Small Shop Love: Customizable Jewelry Part 1

the best Etsy jewelry shops for Mother's Day gifts

This has been a much requested post, and one I’m excited to share in time for Mother’s Day (note: please check each item’s “ready to ship” time as it will vary, and message the seller if you need an item sooner!). Each of the shops in this post are small, female-run businesses, and ones that I’ve personally had a great experience buying from in terms of communication, shipping, and personalize-able features. As someone with narrow wrists and a shorter neck & torso, I much prefer to order pieces where you can choose a length versus 1 size fits all pieces!

Since many of these shops also sell monogram, birthstone, or engrave-able pieces, there’s many gift ideas here for friends, new moms, and bridesmaids as well. This post got long so I’ve split it out between my necklaces and bracelets for Part 1, and some of my favorite rings and earrings will be in Part 2.

Gold Plated vs. Gold Vermeil, Gold Filled, or Solid Gold

First up, you’ll notice these options while browsing jewelry, so I wanted to point out some differences for those who aren’t familiar. As part of jewelry care, it’s advised to remove pieces when showering, working out, or swimming – but to be honest, I haven’t been!

  • Gold plated: the thinnest layer of gold plated over another metal, and a typically inexpensive option. Compared to the below options, the outer color may not last as long, especially if not properly cared for.
  • Gold vermeil: thicker layer of gold plated over sterling silver. In the US, this label requires the thickness of the gold plating to be at least 2.5 microns thick.
  • Gold filled: compared to the above, this is an even thicker layer of gold plated over another metal. In the US, this label requires that the gold content be at least 5% of the total weight. Gold filled items tend to be much less likely to flake or wear off as a reuslt.
  • Solid gold: not filled with another metal. Considered fine jewelry, and is usually substantially more in price point compared to the above options.

Personally I think “gold filled” items are a great value for my own use and purposes, so that’s what I buy most often. You can find any of the above options on Etsy, though, including lots of solid gold customizable pieces if you prefer fine jewelry.

Choosing Chain Types

When adding to my layering necklace & bracelet collection, I look for a mix of chain types, chain thicknesses, as well as the color tone of the metal. As you can see below, I like to have a varying mix of gold tones. Thicker chains are less tangle prone, but I love my thin delicate chains!

handmade gold necklaces for stacking

From top to bottom: 1) toggle chain necklace 15″, 2) chain link necklace 14″, 3) beaded chain 15″, mini initial necklace 14″, Gorjana locket (also at Nordstrom)

Small Female Run Jewelry Shops

Honestly there are SO many great female-run small shops both on and off Etsy, this list doesn’t even scratch the surface. As mentioned above, these are just a few shops that I’ve bought pieces from and had a good experience.

1. Vedern

Based in NJ and ships internationally
Pieces are handmade by Victoria, who also sources her supplies from other small US-based businesses. She is such a pleasure to order from – super responsive to my questions and requests for custom lengths or features.

Since two of the items I bought from her shop are gold plated (instead of gold filled which I usually prefer), I asked her opinion on that and these were here thoughts: “Plated jewelry just has a bad reputation because so many of them have a minuscule layer of gold. Since the gold is barely even there to begin with, of course it doesn’t last. Gold plated can actually be quite durable if it’s just a thicker plating, and a little bit goes a long way. The other thing I do is use a higher karat gold for plating which makes the piece more yellow in color but also makes it more resistant to tarnish because it has less of the metal alloys that like to react in the first place.”

Pieces I own:

  • Toggle chain necklace shown in photo #1, (also worn here). I got 15″ (18k gold plated), available in various lengths. One of my favorites!
  • Chunky coin necklace shown in photo #1. I got 18″ (18k gold plated), available in various lengths. Note this is more yellow than pictured here, as I used a little sandpaper to remove some of the gold plating for an antiqued finish.
  • Delicate build your own coin necklace pictured below as the longest necklace. I got 17″ in a “Y” lariat style with figaro chain (14k gold filled) and St. Christopher pendant. You can select necklace length, type of chain, and coin / charm type.

dainty handmade gold jewelry for everyday layering

Express cami xxs (adjustable straps + fully lined; also seen here), TJS initial + beaded chain set 15″ & 17,” Vedern lariat coin necklace 17″, KJP pearl bracelet

Quick note about this pearl cuff bracelet with glass pearls + 14k gold plated twist cable (better photos on me here). This is one of my all time favorite bracelets! The cuff is bendable and fits quite well on narrow wrists. I’ve had it for years now and it hasn’t shown signs of wear yet. This brand is made in New England and some of their other bracelets like this one actually come in sizes from XS – XL (I usually get Small, as their XS is quite tiny).

2. The Jewelry Standard

Based in NJ and ships internationally
Mel is very responsive with questions and has a lovely shop of dainty everyday pieces. Their packaging is also very pretty and gift-ready!

  • Chain link bracelet shown in photo #1 in 6″ (gold filled), wide range of lengths available. Also available as a necklace. This is one of my favorite minimalist bracelets that I always get questions about! Super lightweight and comfortable to wear, even to bed.
  • “N” circle pendant + beaded chain necklace set shown in photo above, in lengths 15 and 17″ (gold filled). A nice gift for mamas as you can select up to 4 monogrammed circles on the necklace, as well as the length of the two necklaces. I chose this as I wanted a beaded chain for a little added texture. I also like that this comes as 2 separate necklaces for versatility, unlike some sets where the strands are conjoined. Note: I did find the two necklaces to have a slightly different color, with the beaded chain being a little rose tinted.

personalized jewelry Mother's Day gift ideas

3. Urban Carats

Based in TX and ships internationally
Pieces are handmade by Eshna and her small team. Although the piece I have from here is very simple, they actually specialize in gemstone jewelry, and offers a big range of choice in materials, from sterling silver to solid gold settings with price points varying accordingly.

  • Mini cursive initial necklace shown in photo above, in 14″ with a gold filled chain. These are available in a 14″-24″ length with either a gold filled, sterling silver or rose gold chain.
4. CA Souls

Based in CA and ships internationally
This is the only shop here that I didn’t personally order from, as my bracelet was a thoughtful gift from my friend / IVF sister Anna after Nori was born! This shop specializes in handmade jewelry incorporating Morse code into minimalist designs, with the option to add a birthstone.

5. Walsh Jewelry

Based in TX and ships internationally
Erica also makes her minimalist pieces by hand and focuses on sustainable packaging – her pieces are sent in reusable, compostable or recycled packaging.

  • Chain link necklace  shown in photo #2 and packaging photo below. Mine is gold plated and 14″ with a  2″ extender. Available in 14″, 16″ 18″ or 20″. Note this is a larger sized chain than my chain bracelet above from TJS, as I wanted something slightly bolder for a necklace.

the best personalized necklaces from Etsy shops

Current version of my multi-strand necklace holder with cover (also similar)

handmade jewelry gift ideas

From left to right, packaging from: Jewelry Standard, Urban Carats, Vedern, Walsh Jewelry

For any necklace or bracelet I would advise draping a piece of string, cutting it to the length you want, and measuring it with a ruler for reference before ordering. But I wouldn’t worry too much about the precise length, as you can always add a necklace extender or magnetic extender clasp if it’s too short. See my recent blog post on jewelry hacks for the extenders and clasps that I use!

I’d love to hear some small jewelry shops that you guys love as well! And stay tuned for Part 2 for some of my favorite handmade rings (in custom sizes) & earrings.

Leave a Comment

36 Comments

  1. Anonymous wrote:

    Hi Jean, I was ready to purchase a toggle chain necklace similar to yours, 14K gold plated on bronze for $180 USD but then I saw your post. I love your toggle chain necklace so much more and the price is amazing, wonder why such a big difference given both are gold plated. I am hoping to wear this necklace regularly. Can i ask if you take special care of your necklace to prevent it from tarnishing? Would you recommend this necklace for everyday wear? Thank you so much!

    Posted 6.8.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Wow that’s quite a price difference! The necklace I have is actually 18k gold plating, which typically is more expensive than 14k – could the other necklace you’re looking at maybe be gold filled rather than plated? I’ve had mine for a few months and it’s one of my most worn necklaces. I haven’t noticed any tarnishing and don’t do anything special to protect it besides taking it off for showers, exercise and sleep.

      Posted 6.10.20 Reply
  2. gen wrote:

    “Delicate build your own coin necklace pictured below as the longest necklace. I got 17″ in a “Y” lariat style with figaro chain (14k gold filled) and St. Christopher pendant. You can select necklace length, type of chain, and coin / charm type.”

    Are you sure you got the 17″ regarding the necklace referenced above? I noticed that the other necklaces you wore with that one layering it was the 15″ and 17. Just asking because I want the same look and going to order them. I thought the Longest necklace ( the lariat Y) would have been 19.” Let me know so I can order the same. I love that layering together’

    Posted 5.27.20 Reply
  3. Drishya wrote:

    Hi Jean, thanks so much for this post! I have always admired your simple and elegant taste in clothes and jewelry. I was wondering if you would be able to provide the details on the earrings you are wearing in the first picture, thank you! 🙂

    Posted 5.11.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Drishya! I’m wearing a pair of Gorjana hoops in the first photo – the exact pair is linked in the box below the photo. x

      Posted 5.12.20 Reply
      • Drishya wrote:

        Thank you!! 🙂

        Posted 5.15.20 Reply
  4. Irina wrote:

    This is my first comment but I’ve followed your blog for many years and I always love how much thought you put into your beautiful purchases Jean, and how you share your research with us. I bought a delicate gold plated necklace recently and oh I wished your post had been published just a couple of weeks sooner! 🙂 While my necklace was lovely (and a great price), I was confused as to why it was such a bright yellow, which doesn’t look quite like real gold. Your post helped me understand the differences in amounts of gold, which I should have researched myself prior. Thank you for these detailed seller suggestions, I am going to look at the Jewelry Standard next for a simple monogrammed circle necklace.

    Posted 5.8.20 Reply
  5. jen wrote:

    Hi Jean! Just wanted to say thank you for your thoughtful posts; I’m really liking the variety of cooking, beauty, and clean/sustainable brand related posts. I’ve been a longtime lurker and have made quite a few purchases from your blog over the years! I’m definitely eyeing the KJB pearl bracelet; I thought the pearls would look too big on my wrist but they look fine in your photos.

    I have a question after reading your beauty and skincare post, do you use/recommend silk pillowcases to help prevent hair breakage and fine lines?

    Posted 5.2.20 Reply
  6. Christina wrote:

    Jean,
    I’m interested in the beautiful toggle necklace-do you feel that the 15 inch length is similar to a choker and does it feel tight on your neck? I’m considering what length would look “fitted” without feeling tight!

    Posted 5.1.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Christina! On me the 15″ length is just a little looser than a choker. If you’re on the fence about which length to get I would recommend using a piece of string to see how the different lengths would fall on you!

      Posted 5.4.20 Reply
  7. Valeri wrote:

    Jean, Your skin looks absolutely flawless in these photos. Really stunning and chic. Geez, do I always say the same thing? lol

    Posted 4.30.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      You’re always the kindest, Val! Makeup and bright light are doing a lot of the work here! ; )

      Posted 4.30.20 Reply
  8. Marisa wrote:

    This was an incredibly informative article, Jean. Thank you! You featured some great items. I’m ordering three of the pieces today! I can’t wait to receive them! Stay well! XOXO

    Posted 4.30.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Thank you, Marisa! I would love to know which ones! : )

      Posted 4.30.20 Reply
      • Anonymous wrote:

        I ordered the Urban Carats cursive initial necklace and the Gorjana Parker hoops. I already own the Gorjana locket necklace (which I adore). It will look just like one of the photos in your post when worn all together! Lol. I also ordered the Vedern toggle necklace. And the list of favorited items is growing… and growing. 😊

        Posted 5.1.20 Reply
  9. Janice wrote:

    I bought the kjp cuff bracelet after seeing you featureit previously. My favorite piece,so comfortable and well made.

    Posted 4.30.20 Reply
  10. Tiffany wrote:

    My favorite shop is GLDN! They have some amazing pieces. I have a minimal but beautiful ring by them.

    Posted 4.30.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Ah I have several of their pieces favorited! So pretty.

      Posted 4.30.20 Reply
  11. Mireia wrote:

    These pieces are really pretty!

    Mireia from TGL

    Posted 4.30.20 Reply
  12. Annabel wrote:

    Love this post! Affordable fashion jewelry. Been loving all your life hacks, recipes/cooking and these thoughtful posts. You’re one of the most thoughtful bloggers and not pushing products. Im rooting for you!

    Posted 4.30.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Thanks so much, Annabel! I’m happy you’re enjoying the variety of posts lately!

      Posted 4.30.20 Reply
  13. Kat Kat wrote:

    Thanks for this. I live the style of layered necklace but shy way bc I am petite and the lengths are not quite right on me. I LOVE the pearl chain bracelet. Suprise it doent overwhelm your small wrist. I tried the Yurman ones but felt it looked so out of place on my tiny wrist. Will check that out.

    Posted 4.30.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Oh that is definitely one of my favorite pieces – I’ve ordered so many bangles after that which are so much looser in comparison, even when adjustable! BTW I also have a Yurman one, just make sure you’re getting their narrower cables and smallest size (which isn’t offered on many retailer websites).

      Posted 4.30.20 Reply
  14. Amy wrote:

    Thx for this post, Jean! I was in need of ideas for Mother’s Day for my mother-in-law. But could I ask what color and brand of lipstick you’re wearing?

    Posted 4.30.20 Reply
    • Kelly wrote:

      +1 on this! I’ve been looking for a good darker/plum tone and your lipstick color in the first picture is gorgeous.

      Posted 4.30.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Amy and Kelly! It’s actually the same lipcolor (MAC taupe) as in this post, just looks slightly different due to lighting. https://www.extrapetite.com/2020/04/neutral-everyday-makeup-routine-asian-sephora.html

      Posted 4.30.20 Reply
    • Jesmin wrote:

      Hi Jean,

      Still waiting for the part 2 of the jewelry post. Is it coming out anytime soon?

      Posted 6.5.20 Reply
  15. Jennifer Luu wrote:

    This is such an awesome post. Thank you so much for deciphering the different type of gold coverings jewelry can come in. I never
    knew there was a difference. This will definitely give my husband a good sense of direction on future gift Purchases for me. LOL

    Posted 4.30.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Jennifer! I used to be confused between a few of the options so am glad this was helpful.

      Posted 4.30.20 Reply
  16. Jane wrote:

    Jean do you wear fitness tracker? I have small wrist so its hard trying to find one that fits. Thank you.

    Posted 4.29.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      I don’t, sorry! Maybe someone else can share a suggestion?

      Posted 4.30.20 Reply
  17. Esther wrote:

    Yay! Thank you Jean for this very informative post! I actually ordered the chain link bracelet from Jewelry Standard. Can’t wait to get it! Xo

    Posted 4.29.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Esther, I hope you love it! I know they were a little back ordered on that chain.

      Posted 4.30.20 Reply

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