Everyday elegance: Accessible fine jewelry by Canadian makers
What to buy if you’re looking for an everyday accessory upgrade
Over the last few years, following the launch of niche accessories lines by young designers and the success of well-priced, direct-to-consumer brands, the fine jewelry market has become buzzier, and more accessible, than ever. In fact, it's now possible to find handmade, stylish, fine jewelry for just a few hundred dollars — much less than one might imagine for pieces of quality.
What is meant by fine jewelry? According to Noura Sakkijha, co-founder of the Toronto-based fine jewelry start-up, Mejuri, the exact standards for defining fine jewelry can vary internationally. "But the difference generally hinges on what materials and production techniques are used," Sakkijha explains. "Fine jewelry is made from precious metals (generally, solid gold with a 14K alloy or more) with precious or semi-precious genuine stones, and traditionally, it's handcrafted." In contrast, she continues, "Costume jewelry is generally typically made of plated non-precious metals and set with crystals; the base metal can contain brass or nickel which tarnishes quickly."
"Women now have access to gold and diamond jewelry that is designed for everyday, at accessible price points, so fine jewelry stops being a mainly gifted item and becomes a self-purchase."
Award-winning Montreal designer Lauren Klassen is known for her industrially-inspired line of fine jewelry. These tiny safety-pin earrings, sold in singles or as a pair, are timelessly punk-chic.
14K White Gold Tiny Safety Pin Hook Earrings, $168 each, laurenklassen.com
These delicate threader earrings are handmade with sterling silver in Toronto. Designer Jenny Bird, whose designs have been worn by everyone from Meghan Markle to Bella Hadid, is best known for her fashion jewelry but offers a few fine styles exclusively on her website.
Asymmetrical Set Earrings, $130 a pair, jenny-bird.ca
Launched in 2015, Mejuri's direct-to-consumer model offers timeless-looking, fine jewelry at a very accessible price point. Handmade in Seoul and Toronto, their highly stackable styles come with a 24-month warranty.
Vancouver-based Sophia Armstrong crafts her own silver, and each design is made-to-order and one-of-a-kind. This sterling silver ring is handmade with a 5mm pearl.
Single Ring, about $212, shopnoon.ca
A bug's life
Canadian jeweller Birks has been around since 1879; their signature Bee Chic collection launched in 2014. This pretty silver necklace features a small citrine gemstone and a bee-inspired hexagon motif, and a portion of sales support the University of Guelph's Honey Bee Research Centre.
Bee Chic Silver Pendant For Bees, $195, maisonbirks.com
These delicate, 14K solid gold hoops are made-to-order in Toronto using 100% recycled gold by jewelry design duo Melissa Gobeil and Susan Shaw. You can order them as a set, or as a single earring.
Lil Hoops 14K Gold Earrings, $160, atticgold.com
Truc Nguyen is a Toronto-based writer, editor and stylist. Follow her at @trucnguyen.