Injecting a simple jeans and tee look with a little oomph isn’t the easiest of tasks, unless, of course, you have the best jewelry brands at your disposal. There’s a reason jewels are typically considered the final touch—everything from huggies to pendant necklaces and even dainty drop earrings can add a bit of dazzle to the otherwise drab, and while classic fine jewelry brands like Cartier, Bulgari, and Tiffany & Co. are undoubtedly the heavyweights, they’re not your only option. Thanks to rising jewelry stars, there’s plenty of shine to go around. Ahead, the best jewelry brands you should be paying close attention to.
The name Monica Vinader might make you think of the royals, as both Kate Middleton (who’s worn the Siren earrings, below) and Meghan Markle (a fan of the bracelets) have been seen wearing her pieces. But there’s a lot more to the line than being a palace fave. In 2020 the brand made a turn toward sustainability and began prioritizing materials like recycled sterling silver and recycled gold vermeil—as well as sustainably sourced diamonds, gemstones, and pearls.
Many brands are prioritizing laboratory-grown diamonds because they use sustainable ingredients and are less expensive than mined diamonds. That’s precisely why Idyl, an emerging Belgium-based modular jewelry brand, features only lab-grown diamonds in its handmade pieces. (For the uninitiated, the modular design means you can start with a base piece and mix and match add-ons for a near-custom look.) With A-listers like Jessica Alba, Eva Longoria, and Jamie Chung all wearing Idyl, this is a name that won’t stay small for long.
This AAPI-owned brand Kinn is all about bringing you the classics. Those everyday, heirloom-inspired herringbone chains and signet rings look decades old—and you might keep them for that long too. We’re especially into the brand’s anklet as a subtle nod to the ’90s moment. (But you can go full Delia’s catalog by adding thin slouchy socks and low-top lace-ups too.)
Who’s double-tapped anytime they see Christina Tung’s brand SVNR pop up in their feed? (Guilty.) It’s understandable: SVNR‘s playful designs (think milky quartz earrings or pastel rainbow necklace) are total eye candy. But that’s not the only reason they deserve a spot in your jewelry box. The sustainability-minded designer also works with used, upcycled materials to craft statement pieces that you’ll reach for when you’re in the mood to stand out.
Gossip Girl may be partially responsible for putting designer Jennifer Behr on the map—our favorite moody debutante Leighton Meester loved herself an intricate Behr headband—but the designer’s wedding-worthy hair accessories and ethereal jewelry have kept her at the top. Since 2005, the Brooklyn-based jeweler has continued to create pieces that look dreamy but still have that touch of downtown.
You might already be a fan of Mejuri’s low-key aesthetic, but we’re still stocking up on everything from stacked rings to tennis bracelets. CEO Noura Sakkijha cofounded the brand with her husband, and together they’ve created covetable direct-to-consumer pieces that are worth all the street cred, in part because they look way more expensive than they are. Expect everyday trendy jewelry that’s surprisingly affordable.
Vrai diamonds are grown in an energy-efficient foundry in the Pacific West, then cut and polished to the highest of standards by top-notch cutters in Belgium. The result? Truly breathtaking pieces, from special-occasion carats to everyday staples. The shopping process for engagement rings is hyper specific enough to satisfy even the pickiest among us—simply select from 15 shapes (round, oval, pear, baguette, emerald, marquise, and more), then choose from three metal bands.
If you get West Coast feels from looking at Tenisha Wilde’s all-gold line, you’d be correct—Ten Wilde is practically a showcase for her California roots (she’s from NorCal). Pieces are versatile while feeling elevated, ranging from gold hoop earrings to medallion pearl necklaces that easily punch up easygoing looks.
One part ear-piercing studio and one part jewelry brand (it did Kaia Gerber’s snakebites a couple of years ago), Studs is the place to go for those intricate piercings that run up your lobe. You’ll find, yes, studs in every style from conch to helix to rook piercings—all at wallet-friendly price points. The brand is based in New York, so naturally you’ll find little MTA-card motifs and bodega coffee cups among its many offerings.
The Gorjana jewelry line is one you’ve likely seen out in the wild. It’s incredibly popular among the big names (Michelle Obama is a fan, NBD) with zodiac coin necklaces, rose gold signet rings, and jewel-toned studs leading the charge. Give the layering set a go and build your lewk from there.
It’s hard to believe Los Angeles cool girl Amanda Thomas launched her brand Luv AJ over 15 years ago—it still feels so fresh and relevant. You won’t catch any minimalist vibes here; her aesthetic is more bold bling than anything else. Consider it the ultimate going-out sparkle, since a star hoop door knocker set or double coin charm necklace is hard to compete with.
Though Lele Sadoughi is practically the queen of ’80s-inspired headbands, which you can find emblazoned with pearls, crystals, and knots, she’s been doing a lot more than producing whimsical hair accessories. The designer honed her craftsmanship skills at J.Crew, where she helped launch its own jewelry line, before striking out on her own in 2012. These days you’ll find her playing with color and texture within each piece of jewelry she creates.
During a trip to Ethiopia, the founders of Able met and trained two former commercial sex workers to make scarves as a means of helping them earn a salary. The scarves took off, and Able quickly established itself as a pioneer in ethical fashion, guaranteeing a living wage to all employees—even sharing those salaries with the public. The Nashville-based brand has opened a second headquarters, in Ethiopia, and since expanded into shoes, clothing, and delicate, minimalist-minded jewelry—so you can buy your huggies and feel good about it too.
Whether you’re hunting for diamond rings or just swapping bangles for high-quality bar bracelets, Lightbox is the spot for lab-grown diamonds. All diamonds over .20 carats have been quality-checked by the brand, which even provides proof; the brand uses a laser inscription to identify that each rock has been inspected for cut, color, clarity, and, of course, carat. Keep your eye out for the half-carate Pierced Pendant set in a gleaming white gold—it’s a true sparkler.