Shein Jewellery: The Good, the Bad, and the Alternative

Shein has become one of the most popular online fast fashion retailers, known for its incredibly low prices on trendy clothing, accessories, and jewellery. While the prices seem too good to be true, there are some downsides to shopping Shein jewellery that are good to know before you buy. In this blog post, we'll break down the pros and cons of Shein jewellery and discuss some great alternative places to shop for affordable, quality jewellery.

The Good - Low Prices and Lots of Choice

The number one thing that draws people to Shein is the crazy low prices. You can get fashion jewellery like earrings, necklaces, rings, bracelets, etc. for just a few dollars. For example, you can find layered necklaces for $3, charm bracelets for $5, and stacking rings for less than $2 each.

Shein also has a massive catalogue of jewellery, with new styles constantly being added. There are dainty pieces, statement jewellery, classic styles, and of course plenty of current fashion trends. You're sure to find just about any jewellery style you're looking for.

So if you want to stock up on trendy, inexpensive jewellery to refresh your collection or find fun statement pieces to wear for a season, it's easy to go overboard and load up your Shein cart without spending much at all.

The Bad - Low Quality

While the prices may be budget-friendly, the quality of Shein jewellery leaves much to be desired. Most of the jewellery is made from cheap metals like tin alloy or nickel rather than sterling silver or gold. These inexpensive metals are prone to tarnishing, turning skin green, and irritating those with metal allergies.

The gemstones and crystals used in Shein jewellery are also low grade. Glass is often used in place of authentic stones. These materials look pretty but won't stand up well to regular wear. The thin plating on metals and crystals also chips and fades quickly.

Shein jewellery is not made to last. You might only get a few wears out of most pieces before they start looking old and worn. For dainty items like layered necklaces, expect tangles and knots that are difficult to untangle without breakage. Items may break after just one or two wears due to cheap clasps, thin chains and hardware.

While you can always replace it when it breaks thanks to the low prices, it's still frustrating when a new jewellery piece only lasts a short time. The quality simply doesn't match up to the quantity of choices.

The Ugly - Potentially Harmful Materials

Not only is the quality low, but there are serious concerns around the materials used in Shein jewellery containing harmful substances like lead, nickel and cadmium.

Independent lab tests have found high levels of these toxic metals in Shein jewellery. Lead is especially dangerous as it can cause health issues like nerve damage, hormone disruption and even cancer with regular exposure. Nickel is concerning for those with metal allergies.

Shein claims their jewellery follows applicable laws and safety standards. However, there are currently no mandatory safety testing requirements for jewellery sold online in the U.S. Due to the lack of transparency and oversight, it's impossible to verify the safety of metals and materials used.

Many people report skin irritation, green skin, and other reactions when wearing Shein jewellery. The incredibly low prices indicate that toxic metals are likely used to cut costs during manufacturing. Wearing these questionable pieces daily could put you at risk for negative long term health effects.

The Alternative - Better Quality, Affordable Jewellery

While fast fashion jewellery like Shein may be tempting for the prices, there are better options for affordable, safer jewellery without sacrificing style. Here are some recommendations:


Etsy is a great place to find quality jewellery from independent designers and small businesses. You can find trendy as well as classic pieces at fair prices, usually ranging from $10-$30 for fashion jewellery.

Etsy sellers often use better materials like 925 sterling silver instead of cheap alloys. There are lots of cute options like dainty rings and necklaces, paperclip chains, coin pendants, celestial-inspired jewellery, and more. The selection rivals Shein but with much better quality.

Department Store Fashion Jewellery

Department stores like Macy's, Nordstrom, and JCPenney have affordable fashion jewellery lines. These mass-produced lines are cheaper in price than fine jewellery but use better quality materials than ultra fast fashion brands.

You can expect to pay $10-$40 for fashion jewellery from Guess, Anne Klein, Betsey Johnson, and other brands sold at department stores. The quality will be decent - chains won't tarnish immediately, stones won't fall out after a couple wears, etc. The styles are also on-trend.

Jewellery Subscription Boxes

For an affordable, fun way to refresh your jewellery collection each month, check out subscription boxes like Rocksbox. For around $20 a month, you can rent 3 pieces of jewellery to switch up your style. Brands carried include Kate Spade, gorjana, Kendra Scott and more.

When you're done, just return the pieces and receive new ones the next month. This allows you to try out lots of different quality jewellery looks over time for a low monthly fee.

Sterling Silver Under $100

If you're willing to spend a little more - around the $40-$100 range - you open up more options for quality sterling silver jewellery from brands like PANDORA, Alex and Ani, Gorjana, Kate Spade and others. The metals won't tarnish as quickly, pieces will last much longer through regular wear, and you don't have to worry about lead or nickel.

A few key sterling silver pieces can elevate your jewellery collection with a touch of affordable luxury. Prioritize versatile items like stud earrings, delicate chains, stacking rings, etc. that you'll wear often and for years to come.

Take Proper Care

No matter where you buy your jewellery, taking proper care will help improve longevity. Follow these tips:

  • Store pieces separately to avoid scratches and tangles
  • Use jewellery boxes/rolls with compartments
  • Clean regularly with a jewellery cloth
  • Apply anti-tarnish products to silver
  • Take rings off before washing hands, working out, etc.
  • Avoid exposing jewellery to water and perfume
  • Remove jewellery gently to avoid breakage

By caring for your jewellery properly, even inexpensive fashion pieces will stay looking nicer for longer.

The Takeaway

While Shein offers an overwhelming amount of super cheap jewellery, the quality is seriously lacking. For just a few dollars more, you can find much better quality, long-lasting jewellery through Etsy, department stores, subscription boxes and sterling silver brands.

Take time to read reviews, understand the materials used, and buy from reputable sellers when shopping affordable jewellery online. Stay away from pieces that seem too good to be true price-wise. With some savvy shopping, you can build a trendy, non-toxic jewellery collection on a budget.

Focus on finding staple pieces you'll wear for years as well as fun fashion jewellery to mix up your look each season. Follow care instructions to make jewellery of any price point last longer. Don't compromise safety just to pay rock-bottom prices. Your skin and health are worth investing a few extra dollars into quality materials.

Shein may be tempting for the crazy low cost, but the hidden price you pay comes in poor quality, damaged skin, and supporting unethical production methods. Seek out alternatives from ethical sellers for affordable, better-quality jewellery you can feel good about.