3 Dead Giveaways of Cheap Jewelry

Gold Rings


Wolf Circus

We don't like to use dirty words here, but today we'll make an exception because we're going to talk about—gasp—cheap jewelry. You know the kind. Rings that turn your fingers green, necklaces that clank loudly against your other more subdued chains with cacophonous abandon. What we're not here to talk about, however, is why you have to spend an exorbitant amount of money on your next jewelry purchase. Instead, we're tackling the dead giveaways of a cheap bauble and how to avoid them (while still avoiding an expensive price tag).

We tapped the founder and designer of cult-favorite label Wolf Circus, Fiona Morrison, for her insights on the subject. The brand is on the cusp of launching its fine jewelry sister label Ok Fine, but the current assortment offers affordable luxury pieces for the modern woman. "Since chains are usually the first to tarnish, [I] suggest buying jewelry that uses gold filled or sterling silver chains," Morrison tells Who What Wear. "Also as gemstones can be fairly expensive, pearls are a more price-friendly alternative and are also on trend right now. Overall, investing in some quality staples like gold hoops and simple signet rings and then layering with some more costume favorites [is the best option]."

Morrison adds that investing in a jewelry polishing cloth "can work wonders because tarnishing is caused by general wear, and just like your clothes, giving it a good clean will help."

Ahead, find out what Morrison considers the top three identifying factors of cheap jewelry to be and shop our picks for affordable options that look expensive.

Giveaway 1: The band is thin and flimsy.

If you're in the market for a new ring, take time to hold the band, give it a squeeze, and ensure it doesn't feel too flimsy or thin. 

Giveaway 2: The metal looks super bright and shiny. 

This is one of the biggest giveaways but also, thankfully, one of the easiest to catch before purchasing. If the metal looks unbelievably shiny, then you might want to skip it.

Giveaway 3: It turns your skin green.

There's (almost) nothing worse than taking your ring off only to discover your finger looks like you've developed gangrene. Hard pass!

Up Next: Find out which six indie jewelry brands earn our editors the most compliments. 

Related Stories