Casual jewelry of natural materials

Jewelry of natural materials is a carefree alternative to stones. These relaxed but decorative pieces are perfect for travel, too. (I may find a treasure at a local market, but like to pack something to be sure.)

Let's start with the designer offerings.

Prada leather fringe bracelet, $235 from Yoox.

Miu Miu canva
s brooch, $129, Yoox.

Marni's Lei Effect necklace of green-coloured horn strung on ribbon, £275 from Browns. A closeup viewing on Browns site reveals its translucent artistry. I would wear it to a resort wedding, like the one my friend Kathy attended this month in Tuscany.

My advice for any jewelry shopping: first, study the finest, in person if possible. Then shake out your piggy bank and continue your search. You'll make a more considered choice relative to your budget. Of course the danger is falling for the expensive piece, but that Prada leather fringe is TDF.

You can find chic choices for under $50.

Zebu (a type of cattle) horn square beads necklace, hand-carved by local artisans in Madagascar, from fair-trade merchant The Conscious Consumer, £12.95.

A pair of two straw "Island Fever" 3/4 inch bangles by RJ Graziano, on sale for $24.43 from HSN, is a steal. Wear as a pair for a tropical accessory with a white shirt or simple dress.

A rosewood bracelet,
from eBay seller 81stgeneration,
with a starting bid of £4.99; even with postage this gives heaps of hip for your pennies.

Check 81stgeneration's online store for more accessories like the 58mm (2.28 inch) orange leather wristband, starting bid £7.49. Available in many other colours.

A black and gold wood and shell multi-strand necklace from Target's online site packs a lot of presence for $17.99.

MoMA's Shibori Rings by Bunzaburo Katayama achieve their dramatic sculptural decoration by using the Japanese shibori process to create textural dimension with fabric. Made of polyester, silk, and stainless steel. Available in various colours, $35. Not entirely of 'natural' materials but I couldn't resist showing it!

Papier-Mâché Bangles Set: six light, exotic papier-mâché bangles (each 2 5/8" in diameter), painted by hand in India. No two sets will be exactly alike but will be similar in color palette to the set pictured. On sale for $25.49 from the Art Institute of Chicago Museum Shop.


Anjela said…
So many beautiful offerings-I am having your postings with my tea and toast this morning Duchesse and then off to my little store- I love the designer items and the off-the-beaten-track Papier-Mâché Bangles
Great scouting! Thanks!
sisty said…
woo-hoo! My brother and his girlfriend both work at the Art Institute of Chicago -- maybe I could send them the link as a not-so-subtle hint for my upcoming b-day? Thanks for the inspiration.

I'd wear any of those bracelets, even though I find bracelets pretty annoying to wear. Like now. When I'm trying to type with three wooden bangles on!
Deja Pseu said…
Lovely choices, and I'm especially drooling over that Marni one.

I have a large polished carnelian pendant from Devon Leigh, strung on a single leather strand. The simplicity really allows the beauty of the stone to take center stage.

Wish I could wear those great bangles, but most are too big and slide right off my hands.
Imogen Lamport said…
There are so many great options, I love picking pieces up at craft markets (done well of course!)
materfamilias said…
I love those straw bracelets, the orange leather one, the Marni necklace -- what fun!
Mardel said…
Such lovely offerings this morning. Such a treat to peruse especially as you have done all the hard work of finding things. I love things like this for summer especially.
Lots of goodies here!
Love those island fever woven bangles - would love to add them to my group of six bamboo bangles:
Tres Tropical - - -

metscan said…
Although I like to wear real jewels, I have nothing against the ones made of natural materials. You have managed to find some really nice ones. This kind of jewelry is as its best when it is big, surprising and fun. True, it is something that is safe to take along for travels and you can easily increase your collection while en route. But please be selective!
lagatta à montréal said…
Ten Thousand Villages/Dix Mille Villages is a Canadian chain of fairtrade shops with some surprisingly lovely and tasteful products:

Idem museum shops, though there too some junk and shodilly made gifts can sneak in.
Frugal Scholar said…
I always look forward to your selections.

I'm always saying stuff like this, but I'm afraid if I wore that Prada item, it would look (on me) like something one of my kids made. You have to be elegant from top to toe.
CompassRose said…
Now this, rather than clothing, is what people should be looking for at craft shows. There are a lot of artisans making fantastic jewellery comparable to this. And personally, it makes me happy to not only score a great piece, but to support a local artist rather than, say, Miuccia Prada.

Other than searches on the now-ubiquitous Etsy, and visiting one's own local shows and sales, the blogger at Another Shade of Grey ( posts links to many marvellous artists, including makers of jewellery.
Lot of options i have there,
i really like the island fever woven bangles, i am surely going to buy these bangles...
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