Jewelry is a popular aspect of fashion that’s been used for generations. The most ancient human civilizations featured a variety of finely crafted accessories that were often reserved for royalty and those connected to the spirit world. Today, jewelry embodies everything from the engagement of lovers to symbols of religious authority. However, many people use jewelry purely for fun and children don’t want to be left out of the loop.
While the media often totes a narrative that jewelry should be expensive to be meaningful, there are many affordable ways one can use jewelry to heighten both outfits and attitudes. Below are just a few ways children can have fun with jewelry that won’t rupture their parent's bank accounts.
Thrift stores offer a paradise of inexpensive, undiscovered treasure waiting to be explored by tiny hands eagerly grasping for shiny baubles. Thrift stores and consignment shops are rife with costume jewelry that is appropriate for children of all ages.
Over-sized beads and chain links can create a cartoon inspired aesthetic that is excellent for Halloween costumes or dressing up around the house. Thrift stores often have plastic jewelry as well as wire, metal and wood pieces that may feature stones and crystals.
Such jewelry can make a great gift for older children, especially when it’s back-to-school season. Exploring thrifts stores is also a nice way for a parent and child to spend quality time together, and most kids will have fun finding vintage, intriguing items that can't be acquired in a department store. If you can’t find suitable jewelry when shopping, you may still get lucky and score some raw materials that will be perfect for your own projects.
Encouraging children to pursue artistic endeavors is an excellent way to foster positive mental health and enrichment. Children get especially excited about making jewelry because they can wear their masterpieces, and it can be as simple or as complex as you want. Construction paper, glue, string, fabric, wire, sea shells and beads are just a few ideas for your jewelry materials, and you can make special pendants and charms that are made from everything from glass and wood to paper and clay.
While weaving bracelets and stringing beads is a great strategy, you can step it up a notch by creating less conventional pieces out of paper mache or clay. If your child has a favorite animal, consider making custom animal beads out of polymer clay, which takes on a very rigid and semi-translucent finish when baked in the oven. Friendship bracelets can be fashioned in a similar manner and you can even make special jewelry pieces for holiday gifts, such as homemade reindeer and gingerbread charms for Christmas, or black cats and ghost pendants for Halloween.
Diamonds have been long considered a girl’s best friend, but there are many women who aren’t keen on accepting them as gifts anymore. Mined diamonds are expensive, and while the Kimberly Process was initiated to help prevent exploitation and the trade of conflict diamonds, the ethics of diamond mining is still a controversial issue.
To avoid the negative aspect of diamonds, it’s best to invest in cheaper and more eco friendly lab created diamonds, especially if the stones are for a child. It's understandable to wish to purchase more expensive jewelry as a special gift, but obviously children are at higher risk of losing such precious stones. To prevent stress all around, man-made diamonds are a great alternative that you can feel good about. They’re every bit as beautiful as naturally occurring diamonds, and your kid won’t know the difference.
Ultimately, children don’t care about status symbols or price tags. They want jewelry that is fun, whimsical and exciting. When looking for the right jewelry for children, you may be surprised to find you're influenced by your kid's taste in fashion along the way.