Many thanks to alert reader Alexis W for her advice to hit Etsy in search of a version of the KJL necklace that wouldn't set me back 300 samoleons.
I have to admit not yet having really explored the Etsy thing. I have maintained a foolish prejudice against "handmade jewelry," associating it with those itsy, sparkly, cheap beaded whatsits you see by the truckload at every crafts show you've ever been to. I am happy to admit I'm wrong about that -- not that there isn't plenty of what is basically meaningless jewelry made from cheap bits of plastic on there, but there is also a LOT of really amazing stuff. Ferinstance:
How much fun is that? (Click on photos of all this great stuff to be taken to their internet homes, where you can buy them out from under me.)
This? Is amaaaaaazing. It's not exactly what I'm looking for, I really want something with a lot of color, not so much sparkle, but still. Amaaaazing.
Cloisonné & crystal. Really, really spectacular. Seriously, someone should buy this.
It just occurred to me that this might be what my black McQueen needs. (That way I wouldn't have to borrow Daphne's. Because I never can get hold of her, doncha know.) Oh, dear...
A lot of this work isn't cheap (although not as expensive as the KJL), but I don't mind that. It takes a lot of time & effort to source & create stuff like this, and let's face it, the KJL pieces are probably made in some factory somewhere by people who aren't paid nearly enough. (I don't know this for a fact, and my googling has not given me the answer, but anyone who produces in that kind of volume is probably doing it overseas.) And truthfully, now that I've seen these, I'm perfectly content NOT to have the KJL -- I don't like it nearly so well as some of the others on this page. So while I haven't snapped up one of these fantastic pieces yet, it's likely I will at some point in the future. And I haven't even looked at the rings & cuffs these folks are making -- oh, that's going to cause me to spend a bunch of time hunched over my little square screen. I have a sneaking suspicion that the world of Etsy has just claimed another victim.
So, thanks, Alexis!