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While we’ve been taught that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, costume jewelry has truly come into its own — capturing a place on women’s wrists, necks and ears — and even stealing a piece of our hearts. Just the words alone — "gems" and "jewels" — sound juicy and fill us with glee! And the best part: These covetable accents are often as affordable as they are innovative.
So whether you’re looking to bring on the bling, or want to add some sparkle with a sentimental piece, Bobbie Thomas, TODAY Style editor and author of the Buzz for “In Touch Weekly,” has just the jewelry for you!
Colorful statements Cut crystals: A burst of raw beauty! Mother Nature's precious stones add to the kaleidoscope of color this season. Normally these natural wonders are a summer staple, but thick, chunky chains and gilded gold accents give these pieces a decidedly fall presence. (Cuff $25-$180, AvMaxAccessories.com; Necklaces $60-$400, CCSkye.com; and Omnatura rings $130, 877-310-8442)Eclectic enamels: From ornate, Indian-inspired necklaces to vibrant bangles reminiscent of colorful cultures, painted pieces prevail this season. While we often forgo these weighty accents in warm weather, global jewelry feels just right this fall. So stack on the substance, and liven up your limbs! (Bangles $20-$125, jcrew.com; Rings & Bracelet by Noir $175-$200, 323-852-0520) Abstract art: The craft fair meets industrial innovation, combining to produce magnificent metalwork for our pleasure! Cleopatra-like collars and asymmetrical elements are just a few characteristics that make these items must-haves. Worthy of being on display at a gallery, these unique designs will demand attention. (Nine West pieces $45-$60, Macys.com; Salviati glass jewelry $85-$700, 212-625-8390)Jumbo gems: The perfect pieces to pop against a little black dress, these brilliant baubles can be considered quite chic. The key is to keep it simple — let your jewelry be the star, and wear your jumbo gems with a dark or neutral hue. One piece can literally transform an outfit! (Yochi Designs $25-$128, 212-947-7826; Banana Republic $28-$68, bananarepublic.com) Edgy accents Mesh and multi chains: Slippery, slinky or coiled, these intertwined and layered accents are seriously sexy. Mesh and braided lariats can mimic a men’s tie or serve as a sleek scarf. And when it comes to chains, multiple strands and larger links look better. Either way — metal is having a moment, and we’re loving it! (Lotta Stensson's Chained Love $22-$200 LottaNYC.com; RJ Graziano $75-$325 (212) 685-3737; Pono by Joan Goodman $60-$400 (866) 366-7666)Season of studs: There’s no getting around it — studs are the standout trend of the season. When it comes to jewelry, designer Wendy Nichol has managed to make these fashion-forward grommets extremely wearable. Her sophisticated studs are a hit in Hollywood with stylish celebs such as Drew Barrymore, Mandy Moore, and Cameron Diaz ($80-$500 wendynicholnyc.com). Meredith Kahn's Made Her Think collection is also giving Tinseltown a little edge. Her spooky cool collections spin stories of love and life, all inspired by Mexico's Day of the Dead. Angelina Jolie, Eva Mendes and Kate Hudson adore her symbolic use of skulls and hearts ($35-$600 MadeHerThink.com). Pair either of these designers with something soft, such as an oversized sweater, and you’ll have simply struck the perfect combination!Nighttime noir: Lee Angel's black baubles and pewter pieces are staking a claim on the fashion scene, striking all notions of sweet aside. While gothic chic adornments are evening’s edgiest accent - don't underestimate these dark designs, you won’t be able to slither through the night undetected ($95-$800, LeeAngel.com).Deco designs Modern vintage: Art Deco designs were ahead of their time, and these pieces from the past are having a modern moment. Joined together by their geometric nature, the crisp, clean lines can truly take you from day to evening. Whether you want to add bling to your basic jeans and T-shirt, or select a style to pair with your fancy frocks, the classic aesthetic will serve you well.
Lia Sophia’s Rue Royale collection has a regal flair that will instantly make you feel like a queen ($150-$3,600, liasophia.com), while Ben Amun ($150-$350, BenAmun.com) and Givenchy's ($50-$350, Macys.com), and Nola Singer's ($220-$600, JewelrybyNola.com) collections have also brought old Hollywood glamour back to the future. And for the ultimate in versatility Kenneth Jay Lane's pave-like crushed pieces will encrust your lobes, neck or fingers ($75-$500 saks.com).Powerful wordsMeaningful messages: Style is an act of self-expression, so why not say something to the world with your personal pieces? Share the Word jewelry will let you spread your very own positive message, while Marley’s stackable sayings offer inspirational alliterations. Mirror Me affirmation charms are written backwards so that you can read their meaning in the mirror, and Erica Anenberg’s Braille pieces provide a unique design on the outside, with the translation on the inside, for you to keep close by. Sayings such as “Love is Blind” and “Blind Faith” make a powerful personal impact. (Share the Word jewelry $60-$420, stwapparel.com; Erica Anenberg $100-$190, Mirror Me $55, and Marley $20-$85, all available at shopIntuition.com)Bobbie’s Buzz: While Lotta Stensson has long been known for her fashion designs, the affordable accessories she has stashed in her stores are one of my favorite best-kept secrets. Rather than sifting through street jewelry on your own, if you’re ever in New York or L.A., stop into her shop, where she’s handpicked the hottest items. I promise you one thing – you won't walk away empty-handed!