How to buy jewelry in downtimes -- guilt-free

tiara
tiara

A story in this morning's New York Times does a broad sweep of the jewelry industry, in which names from Harry Winston to Claire's have lost a lot of glitter over the last year. Jewelry, it seems, has been on the receiving end of many consumers' no-brainer cutbacks. Grooms-to-be are shaving a couple carats off their proposal plans as 'two months' salary' suddenly seems like an absurd amount to sign away. Gala-going ladies -- the ones that are left, anyway -- are discreetly turning to rental services for their black-tie baubles. And jewelry fashionistas are turning to eBay for bargains.

It's easy to see why consumers might rein in their jewelry spending. There's something about standing at a counter and purchasing yourself a sparkly necklace that's more guilt-inspiring than giving in to a jacket or a pair of shoes. But if you're not prepared to suspend adding to your jewelry collection until the economy recovers, check out our five ways to buy some bling without blowing your budget.