Gaudy vs. Glam: Guide to Wearing costume Jewelry without looking tacky

David Miller
Sep 29, 2015 · 5 min read

You’re browsing along various websites searching for a new piece of jewelry to add to your collection. Suddenly — you find it. The piece that screams your name. It’s an elaborate piece with large cut diamonds and you simply know those gemstones can’t be authentic. In the pictures, they look so genuine, then you check out the price.

It’s in your price range! You could buy it! Your heart starts racing.

You realize that the diamonds are fake, which creates some concerns. You hover over the “add it to my cart” icon, tempted to click the mouse, then you start second guessing the decision.

“What if it screams fake?” “What if it looks cheap?” These questions race through your mind.

Face it. It’s an art. Not everyone knows how to discover the right piece of costume jewelry that looks expensive. This guide will reveal expert tricks to spotting fake jewelry that doesn’t make you look cheap.

#1: Avoid Shiny Things

Gaudy: Bright and shiny fake metals

Glam: Darker metals

An unfortunately popular trend in the world of cheap costume jewelry is the prevalence of lightweight metal or plastic alloys that are too brightly colored and convey a lightweight and cheap look.

The majority of imitation jewelry is composed of plastics and cheap alloys painted and coated to create the appearance of metal. Don’t worry. It’s still possible to select fraudulent metal that appears expensive.

Seek out pieces that are made with a darker colored metal to achieve a solid and heavy appearance. Dark undertones are sure to add weight, richness and depth to your piece.

#2 Put Away Childish Things

Gaudy: Anything that you would have liked when you were seven years old

Glam: Sophisticated jewelry with sleek and simple designs

Trinkets, lockets, animal pendants and charm bracelets always look cheap. Period.

Even if it’s an expensive Pandora charm bracelet, it will always look cheap when a grown woman wears it. People will always relate these pieces to childhood jewelry.

Dangling earrings with many charms and beads strung with craft wire also fall into this childish category. Steer clear.

#3 Stay Away from Obviously Fake Gems

Gaudy: Plastic imitation gemstones

Glam: Clean cut imitation diamonds

There’s no better way to scream “I’m cheap” than with brightly colored fake gemstones. No matter how you try to justify it to yourself, clear cut plastic will never pass for the real deal. Never.

If you must have gemstones, always choose semi-precious or non-precious stones, clear crystals or other dirty diamonds. Avoid opaque jewels and gems and other cheap plastic crystals like the plague. Seriously.

#4 Just Say No to Cheap Jewelry that Turns You Green

Gaudy: Green stains on your skin from fake jewelry

Glam: Elegant costume jewelry that leaves your skin clear

Guess what? If the skin under your jewelry has become green, people just might realize that it’s fake jewelry (big surprise, right?).

Copper is one of the most common culprits for this occurrence, along with silver and nickel. Avoid these materials when possible. Read more about jewelry allergies here.

Gold hardly ever stains the skin, even for people with fake jewelry allergy. However, when combined with a less expensive metal — it is possible.

How to prevent your skin from turning green from fake jewelry:

1. Get your silver pieces professionally polished from time to time to help prevent the reaction and save your clothes from markings as well

2. Coat jewelry in clear nail polish that serves as a protective barrier between you and the jewelry

3. Limit the length of time in which you wear a piece of jewelry, perhaps only in the evening or for one particular event

4. Always buy quality materials 18 karat gold, platinum and titanium stainless steel whenever possible. Read more about this here.

#5 Don’t Wear Commemorative Jewelry

Gaudy: Half a heart shaped “best friends” necklace

Glam: matching necklaces with simple design

Sorry, but a “best friends” pendant doesn’t look expensive. Ever.

These commemorative jewelry pieces are too immature for a grown woman to wear. Ever.

If you and a friend are looking for meaningful jewelry, find a sleek and classy necklace or bracelet and buy two.

#6 Giant Statement Necklaces are a Big No-No

Gaudy: Giant layered statement necklace with rows of beads, jewels and gems

Glam: Layered necklace with sleek and simple design

The trend is up. Those enormous statement necklaces that became a sort of craze in recent years are fading out of style and need to fade out of your wardrobe as well.

What started as a trend that could supposedly “make” any outfit or “add a touch of sophistication” now does nothing more than scream out to the world “look at me, I’m cheap.”

Totally dominating the scene of your neckline, these huge tribal like baby bib statement necklaces are overbearing. The busy design on these necklaces often features many colors and embellishments that draw the eye and take attention away from anything else you might have done right on your wardrobe. No one will be able to look beyond the giant fashion mistake hanging from your neck.

What type of cheap necklaces should you were? Try a classy choker, lariat, or a layered set that features dainty and delicate necklaces paired together.

#7 Always Err on Side of Caution

When buying costume jewelry, it’s always a fear to end up with that horrible piece that screams fake cheap jewelry. Use this guide to score inexpensive jewelry that’s friendly on your wallet and still appears costly and chic. If you ever feel uncertain about a piece, DON’T buy it. Chances are that uncertainty will never subside and you will always feel lukewarm about that piece.

Check out our impressive selection of costume jewelry where you are sure to find an elegant necklace, earrings set, bracelet, or other accessory that looks expensive and adds a touch of sophistication to your wardrobe.