When I was Growing up, my family would stop into the James Avery Artisan Jewelry ranch in Kerrville on our way home from camp each summer, rather like a pilgrimage. I’d wander the glass cases, marveling at the sterling silver charms, begging my mom to get something.
Like many, my first foray into nice jewelry was with the Texas-based designer, known for its silver rings, earrings, and necklaces; whimsical and fun charms; and faith-inspired pieces. For birthdays, Christmases, special occasions, I’d get James Avery.
So, when the company released its 2021 Valentine’s Day collection this week, I had to take a peek. And honestly, I was underwhelmed. A good chunk of the 23-piece collection featured the same simple heart in various iterations: ruby, pink sapphire, or mother-of-pearl* rings, earrings, and necklaces.
Folks on Twitter had words to say about the collection, commenting on its juvenile look. One user compared it to elementary school, while another called it the “Bath and Body Works of the jewelry world.” Others disliked all the color, comparing the jewelry to a “Cracker Jack prize,” and I don’t blame them. James Avery can do it well, just not here.
That doesn’t mean there weren’t any nice pieces (or excited Twitter users), however. I adore the “Gathered Heart” ring and I want the "Bee My Honey" charm for my own charm bracelet. And while I’m not sure why it’s included in a Valentine’s Day collection, if someone gave me the “sweet baby goat” charm on February 14, let’s just say I wouldn’t be upset.
Overall I was mostly just bored with the collection. One of the things I love most about James Avery is its attention-to-detail and intricate work, but it just feels like they didn’t put that much effort in this go-around.
But I love the Texas-centric style of many of its pieces—this Whataburger charm might be the best gift I’ve ever received—the quirkiness of its charms, and the intricate designs. And I do appreciate the company’s move toward more colorful jewelry of recent years.
So long story short, I don’t think this is James Avery’s best collection. Has it dampened my obsession? Not at all.
*The gemstones in this story have been corrected from a previous version.