Five best places to buy jewellery with a difference: contemporary, unique, and mid-priced

It can be a challenge to find well-designed jewellery at a good price so we have found five designers making styles you won’t find in your local high street, but that are easily available online and in stockists around the UK.

We’ve chosen a range of prices for whoever you’re buying for. Or you can treat yourself to a ‘starter’ piece and build up your collection when a significant birthday comes around.

Age is a definite advantage for the lover of jewellery; the longer you stay married, the more valuable the gift! Traditionally, eternity rings have been given to mark important life events, but they may not appeal to fashion-conscious over-50s who want jewellery to match their personal style. Or if it’s a marriage you’re celebrating, you may prefer to find a more individual piece than the standard gold band.

Diana Porter

Jewellery. Diana Porter. Sibyls. On and On.
Wisdom Sibyl and ring, and ring from the On and On range

The Sibyls range is inspired by ancient images of powerful women. Sibyls were women that the ancient Greeks believed to be oracles and Diana’s stylised women are etched with an oxidised, silver or gold word and hung singly or in a group from a chain or earwires.

There are more than 20 words to choose from, including Joyful, Pleasure and Loved. Wisdom is also available for those celebrating a 50th birthday or above! Silver Sibyls start at £41.

Diana calls her On and On collection a “modern take on eternity” and says: “It creates a wonderful sentiment when written around rings or on other pieces of jewellery.” The words are etched in upper or lower case in a choice of metals. A silver square section ring with 22ct yellow gold etch is £155. Visit Diana Porter.

Monica Vinader

Jewellery. Monica Vinader Fiji Friendship bracelets
Monica Vinader’s 18ct Gold-Plated Vermeil on Sterling Silver, black cord, and 18ct Rose Gold-Plated Vermeil on Sterling Silver

Monica Vinader created her jewellery business to fill the gap between high street chains and fine jewellery shops, and uses gold-plated silver and semi-precious stones to make pieces that can be worn every day. The Fiji friendship bracelet is a bestseller, a curved bar with a cord or metal chain with an adjustable metal toggle. The bracelet can be worn alone or layered, and a complimentary engraving service is available to add messages to bar or toggle. Prices range from £95 for a sterling silver bracelet with cords, up to £2,500 for the full diamond 18ct gold-plated version. Visit Monica Vinader or see the pieces at Liberty jewellery hall.

Catherine Zoraida

Jewellery. Catherine Zoraida pendants. Gemini Aquarius Pisces
Zodiac pendants in crystal and gold by Catherine Zoraida (l to r:. Gemini, Aquarius and Pisces)

Catherine had only been in business for a year when she was rocketed into the limelight after her gold double-leaf earrings were worn by the Duchess of Cambridge to meet the King of Malaysia during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee tour in 2012.

Catherine’s simple designs are inspired by the natural world and items she finds on her travels, saying: “I have always had a slight obsession with small intricate things.” Her zodiac pendants (£140) feature crystals set into an 18ct gold-plated silver disc, on a sterling silver chain that can be worn at both 16 and 18 inches, and layered with other favourite necklaces. The earrings worn by the Duchess are from £130 in silver and £150 in gold. Visit Catherine Zoraida.

Dinny Hall

Dinny Hall's Signature Medium Hoops (top), Cusion Large Drop earrings (right) and Signature Scoop Hoops in sterling silver
Dinny Hall’s Signature Medium Hoops (top), Cusion Large Drop earrings (right) and Signature Scoop Hoops in sterling silver

Dinny Hall is celebrating a milestone anniversary herself this year: 30 years in business. She is stocked by Liberty (and has been ever since they bought her graduate collection after she studied jewellery design at Central St Martins). Hoop earrings were part of that first collection and have featured in every collection since, in different sizes and metals.

Dinny’s fans collect hoops for every occasion: tiny ones for everyday wear, large ones for statement dressing, cunningly designed with weight in the right place to make them ‘sit’ properly in the ear, and with precious stones or bespoke for special occasions. Scoop Hoops in 22k yellow gold vermeil plate are 3.5 cm in diameter and cost £250. Visit Dinny Hall.

Pippa Small

Jewellery. Pippa Small. Invisible Ruby. Double Greek ring. Cup ring.
Pippa Small’s Ruby Invisible Set bracelet, Double Greek Ruby Ring (top) and Cup ring (below)

At the luxury end of the market, Pippa Small’s organic, ethnic designs work around the natural contours of the stones she personally chooses, which are left unpolished and uncut. All pieces are therefore unique. Prices range from £140 for a simple ring to thousands for a diamond necklace or labradorite Peacock Cuff. For example, the 18kt yellow-gold and mixed gemstone Cup rings, above, are £695 each.

Pippa – described by The Sunday Times as “the glamorous bohemian’s rock purveyor of choice” – works with traditional craftspeople in India (most of her jewellery is made in Jaipur), South America and Afghanistan. She won the Ethical Jewellery Business of the Year award 2015. Visit Pippa Small.