My first summer in New York, I did an unpaid internship with a luxury publication and lived solely off the money I could make photographing a few weekend weddings here and there. Perhaps it goes without saying that I was extremely strapped for cash. It felt like a big splurge, then, when I handed over a couple $20 bills to have a pair of earrings custom-made from brass charms I'd found that looked like life-size cicadas. At the time, it felt like an extravagance I couldn't afford. But in retrospect, the purchase was totally worth it. Years later, I still wear my cicada earrings regularly and they rarely fail to bring in compliments. (The unpaid internship turned out to be worth it, too, as I'm now on staff at a fashion publication.)
The cicada earrings have taught me that a metallic novelty earring is actually way more wearable and practical than I might have guessed. Which is one reason these gold koi earrings from ethical fashion label Amur caught my eye: They feel like the luxe, upgraded version of my intern self's earring of choice. Add to that the fact that they're made using recycled metals via a Nest-certified artisan partnership in Vietnam, and you have both an ethical and an aesthetic upgrade. Cicada earrings, meet your new jewelry box playmates.
Amur gold koi earrings, $498, available at Maison de Mode
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