Illustration by Patrick Hruby / Los Angeles Times; animation by Li Anne Liew / For The Times
This is part of the L.A. Times 2022 Gift Guide. See the full guide here. If you make a purchase using some of our links, the L.A. Times may be compensated.
From skull earrings and diamond daggers for your edgier friends to engraved bracelets for people who want to carry the names of their loved ones close to them, we’ve rounded up an assortment of handmade statement pieces from Southern California jewelers that will suit just about everyone on your list. In an effort to highlight local independent artists, we tried to feature items that were affordably priced and made in L.A. Keep in mind that many pieces are made to order and may take two to three weeks, or more, to arrive.
Agapantha Jewelry Flora earrings
Dani Paquin’s lightweight Flora Earrings are delicate and sweet and just the thing for the person in your life who loves flowers. The earrings are handcrafted in Paquin’s Torrance showroom and come in two sizes in three metals: sterling silver, 14-karat gold fill and 14-karat rose gold fill.
$45-$88 at Agapantha Jewelry
Amy Jennings Designs Flat Beaded 14-karat gold-filled ring set
Handmade “with Aloha” in Los Angeles, Amy Jennings’ three-ring stack set includes a beaded gold ring and two 16 gauge rings. Wear them together or separately. If you don’t know the ring size you need, Jennings recommends tying a piece of string around the finger, or even floss, and measuring it against a ruler.
$128 at Amy Jennings Designs
Zoë Chicco Tiny Bead Turquoise Starburst stud earrings and Itty Bitty MAMA bracelet
Zoë Chicco’s tiny 14-karat-gold bead and turquoise starburst stud earrings can be worn solo or in a series. If earrings aren’t quite right mood-wise, try a handmade tiny word bracelet — we’re told MAMA and LOVE are the bestselling words in the collection.
Starling Jewelry engraved bar bracelet
Customize the Figaro and Staple Chain Bracelets with a child’s name, zodiac sign or a significant date. Both the Figaro and Staple bracelet designs are available in 14-karat yellow gold, 14-karat rose gold and 14-karat white gold. Mix and match, or get several with the names of the loved ones.
$340-$350 at Starling Jewelry
If you’re looking for a creative holiday gift that you can buy right now, head to any of the independent Los Angeles shops in this guide.
Dea Dia Sun Tarot necklace and ring
Dea Dia designs are carved by hand by designer Jessica Lawson in Joshua Tree and cast in recycled metals in downtown Los Angeles by a woman-owned casting business. Lawson says the Tarot Sun card resonates in sunny L.A. because “it signifies optimism, fulfillment and abundance.” Both pieces are available in recycled brass, sterling silver and gold plate. For a luxury option, the necklace is also available in 10-karat gold.
Dru dagger pendant
Dru designer Thea Miller is drawn to daggers because they represent strength and fortitude. The dagger is designed for men and women and is available in two sizes and five stone options. (Chains are sold separately.)
$275-$675 at Dru
Gjenmi Jewelry Disco bracelet
Highland Park designer Jennifer Sung says the Gjenmi person prefers a stacked look, and “bracelets are always a hit.” This year, she launched 637 chains (637 is a numeronym meaning “always and forever”), where she welds a bracelet onto your wrist. However, if you’re looking for something a little more temporary, Sung’s sparkling Disco Bracelet is fun and looks great paired with her other bracelets.
$175 at Gjenmi
Talon Jewelry mini skull stud
According to Ojai designer Emily Hirsch, her tiny skull earrings are “infused with dark romanticism that reflect the remote, mystical landscapes” of her youth. The faces are made by hand in Los Angeles and Ojai with recycled metals and Australian opal eyes. Available in sterling silver and 14-karat gold.
$132-$196 apiece at Talon Jewelry
Laura Estrada Jewelry Ophelia hair pin
Laura Estrada combines metalworking with innovative designs to create timeless handcrafted heirlooms. The hand-formed loopy hairpin with a natural freshwater pearl is available in polished brass, solid sterling silver and 14-karat gold-plated.
$148-$172 at Laura Estrada Jewelry
Clarke & Barba Double O-Ring wrap bracelet
Husband-and-wife designers Melissa Clarke and Silvano Barba craft handmade pieces that are simultaneously elegant and edgy. The Double O-Ring Wrap Bracelet can go high or low, depending on the vibe. Just wrap it around the wrist and fasten with the two O-rings. Handmade in black and red leather.
$35 at Clarke & Barba
California Dirt Sun Cuff No. 5
Jewelry designer and illustrator Carmen Kelly designs organic jewelry “for people to touch, to carry, to become an extension of self.” Pieces are designed by Kelly and handmade in the Jewelry District of downtown Los Angeles. The Sun Cuff No. 5 comes in one size in sterling silver.
$250 at California Dirt
From the vital to the whimsical, this unique gift guide features tech-enhanced products to help you unplug or stay connected in your busy life.
Studio Tian Quartz and Sun Threader earrings
Stephanie Sekou’s delicate sun threader earrings, composed of 18-karat gold over sterling silver, are handmade in small batches at her home art studio in Carson.
$45 at Studio Tian
Maya Brenner letter necklace
Simple asymmetrical letters ramp up the glam factor in Maya Brenner’s bestselling necklace. Available in gold, as well as diamond pavé, letters on 14-karat-gold chains ranging from 16 to 20 inches in length. Each ¼” letter is soldered onto a very delicate chain and designed to sit on the collarbone.
$255-$520 at Maya Brenner
Kinn Studio Maison oval locket
Wear Jennie Yoon’s locket as a blank oval — she also sells a heart-shaped locket — or engrave it with a signature letter. To add photos inside, simply open the locket and carefully press the photos into place. Complimentary engraving for one letter in York Script font. The price of the piece varies depending on the style of chain selected.
$295-$580 at Kinn Studio
Liza Shtromberg necklaces
A Los Feliz fixture for more than 20 years, Liza Shtromberg offers handcrafted heirlooms ranging from fine jewelry such as wedding rings to everyday necklaces, including offerings in sterling silver, 14-karat gold plate and a variety of stones.
$183 at Liza Shtromberg
Educated Chola Rx Medication capsule stud earrings
Rosa Valdes of Educated Chola designs pill-shaped earrings in an effort to break the stigma around taking medication to manage your mental health. The brand offers different versions of gold-plated, silver-filled studs representative of the medications lithium (pink), Cymbalta (blue) and Prozac (green). Educated Chola recently added a new design, Xanax, in gold, available this December.
$25 at Educated Chola
Brave Daughters Forever Jewelry
For a unique jewelry experience, treat your giftee to a clasp-less, permanent piece of jewelry from Erin Myles and M. Semrau of Brave Daughters at their jewelry pop-up at Otherwild in Los Feliz through Dec. 30. Each piece of jewelry, including rings, necklaces, anklets and bracelets, are welded seamlessly onto your body, creating a special bond that will last forever. Twenty-minute appointments are available daily from noon to 7 p.m. and can accommodate two people.
$45 to $330. (A $40 non-refundable fee is taken when you book an appointment to hold your date and will be deducted from your final purchase). Book online at Brave Daughters.
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