If you enjoy working with gemstones, but find the prices a bit steep, you might consider the vast array of beautiful gemstone chips available for jewelry making.
There are also a variety of glass chips in every hue.
I also do wire work, so combining wire and chips has worked well for me.
You can easily make them into dangles to attach to pendants or earrings. My favorite technique is wiring them to metal findings for bracelets, pendants, charms and earrings.