Pretty, Grown-Up Jewelry Under $200 to Buy For Yourself

For my 13th birthday, my aunt bought me a real pearl bracelet. I admired its undersea glow around my grubby little wrist, but to be honest, I was much more interested in my set of pink and black Hot Topic rubber wristbands. It took me about 10 years to realize just how lucky I was to own such a classy piece, and by then, the long-suffering elastic had worn right through — I had nothing but a handful of loose freshwater pearls to call my own. There are a few lessons in that, one of which is, "Don't spend real money on 13-year-olds."

Whether you grew up dripping in diamonds or subsiding on naught but the occasional dangly earrings shoplifted from Claire's, there comes a time in every young woman's life when she should start buying herself nice jewelry. And a little bird told me that that time is now, while all those holiday checks from kind older relatives are burning a hole in your pocket.

by Tori Telfer

Fierce gold hoops

Gold hoop earrings are an obvious classic, which is why it’s so cool to see them given a bit of an edge.

Aoko Su Dagger Earrings, Gold Fill, $82, Catbird

Something from Tiffany & Co.

So you’ve always dreamed of opening up a tiny, robin’s egg blue box and finding something shiny inside? Own it. Thankfully for the liberal arts budgets among us, not everything that Tiffany sells is encrusted in priceless yellow diamonds.

Elsa Peretti Open Heart Pendant, $135, Tiffany

Dangerously cool baguette earrings

Baguette-cut diamonds became popular in the 1920s, AKA the era we all secretly, mentally inhabit. This edgy set is composed of vintage black rhinestones, the better to Charleston in.

Black Baguette Studs, $25, Erica Weiner

A Hollywood-worthy necklace

For those nights when only strapless gowns and fur coats will do.

Alexis Bittar Looped Collar Necklace, $195, Saks Fifth Avenue

A cool little ring

It’ll cheer you up every time your hands flash before your eyes.

Cashmere Chain Ring, $40-50, Erica Weiner

A (rhinestone) tennis bracelet

Contrary to popular belief, this bracelet will not improve your serve. The name came about after tennis goddess Chris Evert broke her dainty bracelet during the 1987 U.S. Open and, priorities firmly in place, asked officials to stop the match so that she could recover her scattered diamonds.

Fallon Graduated Tennis Bracelet, $190, barneys

Glamorous pearl earrings

Wear them with your grungiest brunch clothes.

Freshwater Cultured Pearl Vintage-Inspired Earrings, $115, Blue Nile

A set of ethereal bangles

Cheap bangles have a time and a place, but certain occasions demand a wristful of something a little more fairytale.

Silver and Gold Stacking Bangles, $168, etsy

A tiny diamond ring

They’re a girl’s best friend, remember? These rings are small and delicate enough to be worn on any finger, not just that one.

White Diamond 14k Gold Stacking Ring, $189, etsy