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Getting the Quiet Luxury Jewelry Look (On a Budget)

Written by Anna Currell
October 26, 2023

The quiet luxury trend is all the rage right now, emphasizing high-quality investment pieces that are unfussy, sophisticated, and often minimalist. The understated elegance of certain jewelry can complete your quiet luxury look, and even though some pieces come with designer price tags, it’s possible to achieve the effect for less. With savvy shopping techniques and key budget buys, you can enjoy high-end elegance without the high cost you might expect. In this article, we’ll give you tips and tricks for how to achieve the quiet luxury look without breaking the bank.

What is Quiet Luxury?

Quiet luxury refers to an understated style of high-end clothing, accessories, and jewelry that exude refined elegance. Unlike flashy, over-the-top jewelry dripping in diamonds and gems, quiet luxury jewelry uses minimalist designs and exceptional craftsmanship to convey sophistication and refinement. These jewelry pieces tend to highlight simplicity with precious metals, fine gemstones, and other luxe materials.

The hallmarks of quiet luxury jewelry include clean lines, delicate styling, neutral color palettes, and a focus on superb quality. Popular metals include white, yellow, or rose gold, typically measuring at least 18K. The gems used in quiet luxury jewelry tend to be diamonds or precious stones like sapphires, and they often feature conservative cuts in practical but pretty settings. These details result in timeless, versatile jewelry that can be dressed up or down and worn everyday for years or even decades. The pared-back, minimalist look expertly blends luxury with understated elegance.

But How Do I Get a Luxury Look On a Budget?

It’s absolutely possible to achieve the quiet luxury look on a budget. At its core, this trend emphasizes well-made, timeless pieces — to achieve it, you’ll want to invest in a few versatile, high-quality pieces designed to last a lifetime instead of blowing your budget on lots of trendy fast fashion jewelry. Timeless pieces like diamond studs, tennis bracelets, gold hoops, and dainty chains can prove more affordable in the long run; cost per wear skyrockets when you invest in pieces that are made to last.

The best way to achieve the luxury look on a budget is to create a capsule jewelry collection of 10-15 jewelry items in neutral tones. You can always add or subtract trendier accessory pieces each season while you mix and match your core pieces year-round. A curated collection reduces waste and improves cost per wear over time, so you can create the quiet luxury look without spending a fortune.

Key Jewelry Pieces for the Quiet Luxury Look

How do you build a quiet luxury capsule collection? Start by investing in a few key pieces. Here are some of the best options to look for:

  • Simple gold hoop earrings are an essential quiet luxury item. Opt for slim, minimalist hoops in 18-24K yellow or white gold for an elegant everyday look, and stick to between 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch widths.
  • Thin gold necklaces are perfect for layering or wearing alone. Look for dainty chains, pendants, and chokers in solid gold (so you don’t have to worry about replating). Opt for petite links, simple pendants, and chains measuring 18 inches or shorter.
  • Single stone rings like solitaires and signet rings convey discreet luxury by highlighting one exceptional gemstone such as a diamond, sapphire, or emerald. Keep settings low profile to allow the stone to shine without drawing too much attention.
  • Tennis bracelets feature a straightforward row of diamonds for instantly refined sparkle. Go for a slender bracelet with around one carat’s worth of small, high quality stones.
  • Minimalist gold cuff bracelets make a sophisticated but delicate statement. Hammered, smooth, or twisted cuffs in gold measuring 18K or higher perfectly capture the quiet luxury aesthetic.

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Shopping Tips for Luxury on a Budget

While you’re shopping for your new favorite pieces, here are a few strategies that will help you achieve the quiet luxury look without spending a fortune:

Sales and promotions

Check the sale sections of high-end jewelry stores for discounted designer pieces. Look to brands like Tiffany & Co., Cartier, and Van Cleef & Arpels for clearance pieces from past seasons. These have the timeless appeal of quiet luxury without the hefty price tag. Also sign up for brand newsletters to make sure you’re aware of seasonal promotions and major events like Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, and Black Friday sales.

Shop off the beaten path

Peruse resale shops, pawn shops, and jewelry consignment stores for pre-owned pieces that look like new. Sites like The RealReal offer authenticated second-hand luxury items so you know you’re getting the real (ahem) deal. You can also search websites like eBay and Etsy for secondhand and vintage finds. It’s always a good idea to look at seller ratings and product details closely to ensure authenticity, and check return policies before buying from a vendor online.

Choose the sustainable option

Another great way to keep costs low is shopping for lab-created diamonds and gemstones. They don’t just look exactly the same, they have the same chemical properties as mined stones. And most importantly, lab-created gemstones can cost about 30-40% less than their naturally occurring counterparts. Similarly, recycled metals are an excellent choice for quiet luxury on a budget. 

With some savvy shopping skills, you can build a collection of quiet luxury jewelry essentials that appear far pricier than they actually are and are strong enough to last you a lifetime. Splurge strategically on one statement piece then complete the look with budget-friendly layering pieces for everyday refined elegance. Once you’ve built your collection, have your pieces professionally cleaned twice a year to make sure they stand the test of time.

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