If you've taken a walk around campus lately, you're sure to have noticed girls walking around with wrists covered in gold- and silver-colored bangle bracelets, or wearing necklaces with a clear locket filled with tiny charms around their neck. These accessories are most likely Alex and Ani bangle bracelets and Origami Owl "Living Lockets."
Origami Owl and Alex and Ani are two companies — popular with many young women — that sell unique and personalized jewelry. While they may seem like more brand-name fashion fads, there is more to the trends than meets the eye to those who wear the jewelry.
Origami Owl is a custom jewelry company known for telling stories through its signature Living Lockets and personalized charms, bracelets and earrings, according to its website. Living Lockets are necklaces with clear pendants in which the customer can put charms the company sells. Each locket is completely customizable and individualized, allowing wearers to share their own unique stories.
Matty Delice, a freshman forensic science major, owns many vintage-style necklaces, pendants, and charms from Origami Owl and said she loves the personalization aspect of the company's products.
"I like how personal the jewelry is designed to be. I choose what best suits me and add whatever charms I want to it," she said.
Delice is not alone in her affinity for the customization and uniqueness aspects of the jewelry. Jasmin Roman's love for Origami Owl is supplemented by the fact that her mom sells the company's products.
"I personally love the Origami Owl jewelry and so do all my friends and family. My mom so far has been pretty successful as far as selling it. All women seem to really like the personalization aspect of it," said Roman, a freshman English major.
Roman has a necklace with a medium-sized locket and multiple charms, including two different hearts that say "sister" and "aunt," a bone to represent her dog, a coffee mug, headphones, a purple stone, an infinity sign, a graduation cap and a charm with her graduation year.
For Delice, though, her love for Origami Owl jewelry goes beyond the personalization and extra pop the jewelry adds to an outfit.
Fashion and design, she said, is a culture that is taking over our generation, and she enjoys mixing pieces with outfits and finding her own style in them.
"I do love Origami Owl jewelry and one of the main reasons is [that] I'm into the whole Bohemian style. I like things that represent nature, free spirit and printed patterns," Delice said.
Aside from Origami Owl, another trending jewelry brand is Alex and Ani. This company designs and creates bangle bracelets, necklaces, earrings and rings that "adorn the body, enlighten the mind, and empower the spirit," according to its website.
"I like Alex and Ani because it's small and simple and it gives you a message with each charm. They have their own meanings so that's cool," said Taylor Tyre, a freshman psychology major.
Tyre currently has three different Alex and Ani bangle bracelets with a mermaid charm, a starfish charm and an anchor charm. She said the bracelet with the anchor charm has the most sentimental meaning to her.
"The anchor [means the most], because I have a tattoo of an anchor on me and it's a symbol of my family and how they are my anchor that keeps [me] well-grounded," Tyre said.
Alex and Ani is also a hit with Disney fans. The Disney stores carry the company's special Disney collection, which includes bracelets bearing charms featuring the princesses, Mickey and Minnie Mouse and Tinkerbell, among others. The Disney collection is how Vivi Pham, a freshman biomedical sciences major, first fell in love with the brand.
"I first purchased their Disney collection and then I found their UCF collection," Pham said. "I own their gold birthstone one and [the] UCF [one]. I think they're very cute to wear on a casual day to spice up an outfit with a watch."
Regardless of the brand of jewelry, the customers who purchase it can all agree on one thing: The stylish fashion jewelry pulls an outfit together while allowing the wearers to express themselves and giving them a chance to not only show but also tell their personal story.
"To me, it's just another way to outwardly represent myself and my tastes. That's why I wear the things I wear. I guess you can say fashion is simply a manner of expressing oneself and communicating with others nonverbally," Delice said.