blog header picture about the top 11 jewelry mistakes that can make you look cheap and tacky

Jewelry is a great way to enhance your outfit and express your personal style. From boho necklaces to classic tennis bracelets, there is a limitless range of options in the world of jewelry. But, if you're not careful, it can go wrong and look gaudy. In this article, we'll go over some common mistakes that can make jewelry look tacky and offer some tips to help you avoid them.

1. Too Much Bling

Women wearing sequin dress, diamond bracelets and diamond ring

Overly shiny or sparkly jewelry can look gaudy and cheap. Stay away from highly embellished pieces with an excessive amount of crystals. Opt for more subtle pieces or make one statement piece that is the focal point of your look.

2. Overly Matchy-Matchy

Coordinating your jewelry with your outfit can look stylish, but if everything matches too perfectly, it can look contrived and tacky. Instead, mix and match different pieces to create a unique look.

Pro Tip: 

Avoid jewelry sets that match earrings, necklaces, and bracelets, as they can appear dated and unsophisticated. 

Even if you have the most stunning sapphire necklace, pairing it with a matching sapphire ring, sapphire stud earrings, sapphire bracelets, two silver chains, and a sapphire tiara can turn it into a fashion disaster. 

3. Over-accessorizing

"Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take at least one thing off."

- Coco Chanel

When it comes to jewelry, less is often more. Wearing too many accessories at once can make you look cluttered. It’s best to avoid piling on an armful of bangle bracelets, multiple layered necklaces, or handfuls of rings. Instead, stick to a few carefully chosen key pieces and keep the rest of your outfit simple. Edit, edit, edit!

Shop classic women's bracelets >>

4. Improper for the Occassion

Women holding a diamond tiara

Wearing jewelry that’s not appropriate for the occasion can make you look out of place and cheapen your overall look. Make sure your jewelry matches the tone and formality of the event you’re attending. For a casual outfit with jeans, opt for simple and uncomplicated jewelry, while for formal evening attire, choose fancier and more elaborate jewelry.

Pro Tip for Designers and Makers: 

Carry a range of jewelry pieces suitable for different occasions so that your customers can pick what works best for their events.

Shop casual women's hoop earrings >>

5. Overly Personalized Pieces

Personalized jewelry like nameplate necklaces or club rings can be a lovely touch, but too many customized pieces can appear cluttered and self-centered. It’s better to limit the number of personalized pieces you wear simultaneously.

6. Clashing Colors or Styles


Mixing colors or styles that don’t complement each other can make jewelry look mismatched and tacky. Stick to a consistent color palette to create a cohesive look. 

Pro Tip for Designers and Makers: 

Make it easy for your customers and show pictures of how to style your pieces. Nordstrom does a great job of this with their Style Idea photo collages. 

7. Fake Gemstones

Plastic diamonds in purple, red, yellow and clear

If you’re going to wear gemstones, opt for the real deal. Faux stones made from plastic can look tacky and do not possess the luster and brilliance of real stones. Purple plastic crystals do not look like amethyst; it looks like nothing more than purple plastic.  

Budget-Saving Tip: 

Look for genuine stone alternatives, like quartz or moissanite instead of diamonds. 

Pro Tip: 

There is a whole world of rare and unusual semi-precious stones that you have probably never heard of. Gems like labradorite and kyanite have a unique beauty and are truly divine.

8. Too Cute and Childish

Baby wearing kid

Jewelry pieces that feature ‘cutesy’ shapes like hearts, butterflies, stars, or animals can look like they came from the ‘kid’s jewelry’ section. Instead, opt for simple and more geometric shapes that will look more expensive and appropriate for your age. 

Pro Tip: 

 But if you’re into the kawaii or pastel goth aesthetic, don’t be afraid to embrace the cuteness!  

Shop geometric charms >>

9. Poor Quality Metals

Silver jump rings

Cheap metals can easily make jewelry tacky, especially when the color is overly shiny and can be scratched off with a fingernail.

Higher quality jewelry pieces are electroplated in real silver, gold, or rhodium (it’s a common silver alternative that does not tarnish). A thin layer of precious metals is chemically bonded to a base metal and creates a durable and long-lasting finish.

Pro Tip: 

For top tier quality, rack plated is preferred over barrel plated. Rack plating produces a flawless finish and ensures each piece is coated evenly without the scratches that may result from barrel tumbling.

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10. Too Many Rings

Wearing an excessive number of rings can look cluttered and unpolished, while also being impractical. Too many rings can interfere with your dexterity and make simple tasks like typing more difficult.  Prong-style and rings with large protruding designs are also more likely to snag on fabric and knock into things.

Stick to one or two rings per hand (at maximum!) that harmonize together and prioritize rings with special significance like wedding bands.

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11. Poor Craftsmanship

Hands making jewelry

Jewelry that is poorly made can look cheap and unimpressive, such as bracelets with loose links or uneven beads. When pieces are made with substandard materials and not constructed to a high standard, they can fall apart and become a waste of money. Sloppy pearl knotting can lead to pearls falling off the string. Poorly done wire-wrapping and irregular shape wire loops can look tacky and amateurish. Cheap clasps and jump rings that don’t close completely (they’re the small attacher rings) can lead to frustration and even loss of the jewelry piece. 

Ultimately, jewelry can add those perfect finishing touches or be the center of attention, but there are certain ways of wearing it that can make it look tacky. By following these tips and being intentional with your jewelry choices, you'll enhance all your outfits without looking over-the-top or outdated.


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