Summer camp is a magical place. It’s a national treasure important enough to merit its own This American Life episode, and any adult who attended will gush about cabin mates and crushes alike. The friendships last a lifetime, continuing to exist as intermittent, but warmly welcomed DMs. The sleepaway excursion is a (homogenous) bubble bursting with nostalgia: It’s where you have your first kiss behind a bush, eat sloppy Joes every Tuesday, and meet your long-lost twin sister while fencing.
Having never been to summer camp myself (unless you count my years attending church day camp, which let me tell you, is way different), my information on them came directly from summer movies and The Babysitters Club. A huge part, I came to learn, was the crafting experience, which my parents tried to replicate with DIY jewelry kits. They were my personal arts and crafts class. From the pages of a Scholastic book catalog, my set taught me how to braid friendship bracelets and weave beads into flowers. I abandoned almost every jewelry project out of frustration, but my memory of perfecting the chevron pattern still rings as sweet as I assume camp air smells.
Camp style recently became a mainstay in fashion’s playbook (see: Hérmes hiking boots, Sandy Liang fleeces ), so it is only natural that the same elevated touch is being applied to fine jewelry. Take Jewelry designer Carolina Bucci for example. Her Forte Bead collection looks exactly like the ones we used as kids, but this time around they cost a whopping $1,970. Why? Instead of plastic pony beads, her 84-piece set is made of precious stones like jade, turquoise, lapis lazuli, and tiger’s eye. It includes two adjustable lurex cords and instead of burning the frayed edges to seal the end of your BFF bracelet, Bucci’s strands are capped with 18-karat gold.
It’s easy to dismiss luxurious camp jewelry as frivolous, but we can totally seen the appeal. They can be a fun addition to your more “adult” jewelry, because we can only wear so many delicate gold pendants. Still, if you can’t justify the 2k price tag, there’s always Michael’s.
Shop More Designer Camp Jewelry
Personalized Rainbow Tennis Bracelet
Beloved indie brand The Last Line upgraded the tennis bracelet in rainbow diamonds and sapphires. You can add 14k gold letters too, which is nothing like what our parents gave us as kids.
51.01 Carat Opal Beaded Necklace
Irene Neuwirth took the candy necklace of our childhood, and made it fancy. These inedible opal beads are a must for a messy neck layer.
Just Say It Love Beaded Bracelet
This is like the polished version of BFF bracelets. You’ll need stacks of these guys, made by Roxanne Assouline, mother-in-law of Rosie (who also dabbles in whimsical designs).