luxury brands, meaning you can stock up on the pieces you love.
The Last Line
Color, color, and more color-this is where this DTC brand shines. Sure you can find your regular gold hoops and eternity bands, but TLL's rainbow tennis bracelets and necklaces are what the brand is becoming known for. That, and the enthusiastic celebrity fanbase, which includes Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Rachel Zoe, and more.
Unlike other brands mentioned here, Menē works with 24-Karat gold. Each piece is priced based on the real-time value of the pure gold weight, plus a design and manufacturing premium, which means that the price for a piece can change depending on the day. According to the site, "this premium is never more than 20 percent of the precious metal value each day. The result: a $500 Menē ring will have at least $400 in gold or platinum value at the time of purchase while $100 is the revenue earned by Menē."