Designer, Fashion and Fine Jewellery : Definitely captures our attention, but what is the difference?
Fine jewellery – pieces that become family heirlooms to be passed from generation to generation usually has an associated price tag to reflect the quality materials and workmanship in each individual piece. Here is some needed information to help you feel informed when making the decision to purchase fine jewellery or fashion jewellery.
Fine jewellery is distinguished by the valuable metals and natural precious gems, including pearls, that create each piece. The metals used are white, yellow or rose gold, platinum and sterling silver.
Any jewellery that is plated using pewter, brass, copper, bronze, aluminum or other base metals – sometimes in different combinations that may include leather, fabric or resins – is known as “fashion jewellery”. You may have also heard the term “costume jewellery”.
Designer jewellery is fashion jewellery that has been designed and or created by various artisans who are known for their unique use of materials and creative styling. The pricing will often reflect the designers brand name, the workmanship and the quality of the piece.
GOLD – 14k, 16k 18k gold is primarily gold with a mix of durable metals like zinc, nickel, copper or rhodium, as gold on its own is quite soft. There are 3 types of gold: white, yellow and rose gold.
WHITE GOLD is a mix of pure gold and on an alloy of white material such as nickel, silver, palladium and with a rhodium coating.
YELLOW GOLD is made with pure gold and an alloy metal such as copper and zinc. The higher the karat means the purer the gold, but also the less durable metal.
24 k is 99.99% pure, 22k is 91.7 pure, 18k is 75% pure, 14k is 58.3% pure
ROSE GOLD is pure gold alloyed with copper to produce the rose gold colour. The more copper used in the piece the more rose the colour. The colour range is from pink to rose to red. The common mix is 75% gold and 25% copper which not only creates the colour but also makes it a more durable metal.
GOLD VERMEIL refers to jewellery made of silver that is plated with a 10k layer of gold.
PLATINUM is almost the same as white gold but is pricier as more platinum is needed due to the density of the metal. Platinum is known to scratch more easily and needs to be cleaned and polished more often.
STERLING SILVER is an alloy of silver that is 92.5 % by weight of silver and 7.5% of weight of other metals, usually copper, thus the reference 925. The additional alloy creates the hardness and durability of the silver. Some sterling silver jewellery is plated with a layer of silver to increase the shine of the silver. Sterling silver if not coated can tarnish due to the humidity in the air. If not worn often it is best kept in a plastic or specially lined bag.
Hopefully this brief introduction helps you understand the basics of materials, terms and qualities of jewellery. Further blogs will delve into individual pieces, specific artists, fashion trends and other fun jewellery information.