Big Comeback for Costume Jewelry : Designers Take Individual Approaches to Their Art : Melanie Castriotta

“The higher your prices, the more people want to buy your designs,” says Melanie Castriotta, who designs the Belladonna jewelry collection with her partner Terri Holland. Three years ago, the two women started to make silver earrings, bracelets and necklaces for less than $60. Now their prices start there.

Their designs have become more intricate, Castriotta points out. For fall, she is working on chunky, chain-link necklaces and bracelets, bold earrings and variations on silver charm bracelets. “I think Californians will be wearing pared-down clothes and armloads of jewelry this fall,” she says.

Note that she separates California from the rest of the country. “The difference is Hollywood,” she says. “It causes everyone here to dress with more glitz and glamour than they do in the East.”

Castriotta is a native of Massachusetts. “There, nobody would spend $100 on a pair of wild earrings,” she says. “But here they would.”


How does she know? “Cher, Angie Dickenson, Carol Lawrence and Melissa Gilbert all own the same silver Belladonna star-burst earring that retails for over $100,” she says.

Castriotta and Holland showed their collection at Neiman-Marcus.