being a wannabe seamstress/jewelry-designer myself, i am a complete sucker for handmade, well, anything. etsy.com, bless ’em, are totally dedicated to artisan wares and some of these things are at just amazing prices. most artists i know are completely in love with their crafts and any money they make from it is just icing, so you really can find some great deals on one-of-a-kind (and sometimes even made to order!) pieces there and support the arts at the same time.
one such talented DIYer is Elizabeth Scott of Jewelry by Elizabeth Scott. i am just completely floored at her knack for delicate, nature-inspired jewelry for ridiculously reasonable prices too. if $20 for earrings (ahem, i mean wearable art) is still out of your budget, i would have to say that these are definitely splurge-worthy. most are made from semi-precious metals (sterling silver and copper), and nature-inspired, well, anything truly never goes out of style.
bell flower earrings: $20 . . . knit wire leaf necklace: $32
mirror mirror earrings: $15 . . . copper petal ring: $26
vine filigree necklace: $30 . . . ginko earrings: $39