NEW YORK — Nothing says summer like sun-kissed skin and glittering gold but with the precious metal commanding near-record prices, few fashionistas are braving the beach in their gilded finest.
Fortunately, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx are full of unique, bikini-worthy bling that won't break the bank, or turn your skin green when you wear it. Check out these pieces from around the city.
The Fula people of West Africa are renowned for their twisted gold earrings. Despite their popularity among African immigrants, the baubles' unique shape is sure to turn heads on the beach, where they add a touch of exotic sparkle to an otherwise minimal outfit.
Fulani gold is widely available in the Bronx, but in Brooklyn try Madina International at 671 Nostrand Avenue in Crown Heights between Park Place and Prospect Place. Their hoops, which come from Mali, start at $15 for a quarter-sized set, while the shoulder-skimmers run about $65.
The emirate may be synonymous with luxurious living, but Dubai gold can still be affordable if you know where to look. Koule African Hair Braiding and Styling at 1446 Fulton Ave. near the corner of Tompkins Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant sells delicate gold bangles for $15. The pieces are small and lightweight enough not to overwhelm a small frame, but substantial enough to be worn alone or in pairs without getting lost in a sea of skin.
South Asia is famous for its gold, and you can hardly take two steps along Jackson Heights' main drag in Queens without seeing it. But not all Indian gold is created equal — you could as easily drop hundreds on a sumptuous pair of 24 karat earrings as spend $5 for half a pound of gold-colored costume jewels. Gold-plated pieces split the difference, offering the best glitz to green ratio. For $40, a Delhi gold-plated peacock arm band from Luthra Jewelers at 37-17 74th Street near the corner of 37th Avenue can quickly glam up a sundress or a bikini without breaking the bank.
Though Jackson Heights' glitter trends toward the extravagant, a careful shopper can also find more subtle pieces at a fair price. A delicate pair of gold-plated earrings from Mumbai costs just $15 at Lipi Fashion, also on 74th Street at 37-11, between 37th Road and 37th Avenue. But don't forget your Ray-Bans — the basement-level emporium also boasts some of the neighborhood's biggest bling.
MADE IN AMERICA, WORN THE WORLD OVER
If beachy baubles just aren't your thing, you can still rock a different type of metallic. American Apparel's super-shiny swimwear is currently on sale up to 50 percent off at stores around the city.