Filed under Shopping Guide
Written by Kate-Marie Thorpe
It’s official: We’ve entered the era where being chic and affordable is not just a wish; it’s a reality.
So many of our mother’s and grandmother’s pieces have either been handed down through the generations, or were purchased with quality and longevity in mind — we’re talking solid gold, 24K and not a cubic zirconia in sight. In a complete 180, it feels like we were brought up on Lovisa, Diva and Prouds rather than Catier and Tiffany.
While the latter designer jewellers may still be on our Lotto win wishlist, thankfully the market has opened up a new era of affordable, long-lasting jewellery; think gold vermeil, water-resistant and ethically sourced gemstones for a price you won’t have to put on AfterPay.
We’ve compiled our list of the best jewellery your money can buy (and still afford to pay your rent). Most are Australian, many of them under $500 and all have their eye firmly on sustainable, ethical practices.
Best For: Ethical Elegance with Extra Sparkle
The best gift you can buy yourself is diamonds, and you no longer have to take out a loan to do so. Renowned for its commitment to ethically sourced diamonds, distinguished luxury Australian jeweller Affinity Diamonds seamlessly blends classic and contemporary designs for the modern accessoriser. From fine diamond solitaire necklaces, to regal emerald cut studs and monogrammable bracelets, there’s plenty of gorgeous keepsakes to snag for under $1,000.
Founded on the vision of creating timeless pieces that celebrate the beauty of responsibly mined gemstones, the brand’s dedication to ethical practices extends to transparent sourcing. Affinity Diamonds is one of the few traditional jewellers within Australia who have a workshop on-site (in Sydney), hand making all their pieces—which you can visit upon your consultation. Fun fact: They’ve also been the leading manufacturer for the NRL Premiership Rings since 2015!
Our Pick: Fine Round Diamond Bracelet, $700.00
Priscilia wears Affinity Diamonds. Photography by Lucy Alcorn.
Priscilia wears Sarah Gardner Jewellery, NAJO, In Like Finn, Alana Maria Jewellery and Francesca Jewellery. Photography by Lucy Alcorn.
Best For: Flair, Flounce and Craftsmanship
Eclectic and electric, this contemporary jewellery brand was born in Mexico and nurtured in Australia. NAJO seamlessly fuses Latin American flair with contemporary design, and draws inspiration from ‘Mother Nature’s artistry.’ Known for its sterling silver craftsmanship, the Redfern-based NAJO places emphasis on ethical sourcing and sustainable production.
The brand’s creations are a testament to the intersection of cultural influences, resulting in jewellery that is both distinctive and socially responsible. Turn every head you walk past in their droplet earrings (Bottega, who?), hammered earrings and Y2K-friendly birthstone rings, all for under $500.
Our Pick: Aura Two-tone Citrine Ring , $149.00
Best For: Exquisite, Colourful Keepsakes To Celebrate
In an unsuspecting, almost mystical shopfront in Paddington, Sarah Gardner Jewellery stands as an ode to handcrafted uniqueness. Since 2011, the jeweller has been rooted in the foundation of sustainability, and Gardner draws inspiration from the land, sprinkling her designs with opals, gems and locally-sourced diamonds.
Each meticulously created piece reflects the brand’s commitment to quality craftsmanship and environmentally conscious production, even recycling all of their metals in-house. Precious pieces include Carnivale-inspired rings, astrological sun and moon cuties and dainty daisy rings for the everyday — all for under $1,000.
Our Pick: Rubble Birthstone Necklace , $670.00
Best For: Versatility Meets Luxury
Modern jewellery company Francesca Jewellery effortlessly intertwine elegance with a modern flair and real heart; after all, it was established by a sister duo, Hannah & Rachel Vasicek. Creating versatile and durable pieces, the Tasmanian-founded jeweller draws inspiration from global trends, with the intention of making quality and ethical jewellery accessible to everyone.
Experimenting with mixed metals, gemstones and new takes on classic shapes, Francesca Jewellery may be most well-know for their signature lockets: engravable, personalised and precious. With the majority of their collection coming in under $500, it’s worth investing in their dream pieces that will last for years to come. Keep an eye out for their ever-popular Advent Calendar come Christmas as well!
Our Pick: Etch Rope 14k Gold-Plated Necklace , $349.00
Best For: Timeless Simplicity
Bondi darling Alana Maria entices you into a world where simplicity meets sophistication. Her warm, inviting and effortless jewellery brand celebrates minimalism, commitment to timeless design and responsible sourcing. Think freshwater pearls, European-inspired hoops, chunky curb chain bracelets and—of course—the viral soldered ‘forever bracelets’.
Each piece is crafted to effortlessly complement any style, reflecting the brand’s dedication to minimalism and ethical production. With core pieces available in both gold vermeil and solid gold pieces, make this your go-to choice for understated elegance and a conscious approach to personal adornment.
Our Pick: Croissant Earrings – Solid Gold , $399.00
Best For: Top Quality Pieces with Grace and Charm
If you aren’t one to ever leave the house without embellishment, you’ll love Medley Jewellery, who embrace the art of storytelling through eclectic designs. Designed to be treasured and worn everyday, this Brisbane-based jeweller create a diverse range of pieces, working with the ethos ‘Worn for Nobody’ (but you!).
Inspired by our antipodean surroundings and crafted using a blend of traditional and contemporary techniques, Medley Jewellery promotes fair trade and sustainable practices like using conflict-free and responsibly sourced gold. Each piece tells a unique narrative, and our favourites include their emerald ear stack accessories, elegant maxi-dome hoops and chunky chain-inspired collection — all for under $300.
Our Pick: Maxi Dome Hoops , $159.00
In Like Finn
Best For: Sustainable & Unique Modernism
In Like Finn are the new kids on the long-lasting jewellery block, founded in the Illawarra by PR powerhouse Tahlia Crinis and her sister, Sian. It’s inspired by the jewellery they used to wear in their teens, with a playful, grown-up twist at a purse-friendly price-point. Basically, our dream line.
Made with durable materials that make each piece waterproof and long lasting, each unique piece will transport you back to better times, with names like ‘Pretty Woman’, ‘Fatal Attraction’ and ‘A Cinderella Story’. Anything but understanded, these pieces scream glam while exuding a chicness that makes them extremely wearable with everyday outfits. Check out their range featuring charming snakes, dainty pearls and gold hearts inspired by that necklace from ‘Love Actually’ (we’ll never forgive you, Alan Rickman).
Our Pick: In Like Finn Point Break Hoops , $99.00
Priscilia wears Francesca Jewellery, Alana Maria, In Like Finn and NAJO. Photography by Lucy Alcorn.
Priscilia wears Rosefield Watches, Furla and Affinity Diamonds. Photography by Lucy Alcorn.
Best For: Minimalism with Modern Edge
This is not your grandmother’s watch: Rosefield’s signature timepieces and curated jewellery are celebrated for Dutch minimalism with a New York edge. With a commitment to quality craftsmanship and accessible luxury, their collections are influenced by the cosmopolitan vibe of their founding cities.
Their pieces exude effortless style meets timeless appeal, and every piece tells a modern story of an era gone by. Giving Gatsby glamour with their Octagonal faces, each watch is made with quality Japanese movements and comes with a 2 year warranty—though we’re betting on pieces this special lasting for many years to come.
Our Pick: Octagon Gold Watch , $229.00
Best For: Designer Craftsmanship, Timeless Elegance
Italian designer Furla (yes, that Furla), renowned for its luxury accessories, also delve into the realm of timepieces and jewellery with a focus on their signature precision craftsmanship. Drawing inspiration from the brand’s rich heritage, Furla’s jewellery collection exemplifies elegance and sophistication.
With an eye on sustainability, Furla integrates ethical practices into its production, ensuring that each piece reflects the brand’s commitment to quality and responsible luxury. All their watches come in at under $500, which is a small price to pay for a designer piece with major clout!
Our Pick: Furla Essential Watch , $349
Sarah & Sebastian
Best For: Contemporary Heirlooms
It’s been the name on everyone’s lips (and wrists) since its inception, and for good reason. Australian jewellers Sarah & Sebastian are celebrated for its contemporary and personalised jewellery designs with dainty, demure finesse. Perhaps most well-known for their birthstone, initial and petite ranges, their recent venturing into the world of soldered accessories has been nothing short of sensational (see: Mecca now offering this service at its flagship stores)
With an unparalleled commitment to craftsmanship and ethical sourcing, the brand blends traditional techniques with innovative concepts. Each piece is a reflection of the founders’ dedication to creating modern heirlooms, making Sarah & Sebastian a choice for those seeking chic, unique and ethically crafted jewellery. You truly should spoil yourself with a charm bracelet, or at the very least, their intricate cartilage studs.
Our Pick: The Charm Bracelet , from $820.00
Best For: Artistry with an Edge
There’s something in the water at Bondi, with Porter Jewellery also calling the beachside suburb home to its boutique of curated jewels. Crafted in gold vermeil, their accessories boast longevity with being tarnish resistant, water resistant (no pesky pre-shower take-off) and best of all — won’t turn green!
Fashion-forward and designed to make an impact, their distinct creations are constructed with precision and creativity: elegance meets rebellion in a fusion of wearable art. Porter Jewellery also values ethical practices, ensuring that its designs not only captivate but also adhere to responsible sourcing. Opt for their sculptural earrings, futuristic bracelets or fob necklaces and invest in a statement piece that will last.
Our Pick: Bones Ring , $120.00
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