How to Choose: Fashion, Fine Jewelry, and You

Fashion jewelry and fine jewelry. The prices are different, of course, but both can be attractive, stylish, and the perfect accessory to your look. How different are they really?

From what they are made of to how they are crafted, fine jewelry and fashion jewelry are two very different approaches to the art of jewelry-making. Read on to learn more, plus some tips to find out which you should choose.

Fashion jewelry

Fashion jewelry is often on-trend and stylish. It covers the jewelry you’ll find at most boutiques and clothing stores. From bohemian or glamorous to classic styles, fashion jewelry provides a good look at a low price, which is a huge part of its draw. Fashion jewelry makes a great statement, but it has a limited lifespan.

Fashion jewelry uses base metals, the industry term for inexpensive metals and alloys. These metals may include nickel, copper, aluminum, and brass, among others. Fashion jewelry may be gold or silver plated, giving in the luster of the precious metal.

Like the metals used in fashion jewelry, the gems are also of a less expensive variety. In some cases, the “stones” are actually plastic, glass, or resin. In other cases, they are semi precious stones like amethyst, jade, or lapis lazuli. 

Over time, fashion jewelry is likely to degrade and lose its shine. Plated metals may tarnish or rub away, leaving a piece spotted or discolored. The glue that often holds the stones in place may crack, and the metals are more likely to bend out of shape. And because of the construction of fashion jewelry, it’s difficult and impractical to repair. If it breaks, it’s time to buy a new piece.

Fine jewelry

Breathtakingly beautiful, fine jewelry is imbued with style. Like fashion jewelry, different pieces appeal to different styles

Yet fine jewelry is made with a different purpose in mind. Using high quality metals and precious stones, fine jewelry comes with a more noticeable price tag than fashion jewelry does. However, the quality expectations are high, and fine jewelry is created to last.

Fine jewelry uses precious metals, like gold, sterling silver, and platinum, as well as white and rose gold. These pieces are solid gold or silver, not just plated in the precious metal. This means that they won’t wear down or lose their beauty. Additionally, these precious metals are less reactive than cheaper alternatives. They won’t cause skin irritation or oxidize. 

Four gems have traditionally earned the title of precious stone: diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and blue sapphires. Most other gems are classified as semi-precious. Fine jewelry isn’t limited to the four stones listed above. You can find beautiful fine jewelry that feature topaz, citrine, agate, and many others. In fine jewelry, the stones won’t be glued in place; they will be fastened using metal settings. Metal settings resist the wear and tear of age, and they allow fine jewelry to be cherished long into the future.

Precious metals are fixable in a way that base metals are not. If a gold chain breaks, or a platinum ring needs to be resized, a skilled jeweler will fix the piece for you--no need to throw it out. 

Which should you choose?

Before you decide whether to purchase fashion jewelry or fine jewelry, take a moment to ask yourself what you’re hoping to get out of the piece. 

Are you looking to follow a rising trend? Are you testing out a new look that you haven’t decided is for you? Maybe it’s something edgy or experimental, or perhaps it’s a statement piece you’d only wear a few times. If that’s the case, you may be looking for fashion jewelry, which allows you to embrace a look without breaking the bank.

But maybe you’re looking for a long term piece. Perhaps you’re replacing a pair of earrings you wore until they broke, or you’re hoping to find a necklace you can add to your everyday ensemble. If it’s time-tested and classic, or if you already know it’s a style you love, we would recommend fine jewelry. The cost will pay off, and you’ll be investing in craftsmanship that will last.

Find a fine jeweler near you, and don't forget to ask for Zeghani.