While reading a magazine a few weeks ago I ran across earrings like the gold set pictured above. The same designer had made a pair out of seed pearls and 14kt gold wire and hoops. They retailed for $195.
Below are earrings I made 3 years ago. They are both silver. One set has turquoise beads and the other acquamarine. Sorry I couldn't find the pair I made from seed pearls and silver! Both pair are a little "lived" in but greatly loved. I bought the string of beads from Phoenix Jewelry parts on 37th Street and the silver wire and earing bases from metalliferous (see earlier post for recommendation). Based on the amount of bead and silver used for each they must have costs me well under $10 per set.
Are they exactly like the gold pair? No, they never could be. Could I go to either supply place and buy gold and pearls, sure I couold but then isn't do it your self luxury all about having the option of making unique items that reflect your tastes and abilities, both of which surely improve with time?
If you live in New York or are interested in making yourself self some personalized jewelry finding your way to Phoenix's store or website is worth the time and effort.