Skip to main content

We all know that jewelry can be expensive. Whether you’re talking about an engagement ring or a pair of earrings, the cost can add up quickly. But, fear not! You can still look great without breaking the bank, you just have to know the right tips and tricks.

In this post, I am sharing nine ways we can make our cheap (let’s call it frugal) jewelry look expensive. I specifically cover what kind of jewelry to wear and how to wear it so it looks like it cost a lot more than it actually did. Let’s have a look!

Lab-created Jewelry 

Starting with the favorites, choose lab-created jewelry. This is my #1 advice. Look for alternative gemstones and diamonds. They are still real stones but, instead of being mined, are artificially created in the lab.

I have some pieces here to show you from MSBLUE. They specialize in moissanite which is a lab created diamond. Some say these lab-created diamonds look better than the real diamonds. They are incredibly sparkly, durable, and flawless in color. In fact, if diamonds are the hardest material in the world, moissanite is 2nd place which makes it pretty much unbreakable. 

It costs a fraction of the price and the only complaint I read about it is that it’s overly shiny. I don’t know about you, but I thought that was the whole point of jewelry, to be shiny, but to each their own.

1.5 CT. French Pavé Marquise Moissanite Engagement Ring With Hidden Halo
1.5 CT. French Pavé Marquise Moissanite Engagement Ring With Hidden Halo

This particular one here I chose for the unique stone shape. I didn’t have the french marquise cut before so it’s a nice addition to my collection. Of course, you can choose them as engagement rings, but ladies we are in 2023, I’m pretty sure we can buy our own, especially since they are so affordable.

1.5 CT. Emerald And White Sapphire Halo Twist Ring
1.5 CT. Emerald And White Sapphire Halo Twist Ring

I’ve been purchasing lab-created gemstones for some time. This one over here is an example of the emerald gemstone with white lab sapphires. I like to slowly build up on my collection. I usually choose a color and then gradually shop for pieces in this color or I recommend buying for me when it’s gifting time. Right now, I am in the emerald phase.

Replace Statement Pieces With Layers 

At some point we all have or had those big and bold necklaces that overtake the entire cleavage. They look shiny and heavy, giving off the “look at me, look at me” feel. Let’s put that away and instead opt for simple dainty layers. 

Choose three necklaces, without a pendant, in different styles and lengths, and wear them together, making sure they don’t clash over each other. It’s an unstated chic look without looking overpowering. If it’s real gold, even better. 

I like the diversity in designs and thickness, but it should be something you already have. Most necklaces come with pendants, remove them and see how a couple of them look together without anything dangling. 

Alternatively there are simple necklaces already built in layers, with one or two strands of different length so it always sits at perfect distance from each other. I like this one here. It has a few statement lab sapphires added, but still maintains the simplistic look without looking overpowering and cheap.

2.6 CT. Cushion & Marquise Cut Sapphire Halo Layered Necklace
2.6 CT. Cushion & Marquise Cut Sapphire Halo Layered Necklace

Bring Back Gold 

Hey! I am talking about the gold shade. We now have gold plated watches or rose watches which can easily be matched with stud earrings for the classic preppy look. A buttoned shirt, pumps, tailored pants is the timeless effortlessly chic outfit and sometimes you don’t need any more than this. 

Now, while matching the jewelry to your skin undertone is important, I think gold looks good on most people. It’s like a nice tan, flatters most everyone. I am cool toned and I still wear gold and silver shaded jewelry to match my clothes. Now this detail is what matters most to me to create a cohesive image.

Less is More 

We’ve heard this before haven’t we? It applies to so many things in the fashion world doesn’t it? I still see women wear what seems like their entire collection of bracelets all at once, or rings. And I know we talked about layers, but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. 

Focus on one item you want to highlight and make sure every other piece is in a supportive role. Think about it as your main character and the rest are supportive characters which can’t outshine the main one.

4.13 CT. Oval Blue Sapphire Bolo Bracelet With Bezel White Sapphire
4.13 CT. Oval Blue Sapphire Bolo Bracelet With Bezel White Sapphire

Here for example I have this beautiful sapphire bracelet which clearly has the main stone of considerable size and color. Now, look at the shape and size of the rest of the gemstones. They align beautifully behind it, emphasizing it in subtle contrast. 

With such a beautiful bracelet I wouldn’t wear anything else on my hand, no other bracelet or ring. I am a big ring fan and almost always wear one on the right hand, unless I want the bracelet to be centered. I don’t want to look like a show off, which is what people perceive nowadays when someone is wearing too much.  

Let’s Talk About Charms 

I never ever wear them and never have. It’s up to personal taste, of course, but I formed my opinion early on unfortunately with the pandora bracelets. I’m sorry that I am calling them out, but at one point in 2012 I believe they were incredibly popular. They were overpriced then, I think something like $50 a charm, and they might still be now. 

It was a great business model, making you come back to collect more charms from your dog, to ice cream, your favorite hobby, to travel destinations, the number of kids and pets you have, sort of like the car decal stickers you see posted. 

It’s not very charming, it looks pretty cheap,  and they seldom have real resale value. But if you really want to collect, why not pearls on a strand? One for each member of the family. 

Consider Your Clothes

I already talked about the V-neckline and how it can be used as a frame to your necklace. Especially with an elongated style. But if the design of the clothes is really puffy,  has ruffles, or is sheer with layers, wear minimal jewelry so it doesn’t clash and touch with the clothes. It’s the yin yang effect. Jewelry must be worn in tandem to match the clothes in style and color, and opposite in volume. 

Avoid Imitations at All Costs

I would generalize this to everything fashion related. I am 100% against dupes or fakes. I am embarrassed to say how many of these brands are out there, because they are reaching out. Please don’t buy anything fake that is pretending to imitate well known brands. 

If you can’t afford the real one, buy lesser known brands that offer the same quality. Also, remember that the majority of the population can’t afford Chanel earrings. It’s OK, we can survive without them. 

You can clearly see the logo of the brand they try to copy. It’s probably matte, and looks like brass. General rule would be to look where you buy from. If you do indeed want the authentic piece, go directly to that brand’s store, or official website. There are no shortcuts here and counterfeit producers are getting better and better at this.

Mix Different Textures

This tip I’ve read about, but haven’t tried yet. Natural materials sounds interesting, I must admit. This is a casual rustic look. I do like a nice leather strip and wood in the summer months for a tropical getaway perhaps. 

The main idea here is that natural materials in jewelry such as freshwater pearls and even shark teeth with faux leather. It looks real and authentic, which is the sister of expensive. 


Last tip is from Princess Kate. I know that she is in a different dress code than us, but I must admit that seeing her so often with brooches made me want to try one out as well. I like the mobility of it, you can place it anywhere on your jacket or coat, unlike the rest of the jewelry which is limited to your neckline or hands. 

Most often we see them as heirloom gifts, and they are becoming more and more rare and increase their value. Don’t you think? I may be old fashioned here but it’s a statement of authenticity, again, which has the best feature, that probably no one else around you has this brooch.

Thank you to MSBLUE for kindly supporting Chicquette with today’s jewelry. Do check out their website for affordable lab created jewelry. Don’t forget the discount code: chic10 for 10% off site wide. 

I hope you got something new out of this that you can apply next time you want to make cheap jewelry look more expensive and if you haven’t seen the jewelry trends of 2023 yet, it’s also posted on the blog. I’ve also covered the top swimsuit trends for 2023 too.

Leave a Reply