It's not that costume-y faceted rhinestones aren't a great way to add a little bling to your wardrobe—if you're in a pinch. We just think the trend of outsized, obviously plastic rocks has lost a bit of its original sparkle. This summer, when you're faced with rack upon rack of embellished sandals, try picking something studded with natural stones instead of the manufactured stuff. Turquoise, coral, mica, and semi-precious rocks all up the glam factor just as much as factory-fresh lucite stones, but they give your look a more earthy, contemporary vibe. Check out the classy cool of Mystique's 1644 turquoise-embellished sandals (above right, $140). Aren't they so much more subtly chic than those garish Betsey Johnson Frey flats (left, $235)? If you're convinced and are ready to swap your faux sparkle for something more naturally beautiful, check out more of our picks below.
Bo'em loves to use unexpected materials in their luxe line of footwear. The chunky mottled green stones on these Minu thongs ($209) are different on every pair, so you've got an original, conversation-sparking work of art right on your feet.
A swirly, pearly silver-and-black mica disc sets these Pelle Moda Janika thongs ($125) apart from their rhinestone-encrusted counterparts. As an added bonus, the smooth, coin-flat disc won't tear up your feet like a pointy and potentially hazardous rhinestone setting might. Pick these for everyday wear, as their shine is totally subdued by the earthy brown leather.
Infuse your look with a taste of the Far East by choosing a coral-studded pair of thongs from Vince Camuto ($98). The tomato-red coral, set off by lovely new gold, pops against the season's bright yellows and oranges, but this pair would also look so pretty paired with a clean white dress.