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    Tis the season to treat yourself to a jewel a day (from just £8)

    Tis the season to treat yourself to a jewel a day (from just £8): Forget posh chocs. The latest advent calendars are filled with bling — and needn’t break the bank

    • Jewellers are offering calendars to add sparkle to your Christmas countdown
    • Beaverbrooks has a £100,000 calendar and Lark & Berry has a £8,950 calendar
    • Florence Scordoulis gives her verdict on advent calendars to suit all budgets 

    Don’t bother with naff chocolates and flimsy boxes, this year’s advent calendars are all about adding a little sparkle to your Christmas countdown.

    Fine jewellers have been blazing the trail here. Cultured diamond brand Lark & Berry’s exquisite calendar offers a new set of earrings every day (£8,950, larkandberry.com), while Beaverbrooks has a £100,000 Diamond-A-Day version on offer (beaverbrooks.co.uk).

    But you don’t have to take out a second mortgage to treat yourself. John Lewis launched its first jewellery advent calendar this year, and some brands offer both 12-day and 24-day countdowns to suit every budget. Here is a selection . . .

    CALMING CRYSTALS

    John Lewis & Partners Jewellery Advent Calendar, £139.30, johnlewis.com

    Florence Scordoulis gives her verdict on a selection of jewellery advent calendars to suit all budgets. Pictured: John Lewis’s jewellery calendar has mood-boosting stones

    This pastel paper box — designed by fashion illustrator Megan St Clair — has 24 numbered drawers which can be reversed to hide the date, so you can store the jewellery in it after Christmas.

    Inside are 22 pieces of gold-plated and silver-plated jewellery, one hairclip and two protective fabric pouches. Seven drawers reveal semi-precious stone charms that can be added to the necklaces, earrings and bracelets. The whole collection is designed to mix and match.

    The stones come with a card explaining how they’ll boost your mood — from a teardrop-shaped labradorite on day six, which claims to be ‘a useful companion through change, imparting strength and perseverance’; to a lemon-yellow onyx on day 15, to ‘provide support in difficult circumstances and during times of mental and physical stress’.

    All very apt for a Covid Christmas.

    VERDICT: Expensive, but worth it if you’re looking for quality pieces that work together. 4/5

    CHIC MINIMALISM

    Tutti & Co 12 Days of Christmas Scrunchies and Jewellery Gift Set, £99, tuttiandco.com

    Florence said Tutti & Co 12 Days of Christmas Scrunchies and Jewellery Gift Set (pictured) is a lovely treat with a modern twist

    Florence said Tutti & Co 12 Days of Christmas Scrunchies and Jewellery Gift Set (pictured) is a lovely treat with a modern twist

    With only 12 pieces, this is at the pricier end of the spectrum, but the jewellery looks decent, so it’s perhaps a case of less is more.

    You can opt for a ‘silver’ or ‘gold’ version (polished brass plated in silver or gold), and by Christmas Day you’ll have a minimalist selection of matching necklaces, earrings, a bracelet and hairclip, with three printed scrunchies. The makers say the pieces would cost more than £200 if sold separately.

    VERDICT: A lovely treat with a modern twist. 4/5

    FESTIVE CHARMS

    Avon Christmas Jewellery Advent Calendar Gift Box, now £10.50, avon.uk.com

    Florence revealed Avon Christmas Jewellery Advent Calendar Gift Box (pictured) has 12 silver and crystal charms

    Florence revealed Avon Christmas Jewellery Advent Calendar Gift Box (pictured) has 12 silver and crystal charms 

    Avon comes calling this year with an affordable 12-day box.

    On day one you unwrap a silver-plated link bracelet, which you adorn with 12 dinky silver and crystal charms in the lead-up to the big day. Think snowflakes, champagne flutes, stars, angel wings and more.

    It comes in a recyclable, triangular cardboard box.

    VERDICT: Perfect if you want a fun but inexpensive way to step up the Christmas cheer with some festive charms. 3/5

    CLASSIC LOOKS

    Philip Jones Jewellery Advent Calendar, now £79.99, philipjonesjewellery.com

    Florence said Philip Jones Jewellery Advent Calendar (pictured) is the best option for overall quality, quantity and variety

    Florence said Philip Jones Jewellery Advent Calendar (pictured) is the best option for overall quality, quantity and variety 

    This treasure trove from British designer Philip Jones includes a silver snake charm bracelet on day one, then 15 rhodium and rose gold-plated charms to add to it; plus six pairs of earrings and two necklaces. Five of these items are Swarovski-embellished treats.

    If you’re after a timeless and classic investment, this is worth the price — and if you’re quick, a limited number are available at just £39.99 on Amazon.

    VERDICT: If you can nab one at the bargain price, it’s the best option for overall quality, quantity and variety. 4/5

    BEST ON A BUDGET

    Primark Jewellery Advent Calendar 24 Pieces, £8, Primark

    Florence said Primark Jewellery Advent Calendar 24 Pieces (pictured) is a guilt-free way to jazz up your jewellery collection

    Florence said Primark Jewellery Advent Calendar 24 Pieces (pictured) is a guilt-free way to jazz up your jewellery collection 

    The cheapest option by far, this contains five necklaces and bracelets, 14 pairs of earrings and five rings.

    The minimalist ‘silver’ and ‘gold’ pieces are studded with tiny gems. I’m not sure how long it would all last, though, as they’re made from base metal.

    I think it’s fair to say these items, hidden behind cut-out doors in a recyclable cardboard box, are aimed at teens rather than adults.

    VERDICT: The most guilt-free way to (probably temporarily) jazz up your jewellery collection this Christmas. However, it’s only available in store, so you’ll have to wait until lockdown eases to get your hands on one. 2/5

    EDGY EARRINGS

    Cartilage Cartel 12 Days of Sparkle Advent Calendar, £85, cartilagecartel.com

    Florence said Cartilage Cartel 12 Days of Sparkle Advent Calendar (pictured) is an edgy, yet still chic way to countdown Christmas

    Florence said Cartilage Cartel 12 Days of Sparkle Advent Calendar (pictured) is an edgy, yet still chic way to countdown Christmas 

    For those who are adventurous with ear piercings, this calendar offers 12 grey-and-black boxes containing delicate jewellery designed to be worn in the cartilage (the outer edge of your ear) or in your lobes. It’s part of the trend for ‘ear stacking’, where you wear multiple earrings in a layered, bold look.

    These pieces are made from 925 sterling silver or rhodium-plated sterling silver (creating a white gold effect) and worth more than £145. You can opt for silver or gold shades, and email the brand for customisations on designs at no extra cost: from crystal hoops to half-moon studs and stars.

    VERDICT: An edgy, yet still chic, Christmas countdown. 3/5

    BLOW-OUT BLING

    Carolina Bucci Forte Beads Bracelet Advent Calendar, £850, carolinabucci.com

    Florence said Carolina Bucci Forte Beads Bracelet Advent Calendar (pictured) is crazily expensive but undeniable luxury

    Florence said Carolina Bucci Forte Beads Bracelet Advent Calendar (pictured) is crazily expensive but undeniable luxury 

    If you’ve won the lottery, you might consider this advent treat. The Italian designer’s calendar offers posh friendship bracelets for grown-ups. It comes with a bracelet cord and has 24 dinky drawers, each containing two duplicate semi-precious stone beads — 46 in total — plus an 18-karat gold bead on day 24.

    It’s a mesmerising selection, with zesty lemon agates, zingy tangerine carnelian, coffee and caramel tiger’s eyes, shimmering silver hematites and ice-blue angelites.

    There are enough beads for more than one bracelet, to encourage sharing with a (very lucky) friend.

    VERDICT: Undeniable luxury, but crazily expensive. 3/5

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