Uncommon James Review: The Good, The Bad, The Pretty,The Ugly

You might not be familiar with the name Uncommon James, but I’m sure you are familiar with the name Kristin Cavallari. She first hit the scene in 2014, with what most people consider the first reality TV show “Laguna Beach” and then stared in the spinoff “The Hills“. Shortly after she launched a 6-year shoe collaboration with Chinese Laundry. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, she hosts red carpet events on E! and is married to the former NFL quarterback, Jay Cutler.

In 2017 Kristin decided to take her love for fashion to the next level and started her own company called Uncommon James – a jewelry line for women-on-the-go. It was her first official entrepreneur venture that she ran out of their home, with the help of Jay.

They did everything from designing, manufacturing, and packaging. With the success of her line came the realization she needed more help; so she hired a few employees and decided to make yet another return to the TV screen.

Kristin decided to document her journey on E! with a show called “Very Cavallari”. The show took her business to another level and it was an instant success. She began to hire a few more employees to help run the business and she moved her company to the world of brick and motor; starting her first official store in Nashville.

It is the start of this show that begins the start of my love for Uncommon James jewelry.

My Favorite Uncommon James Copy Cat Items:

Introduction To Uncommon James

Me Wearing Uncommon James Jewlery

Before I saw the show I was unaware of the jewelry line made by Kristin, and after just one season I was hooked. How could I not be? I grew up watching Kristin on TV and I admired her! She was the badass chick who spoke her mind and didn’t take shit from anyone.

Seeing her all grown up running a business of her own was inspiring. After watching just one episode, I was taken aback by how she was still the same person, but different at the same time. She was grown up and somehow got even more beautiful, had a more mature style and had on this beautiful jewelry I couldn’t take my eyes off of! When I found out I could purchase THE EXACT SAME jewelry she was wearing throughout the episode, well that just damn near stopped my heart.

My Uncommon James Jewelry Saga

My heart almost stopped again when I saw the prices of her jewelry. Don’t get me wrong, I am an online shopping junkie. My shopping habits border shopaholic status but I typically try to search out the best bang for my buck. I’d rather purchase a bunch of reasonably priced items then purchase one mega pricy item. I like options and I’m indecisive, so it kind of goes hand-in-hand.

Uncommon James Box

How much does uncommon jewelry cost? 

Everyone has their own definition of cheap and expensive, I get it, so take my review for what it’s worth.

Their website draws you in by advertising jewelry ranging from $38-$78, and that is a little misleading. Sure, if you check out their sale page they might go down in price, but their regular prices do not go down in the lower levels; except for one ring that is a ring width of 2mm and a ring-opening: 5mm for $34. And star earrings that are 0.5 cm for $38. I feel like they just recently started putting more items on sale vs. when I first purchased my items, but I will get back to this point later.

While I wasn’t thrilled about the prices, I sort of was already on the website, hooked and browsing sooo…you know how that goes ladies…there was no turning back.

Prices Points For Non-Sale Items:

  • Earrings: $38-$75
  • Bracelets: $46- $54
  • Necklaces: $42-$74

Shoppable Items

My First Order

Uncommon James Order

My first order with them was a hefty one, not gonna lie. Call it a turning 30 crisis and feeling like I need more adult jewelry, or chalk it up to the show hooking me onto the jewelry by having Kristin advertise it. Either way, I filled that basket up like there was no tomorrow!

As you can see, I got about 5 items for $302. This is THE MOST money I have ever spent on jewelry, so I was anticipating big things.

I was stoked for my order to arrive and then the problems started to happen. While this is no life or death situation, it was a bit annoying when you’re spending so much money on jewelry.

My original order confirmation was sent out on 3/12 and then I got a second tracking number on 3/16. Additionally, on 3/16 I got a text saying it was out for delivery and then a second text saying it was delivered. A few days later I got my package, so all was fine in the world of Megan.

Each separate item was placed in velvet bags and that’s about it. There was a card saying thanks and a hashtag to use when posting on social media. I was a little surprised at the packaging, to be honest. I thought each individual item could have been packaged better and not just thrown in a little velvet bag. There were no peanuts, foam or anything else keeping them secure in the bag in which they were sent in. I thought each little big would be separated a bit more.

Upon opening the items, I was sort of surprised by the quality of them. They were VERY lightweight and upon further inspection, you can see where clasps are put together and where seams on stuff start and end.

The Rhapsody gold earrings had bent earring backs when I took them out of the package, but I just took my fingers and straightened them out. This made me feel both happy, but kind of shocked me at the same time, due to the fact that I didn’t need pliers in order to do actually straighten them out.

I was further disappointed about the backs of the earrings that faded after one wear: earrings I get for 1/3 of the price don’t even do that. One set of earring clasps broke after a few years but I just wear different backs with them and it’s fine.

The piece to the earrings that goes through the ear in my Shot in the Dark set is VERY short and every time I wear them the back of the earring digs into my ears. I didn’t want to be that person and complain, so I did what every mature adult does, and left a bad Yelp review. Did this fix my problem? No, and looking back I should have just reached out to them.

My biggest complaint all around was the price point to the quality of what I got. The pieces just aren’t built up to the level of what they are being charged for. This fact mixed with the lack of packaging left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. I knew I most likely couldn’t justify purchasing anything else again from Uncommon James until…

My Second Order

My sister-in-law shares my love of Uncommon James with me and when they had a half off sale she immediately texted me! I was hungover that morning so I went back on the internet later to see exactly what the hype was about!

The first thing that surprised me was how many pieces were actually up for sale! I was stocked to see the half-off prices and I started filing that cart up. Before I checked out I asked what my sister-in-law got because I didn’t want to twin with her too much. She did have one necklace in her cart that I had been dying to get for months, so I told her I might twin with her on just that one thing. When I went to look for it on the website it wasn’t there. The exact same necklace she purchased two hours earlier was no longer available on sale? It was available for full price, so they weren’t just sold out of it. Seemed a little bit weird and inconsistent. I refreshed my computer numerous times and logged on from multiple computers just to make sure mine wasn’t glitched out. Not sure what happened there, but I was, and still am, butt-hurt because it’s an adorable necklace! Would have gotten it on sale but wasn’t going to pay full price for it! My theory on the necklace gate: Perhaps someone messed up by putting that necklace on sale. Someone else caught the mistake and they had to change it from the sale price back to the original price

As you can see, I didn’t have a hard time still finding stuff to purchase! A thing I noticed right off the bat was the different checkout prices. When you compare the second order to the first you will notice the second time around I had to pay additional charges for WI taxes. Another difference was the first order I had to pay $6.88 in shipping and I didn’t have to pay to ship this time around. 

Both orders took place in 2019, one being in March and the second being in June. Another Megan theory: Perhaps her accountant told her to start taxing people per state to help her on her end with taxes? Not sure, just speculation on my end. I’m not an account so who knows.

The second thing I noticed directly after placing my second order was how many things I got for such a cheaper price! My second order contained 8 items for $260! That’s more items for less money than my first order! It felt like such a victory, I was buzzing from the steal of jewelry I just got compared to the first time!

In all honesty, I feel like the sale prices are way closer to what she should always be selling the items for. Even these prices may be a few dollars to high, but way more respectable and justifiable. If she sold everything at her half-off sale prices, I feel like more people would be apt to buy them.

My “problem” with this second order was my sister-in-law got her items almost a full week before I did! At the time of the order, it said each cart purchased would be sent out by that Friday, but mine wasn’t sent out till the following week. I wouldn’t call it a problem to be honest. I didn’t order these for a special occasion, so I didn’t care when I got them. If someone was ordering items for a particular day and they were expecting them by what the website stated, then it would be for them.

The second-order had a Huge UPGRADE in the packaging department. I was thrilled to see that and glad for them that they decided to make that effort and change. My total order was delivered in a box with tons of tissue paper, and I mean tons and tons of tissue paper. Each item was not only in individual velvet bags but in plastic bags. Earrings were attached to cardboard, and other items were placed with heavy-duty paper inserts. This made it, so each jewelry item had something to sit on and not just hang out in the box by itself.

Right off the bat, four of my items were broken or put together wrong, and this is what really irritated me. This stuff is priced for way too much for that many things to be broken, and put together wrong. I wrote an email to their customer service department and they responded back pretty quickly.

I told them I was upset, that the first time I ordered I let it go, but this time I wasn’t going to stay with damaged items. I either wanted a refund or replacements sent. They asked me which items were broken and sent me replacements for them with expediated! So at the end of the day, all of my troubles were fixed and I got proper pieces.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, I think there are still a few kinks Uncommon James needs to work out in just about every department. From their Yelp, you can see there is a clear online ordering issue that needs to be looked at. I wasn’t the only one to experience problems and almost every online review has multiple issues when you look at their Yelp reviews. If you go into the buying experience and know what problems can occur, it might not be as annoying as if you expect the entire process to go 100% smooth.

Obviously, I love the minimalist look of the pieces because even with all the issues I’ve had I still keep ordering from them. I really suggest waiting for their sales to order items or you are going to be paying a pretty penny. Honestly, the jewelry is WAY overpriced and isn’t really worth such a big price tag. There is a difference in something that is solid gold and something that is gold plated brass like these pieces are. It is unfortunate all of these pieces are gold plated brass and would have been better for the buyer if it was a gold filed product.

What is the difference between gold and gold plated brass?

If these pieces were made from true gold or a gold filed product then they would hold its integrity over time, never fade or tarnish and last a lot longer overall. Because these pieces are gold plated brass, the gold-coat over the brass will tarnish over time. This is because the brass will migrate into the gold plated layer due to it having zero barrier plate. 

Over time, brass jewelry can turn the skin green and tarnish over time: I’m interested to see how long these pieces last me. After just one wear some of the backings to the earrings faded and it almost appears dirty. I wear different backings from the earrings I already own.  I researched this and it is common for brass coated jewelry to tarnish in just a few short hours of wear!

A few other cons of gold plated brass includes:

  • Plating can be scratched or chipped very easily
  • Because the gold content value is low the items should be priced lower and they won’t be something that will last you into the next decade
  • Can’t wear gold plated items in water – which means it will be bad to wear if you sweat a bunch or plan on being around anything wet.
  • Items aren’t worth much (hence why I keep bringing up the fact they are overpriced) because there are only a few microns of gold in the actual product
  • Should be put on AFTER you put on things such as lotion, perfume or any hair product.

Uncommon James Pros

The thing I love so much about her jewelry is how simple and minimalist each piece is. They can all be worn together in a layered look or can be worn as a single stand out jewelry piece. I love that I can match my earrings to my necklaces and vice versa. While each piece is expensive having them be able to match means you can wear the pieces for multiple occasions.

Another prominent thing that stands out to me with this line is the different sizes things are available in. You can have bigger more stand out pieces, or smaller dainty ones. Once again, this aids in the mix and match options of wearing them and really can be a fun thing to play with.

When you get one piece and a new line is rolled out, she keeps each new style similar enough to still be able to wear them all together, so it helps you get more for your money. Each piece really is timeless and I don’t see these pieces ever going out of style. Having different pieces in each line resemble each other also means you can buy one piece and not have to worry about having it be out of style by the time the 4th or 5th line is rolled out.

Each piece is typically available in gold, silver or rose gold which means they can be worn during any time of year and you can get more use out of them. These metals NEVER go out of style and you don’t have to worry about if your “too old” to wear her pieces or not. They work for any age.

Each piece can blend into any women’s style because they play off of the clothes that are worn. The jewelry can match into any type of style including:

  • Minimalist
  • Girly
  • Punk-rock
  • Alternative
  • Casual
  • Flirty

Make sure you double-check the dimensions of the pieces because I ordered some of them expecting them to be bigger than what they actually are in person. They do have product measurements online, so that issue is totally my fault, I should have double-checked that better.

Uncommon James Cons

I’m not going to keep beating a dead horse, so all I’m going to say for the first con is the stuff is priced way too high. Each thing should be sold by at least half of what they currently sell the items for.

The order notifications need to be looked at by someone so that there aren’t two separate shipping notifications going out. It makes it unclear when someone should be expecting their packages.

They need to do big quality control of their products. Two separate orders shouldn’t be delivered with multiple things broken or put together wrong.

The way the earrings are made that are latch backs just don’t work. I had to take pliers and fix all of the ones I have. They don’t stay closed enough on the clasp and the earrings fall off. If you take pliers and pinch the little clasp part it will hold the piece that goes through the ear, but they need to just make them better from the start.

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