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Your Stylist: Best in brass jewelry

December 12, 2011 |  8:00 am

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With the price of gold hovering at $1,700 an ounce, it’s no wonder there’s been a surge in brass accessories. Kelly Wearstler’s new West Hollywood store has a particularly large amount of brass. The interior designer with a fashion label has done the store’s awnings, objects, accessories and even a back scratcher in the material, saying that she loves working with the metal for its aged-looking patina and warm tone.

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“Brass is a good, inexpensive alternative to gold,” says gemologist Larry Platt, co-owner of Platt Jewelry Boutique in West Hollywood. “People would typically use sterling silver if they’re trying to cut costs, but everyone has been so into the look of yellow gold lately, and brass has a warm, gold tone to it.” He adds that for the first time in many years, the price of yellow gold has surpassed even the price of platinum, which is about KORADSC_1183 $1,500 an ounce. “People are much shyer about buying gold right now. Even those who can afford it are hesitant because prices are double what they were three years ago.”   

Brass works for strong statement pieces like chunky cuffs and thick hoop earrings. Wearstler has an array of brass pieces, some with a perforated circle motif and cuffs topped with natural agate stones set with thick prongs ($445 at www.kellywearstler.com). The combination of stone and brass in the bracelet feels earthy, not precious, and the bracelet is as easy to wear with a casual button-down shirt and jeans as it is with a dress and heels.

Also making a statement are the croc cast cuffs of reclaimed brass from Raven Kauffman ($195 at www.ravenkauffman.com). They’ve got tons of texture and you can see all the detail and deep crevices because of the tone the brass takes on. I love wearing one of these on each wrist. Since they’re not shiny, the look is much more chic than superhero.

On the lighter side are the brass pieces by A.L.C. The screw top tennis bracelet ($395 at www.barneys.com) has a dainty feel even though it’s done in a tough metal. It can be worn alone or would look great with silver and gold bangles. And the brass handcuff huggie earrings ($275 at www.barneys.com) are a good size to wear everyday and bring a nice pop of gold color to an outfit.

Monikachiang2Kora jewelry has this gorgeous brass necklace ($245 at www.koradesigns.com) with horseshoe-like shapes hanging on a long chain. Even though it’s fairly simple, the shapes are bold enough to make this a cool stand-alone piece.

And for those who want to wear their brass in a more unexpected way, Monika Chiang is doing these sleek wedge sandals ($545 at www.monikachiang.com) and a flat version ($395 at www.monikachiang.com), with a brass ankle cuff. The ring of brass is like built-in jewelry.

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-- Melissa Magsaysay

Photos: Top left: Kelly Wearstler brass and agate cuff; credit: Kelly Wearstler. Top right: Raven Kauffman reclaimed brass cast croc cuff; credit: Raven Kauffman. Center left: A.L.C screw top tennis bracelet; credit: A.L.C. Center right: A.L.C handcuff huggie earrings; credit: A.L.C. Bottom right: Kora necklace; credit: Kora. Bottom left: Monika Chiang Athena platform sandal; credit: Monika Chiang

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