5 Differences Between Costume and Fine Designer Jewelry

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Do I wear costume or fine designer jewelry?

It’s the eternal question when it comes to donning the finest #bling.  Costume or Fine Designer Jewelry?  But the decision is far easier when considering key differences between the two.  And, although prices are a driving factor in jewelry consumption these days, when evaluating the benefits of fine jewelry – along with the facts – the decision is clearer than a VVS1.

Designer Jewelry Isn’t Plated

Unlike fine designer jewelry, costume jewelry is just plain plated.  What this means is that a cheaper base metal, typically brass, is used to construct the jewelry setting.  A thin layer of precious metal is then applied to the base metal in order to give it polish.  Unfortunately, cheaper jewelry pieces aren’t always plated and are sometimes simply painted to resemble gold, silver or platinum.  So, when it comes to deciding which is better, side with fine designer jewelry.  It won’t leave you with much regret or a green finger.

It’s All In The Materials

Fine designer jewelry draws its higher price point from quality materials that are used to construct each piece as well as the reliable craftsmanship.  Quality settings and pieces are made with high quality gold, silver or platinum and feature diamonds or other gemstones with minimal inclusions.  Precious gemstones, like rubies and emeralds, also help in prolonging the shelflife of your unique piece.

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Madia Bracelet by KC Sukamto 

Costume Jewelry Is Bad For Your Health

Other than being plated, costume jewelry can sometimes be made of different materials other than brass.  According to a 2012 study conducted by non-profit organization, The Ecology Center, costume jewelry pieces purchased from several known discount stores showed unhealthy levels of toxic elements like lead, mercury, arsenic or cadmium – considered harmful to the wearer and small children.  Fine designer jewelry is free of harmful chemicals, which only adds to its value.

An Investment with ‘Sparkling Returns’

Although not officially recognized as an investment class, luxury designer jewelry can sometimes be worth the investment.  Typically vintage pieces, diamonds or pieces owned by celebrities hold their value and are sold in global auction houses like Christie’s or Sotheby’s.   But beware, not all ‘vintage’ pieces hold their value.  Notably, collections dating back to the 19th century have lost significant value due to mass production runs that took place those time periods.

Designer Jewelry Is Forever

Although considered by some as a simple accessory for a lavish lifestyle, fine designer jewelry is more than that.  It’s a representation of self-expression – a way to discover what’s uniquely you.  And, although there might be a place for costume jewelry in your collection, it typically won’t be as enduring a fine designer jewelry piece.

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