What is fine jewellery or high jewellery, and how are they better than fashion jewellery?
Finishing touches can make or break an outfit. Nothing like putting on that perfect jewellery to make you feel confident and beautiful. But what makes fine jewellery different from fashion jewellery? And why should you invest in a piece?
Join us as we embark on this scintillating journey, unravelling the exquisite craftsmanship, precious materials, and timeless elegance that set fine jewellery apart, making it the ultimate symbol of luxury and personal expression.
Overview of Fine, High, and Fashion Jewellery Differences
Fine, high, and fashion jewellery differ primarily in materials, craftsmanship, and longevity. Fine and high jewellery uses precious metals and gemstones and is handcrafted by skilled artisans, resulting in durable, valuable pieces that last a lifetime. In contrast, fashion jewellery uses more affordable materials and is mass-produced, following trends and lacking the same level of detail and durability.
What is Fine Jewellery?
Fine jewellery is the term for jewellery made with precious metals and genuine gemstones. Metals such as gold, silver and platinum are used to create durable jewellery that you can wear daily. The gold is generally 14 or 18 karat which guarantees the whole piece is solid gold. Gemstones such as diamonds, sapphires, rubies and emeralds are used as sparkling embellishments to fine jewellery being set in precious metal to maintain the quality and durability of the overall piece.
Characteristics & Features of Fine Jewellery
Fine jewellery is distinct from other types of jewellery in several ways.
Quality of Materials
Fine jewellery utilises only the finest materials, including precious metals like gold, platinum, and sterling silver, as well as valuable gemstones such as diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and sapphires. These materials lend a sense of luxury and value to the finished pieces.
Fine jewellery is handcrafted by skilled artisans who possess a deep understanding of precious materials and the techniques required to shape, set, and polish them to perfection. This level of craftsmanship ensures that each piece is visually stunning, structurally sound, and durable.
Fine jewellery is designed to be a lasting investment, transcending fleeting fashion trends. The pieces often feature classic designs and high-quality materials that stand the test of time, ensuring they retain their beauty and value for generations.
Customisation and Personalisation
Fine jewellery can be tailor-made to suit individual preferences and styles, with bespoke designs that reflect the wearer's personality or commemorate special occasions. The attention to detail and personalisation in fine jewellery elevates it from an accessory to an expression of individuality and personal significance.
Due to the use of precious materials and the expert craftsmanship involved, fine jewellery often retains or even appreciates in value over time. This makes it an attractive investment and a potential heirloom to be passed down through generations.
Precious Metals and Gemstones Used in Fine Jewellery
Fine jewellery is often associated with using precious metals and gemstones, which contribute to the piece's value and allure. Gold, in various metal carats, is a popular choice due to its versatility and resistance to tarnishing. Platinum is another sought-after metal for high-end jewellery with its durability and hypoallergenic properties. Although more affordable than gold or platinum, sterling silver is still considered a precious metal used to create elegant jewellery pieces. These metals serve as the perfect canvas for showcasing the brilliance of precious stones, such as diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and sapphires. These gemstones add colour and sparkle to the jewellery and represent rarity and value. Can you imagine the skill and precision required to work with such delicate and valuable materials?
Types of Fine Jewellery
Fine jewellery encompasses various types of pieces, ranging from elegant rings and necklaces to bracelets, earrings, and brooches. Engagement rings, often featuring a diamond or other valuable gemstone, are a classic example of fine jewellery, symbolising the commitment and love between two people. Wedding bands made from precious metals like gold or platinum also fall into this category. Other types of fine jewellery include statement necklaces adorned with dazzling diamonds or vibrant gemstones, bracelets that showcase the beauty of precious metals and stones, and earrings that sparkle with every movement. Each of these pieces is a testament to the artistry and craftsmanship that goes into creating high-quality, bespoke jewellery.
Pros of Fine Jewellery
Fine jewellery lasts a long time. As it is a precious metal, it will not tarnish over time or lose its colour. This makes it suitable for everyday wear and jewellery made specifically for everyday use, such as engagement rings.
Precious metals and gemstones increase the quality of the jewellery. The materials are more expensive and, in the case of gemstones, harder to source, improving their quality and value. Fine jewellery is usually bought from high-end jewellery stores or qualified jewellers, subsequently making fine jewellery of a reputable quality.
Elegant and Valuable Design
Most fine jewellery is designed by high-end jewellery designers, which means you can usually find fine jewellery elegant and versatile in design.
Cons of Fine Jewellery
Because of the quality and materials, fine jewellery is made from; it is more expensive than fashion jewellery. However, if you think about how long it lasts compared to fashion jewellery, buying one piece of fine jewellery will prevent you from buying replacements, unlike fashion jewellery, which needs to be replaced relatively frequently.
What is High Jewellery?
High jewellery can be thought of as a step up from fine jewellery. High jewellery is crafted from the finest quality of rare precious gemstones and metals. It usually demonstrates a creative, unique design, similar to the foundations of high fashion. High jewellery usually comes from a famous designer or jewellery house. These pieces are rare and costly, hold their value, and potentially gain more value over time as they become rare or antique.
Characteristics & Features of High Jewellery
While the terms "fine jewellery" and "high jewellery" are often used interchangeably, high jewellery represents an even more exclusive and elevated subset within the realm of fine jewellery. It is characterised by several distinct features that set it apart from both fine and fashion jewellery.
High jewellery pieces are handcrafted by master artisans who have honed their skills through years of experience and apprenticeship. Their expertise and dedication to their craft ensure that each piece is meticulously crafted, boasting unparalleled levels of precision and artistry.
High jewellery is known for its innovative and often intricate designs that showcase the creativity and vision of the designers. These pieces are beautiful and exhibit a narrative or artistic concept, setting them apart from more generic jewellery.
High jewellery uses only the finest quality materials, including precious metals like gold, platinum, and silver, as well as top-grade gemstones such as diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, and rubies. The sourcing and selection of these materials play a crucial role in creating a high jewellery piece, as they contribute to its overall beauty, rarity, and value.
Unlike fashion jewellery, which is often mass-produced, high jewellery pieces are made in limited quantities or are even one-of-a-kind creations. This exclusivity adds to the desirability and prestige of owning a high jewellery piece.
Rarity and Exclusivity
The allure of high jewellery is greatly attributed to its rarity and exclusivity. Each piece is often produced in limited quantities, with some unique creations even being one-of-a-kind. The materials used in high jewellery are of the highest quality and are sourced from the most reputable international luxury jewellery houses, ensuring that each piece meets the most rigorous standards.
What is Semi-Fine/Demi-Fine Jewellery?
Demi fine jewellery is the stepping stone between semi-fine and fashion jewellery. Demi fine jewellery is made using gold-plated sterling silver or very low-carat gold and semi-precious gemstones. It is a more modern approach to jewellery styles mimicking trends and newer jewellery designs rather than the traditional styles of fine jewellery.
Semi-fine is made from gold-filled metal or low-carat gold with semi-precious gemstones. However, it carries a slightly higher price than demi-fine and tends to closely follow fine jewellery designs as the more affordable alternative to fine jewellery.
Both demi and semi-fine jewellery are made to last longer than fashion jewellery. However, they will tarnish more easily and quickly than fine jewellery as their plating could fade off. Demi and semi-fine jewellery are not for everyday wear like fine jewellery but will last longer than fashion jewellery.
When to Choose Demi-Fine or Semi-Fine Jewellery?
Deciding whether to opt for demi-fine or semi-fine jewellery depends on your personal preferences and budget. If you're looking for everyday pieces that are stylish, affordable, and more durable than fashion jewellery, demi-fine jewellery is a perfect choice. It's ideal for casual wear or dressing up a simple outfit with eye-catching accessories. Semi-fine jewellery, however, is perfect for those who desire a more luxurious feel without breaking the bank. It's an excellent choice for special occasions, gifting, or adding a touch of elegance to your everyday wardrobe. Ultimately, the decision comes down to your desired level of quality, style, and price, as both demi-fine and semi-fine jewellery offer unique benefits and appeal to different types of jewellery enthusiasts.
What is Fashion Jewellery?
Fashion jewellery is the lowest-priced jewellery. It is generally made from a brass copper or aluminium base with gold or silver plating. It is often called costume jewellery. It won’t last very long, therefore, can only be worn a handful of times before it tarnishes.
Characteristics & Features of Fashion Jewellery
Here, we'll explore the characteristics and features of fashion jewellery in depth:
Unlike fine jewellery that uses precious metals and gemstones, fashion jewellery often employs cheaper metals such as stainless steel, plated metals, and base metals.
Fashion jewellery pieces feature simulated stones manufactured to resemble genuine gemstones. These can include cubic zirconia, glass, or crystal, allowing for various designs at a fraction of the cost of their fine jewellery counterparts.
High-End Fashion Jewellery
While many fashion jewellery brands offer affordable options, there are also high-end brands that create more luxurious, high-quality pieces. These designers may use nontraditional jewellery materials such as ceramic, wood, or enamel to create unique and fashionable items.
One of the key aspects of fashion jewellery is its focus on current jewellery trends. Designers often create pieces inspired by the latest fashion styles, colours, and materials.
In addition to simulated stones and plated metals, fashion jewellery designers often use nontraditional materials like acrylic, resin, fabric, and leather to create eye-catching and unique designs.
Types of Fashion Jewellery
Fashion jewellery follows current jewellery trends in all types of jewellery, including necklaces, rings, earrings and bracelets. Fashion jewellery does not include engagement rings, bespoke jewellery, custom-made jewellery or jewellery from designer brands. This is because fashion jewellery is manufactured from inexpensive materials and produced for purchase off the shelf in a lower price range than designer brands or custom jewellery.
Pros of Fashion Jewellery
Fashion jewellery is the most affordable jewellery option. This is because it is made from inexpensive materials and is typically mass-produced. It means you can buy more jewellery for less. The price of fashion jewellery also makes it an excellent alternative to pricier jewellery if you plan to wear the piece on a one-off occasion, for example, a wedding or ball.
Buy off the Shelf
You can buy fashion jewellery immediately. Fashion jewellery is stocked in stores and online. You can purchase it straight away rather than wait for the production time for bespoke or fine custom-made jewellery.
Fun and On-Trend
Fashion jewellery is constantly being produced and keeping up with the latest trends. If you see a style you like from a social media influencer or Pinterest, you will most certainly find an affordable version in a fashion jewellery store. You can also find ‘dupes’ for designer jewellery or fine jewellery that doesn’t come with the price tag but will only last a short while.
Cons of Fashion Jewellery
Short-Lasting and Damaged Easily
Fashion jewellery will tarnish a lot. It is not crafted to last forever or survive through the battles of everyday life. Unfortunately, sleeping or showering with fashion jewellery will cause the gold or silver plating to rub away or even rust the metal underneath the plating.
Fashion jewellery is made to be purchased through different fashion trends. And as it is affordable, you will most likely see multiple people wearing it. Fashion jewellery is not bespoke or custom-made, so you won’t be able to say it is one a kind!
Why is Fine Jewellery Better than Fashion Jewellery?
Fine Jewellery as an Investment
Fine jewellery is an investment as it will last a long period (so long as it is cared for properly) and won’t need to be constantly replaced. Fine jewellery can also become family heirlooms or a piece of jewellery that can be passed down through generations.
Very Durable and Long-Lasting
Fine jewellery won’t tarnish in everyday activities as fashion jewellery would. It is safe to sleep in, get wet and wear daily. Fine jewellery will last a lifetime as long as it is looked after and cleaned when needed.
Fine jewellery is made from high-quality materials, which means it can be bespoke or custom-made, which means you choose every detail of the piece. You can select precious metals, gemstones, side stones, designs, settings, etc. However, this means you will need to research which details will suit your desired jewellery use. You will also need to work with a reputable bespoke jeweller to bring your piece to life.
Fine jewellery can be worn on any occasion to accessorise any outfit. As it can be worn daily, it can accessorise basic outfits to add a personal touch, perhaps a mother heirloom or a birthday gift. It can equally be useful to create an elegant evening look, pushing the outfit over the edge with the sparkle of diamonds.
How to Choose Fine Jewellery?
Choose Your Metal of Need
You can choose from multiple metals for fine jewellery, including yellow gold, white gold, rose gold, and platinum. The choice of metal depends on the design as well as what metal you usually prefer to wear. This will be important, so the design fits in with your other jewellery and also to ensure it will suit your skin tone.
Ask About the Treatment of Gemstones
The treatment of the gemstone refers to any process other than cutting and polishing. It improves the appearance and clarity of the colour. Treatments of gemstones need to be disclosed to the buyer, making it important knowledge to find out before you purchase the stone.
Choose the Right Setting
The correct setting for your stone is essential as it will not only hold it in place but also become a part of the design. The most common and popular setting is the prong or claw setting. The setting may be difficult for you to choose, so we advise you to seek advice from a reputable jeweller. At Layla Kaisi Collection, you will be shown different settings and advised on which particular setting will best suit your stone and design needs.
Caring for Different Types of Jewellery
When it comes to caring for jewellery, understanding the different types of pieces and the materials they're made from is crucial. While fine jewellery may require special attention to maintain its pristine appearance and value, fashion jewellery needs a different kind of care to ensure it lasts as long as possible.
Tips for Maintaining and Preserving Each Type of Jewellery
For fine jewellery, regular cleaning and inspection are essential to keep these valuable pieces looking their best. Avoid wearing your fine jewellery during activities that may cause scratches, dents, or exposure to harsh chemicals. It's also a good idea to have your high jewellery checked by a professional jeweller at least once a year to ensure the settings are secure and the gemstones are not loose.
On the other hand, when caring for fashion jewellery, remember that the materials are less durable, and excessive wear and tear may cause damage. Keep your fashion pieces away from water, humidity, and direct sunlight, and avoid spraying perfume or applying lotion directly onto the jewellery.
Cleaning and Storage Recommendations
Cleaning fine jewellery should be done with care, using a soft-bristled toothbrush, mild soap, and warm water to gently remove dirt and grime. Once cleaned, pat the pieces dry with a soft cloth, and store them individually in soft pouches or lined compartments to prevent scratching and tarnishing. For fashion jewellery, use a dry, soft cloth to wipe off any dirt or residue. Storing fashion jewellery in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight will help preserve its appearance.
Importance of Selecting the Right Jewellery
Selecting the right jewellery is essential, as it not only complements one's style and personality but can also serve as an investment that lasts a lifetime. By choosing high-quality fine jewellery you are investing in pieces that retain their value and often appreciate over time. The right piece of fine jewellery can elevate any ensemble, adding a touch of elegance and sophistication to even the simplest outfit. Moreover, fine jewellery pieces often hold sentimental value and can be passed down through generations, making them a worthwhile investment in terms of both emotional and financial value.
Certifications and Hallmarks
Certifications and hallmarks are essential in ensuring fine jewellery's quality and authenticity. These markers help distinguish genuine precious metals and natural gemstones from their counterfeit or synthetic counterparts, ensuring buyers invest in pieces with lasting value and rarity.
Certifications for precious gemstones, such as diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds, are often provided by reputable gemological laboratories like the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) or the American Gem Society (AGS). These organisations assess the quality of gemstones based on factors like cut, clarity, colour, and carat weight and provide certificates to verify their findings. Obtaining a certification for a gemstone guarantees its natural origin and ensures that it has not been treated or enhanced in any way that might compromise its value.
On the other hand, hallmarks are official marks or stamps applied to precious metals like gold, platinum, or silver to confirm their purity. Hallmarks on jewellery pieces are usually accompanied by a stamp indicating the manufacturer's or designer's unique mark. This information allows buyers to trace the provenance of a piece and helps ensure its quality and authenticity.
Importance of Certifications and Hallmarks in Fine and High Jewellery
Certifications and hallmarks are crucial in fine and high jewellery, as they guarantee quality, authenticity, and value. Certifications offer unbiased assessments of a gemstone's characteristics, ensuring that buyers are well-informed about their purchase and avoid synthetic or treated gemstones. Hallmarks establish the purity and authenticity of precious metals, helping trace a piece's provenance and protect buyers from inferior materials.
These elements contribute to the fine jewellery market's stability and credibility by setting industry standards and promoting ethical practices. Buyers can ensure their jewellery collections maintain the highest quality and value for years to come by investing in certified and hallmarked pieces.
How to Identify Authentic Pieces?
Identifying authentic fine and high jewellery pieces can be challenging, especially for those new to the world of precious metals and gemstones. Here are some steps to help you recognise genuine pieces and make informed decisions when purchasing fine jewellery:
Look for Hallmarks
As previously mentioned, hallmarks are official stamps that indicate the purity of precious metals. Check for these marks on the jewellery piece, often located on the clasp or inside the ring band. Familiarise yourself with common hallmarks, such as "925" for sterling silver, "750" for 18k gold, or "950" for platinum.
Check for Certifications
As discussed earlier, certifications from reputable gemological laboratories can provide vital information about a gemstone's quality and origin. Ensure that the piece you are considering comes with a certificate from a trusted organisation like GIA or AGS.
Examine the Craftsmanship
Authentic fine and high jewellery pieces are often characterised by exceptional craftsmanship and attention to detail. Look for smooth finishes, secure settings, and well-executed designs. Flaws or inconsistencies may indicate a counterfeit or lower-quality piece.
Inspect the Gemstones
Genuine gemstones usually exhibit specific characteristics that can help identify their authenticity. Natural gemstones typically have inclusions or imperfections, whereas synthetic stones may appear flawless. Additionally, the colour of natural gemstones may vary, while synthetic stones often have uniform colouration.
Purchase From Reputable Sources
Buying fine and high jewellery from well-established and reputable retailers, designers, or auction houses can minimise the risk of acquiring counterfeit or inauthentic pieces. Look for businesses with a solid reputation, positive reviews, and a history of dealing in fine jewellery.
At Layla Kaisi Collection, our top priority is ethical standards, never compromising human rights. We collaborate with select artisanal miners and cutters, ensuring a direct and traceable supply chain. Layla handpicks suppliers based on recommendations within our close-knit jewellery community, ensuring they share our commitment to quality and ethics. Our designs are crafted locally using precious recycled metals or alluvial gold from New Zealand. We work exclusively with suppliers adhering to the Kimberley Process, certifying conflict-free diamonds. We also specialise in sourcing high-quality antique diamonds, upcycling these historical treasures into new designs upon client request, reducing environmental impact and preserving their timeless beauty.
Seek Professional Help
Lastly, consult a reputable jeweller or gemologist if you are uncertain about a piece's authenticity. They can help evaluate the jewellery and provide expert advice on its quality and value.
Customisation and Bespoke Jewellery
The world of fine jewellery is increasingly embracing customisation and bespoke designs. These unique creations are a natural extension of the qualities defining high jewellery, such as exceptional craftsmanship and using precious materials. By allowing clients to collaborate with skilled designers on exclusive collections and bespoke pieces, they can express their unique tastes while creating meaningful connections to their favourite jewellery items.
Customisation in fine jewellery involves working closely with clients to bring their visions to life, resulting in truly one-of-a-kind creations. This level of personalisation sets bespoke jewellery apart from mass-produced designs and adds an extra layer of luxury to the high jewellery experience.
Furthermore, many clients seek bespoke jewellery for its intrinsic value as a wearable art piece, often inspired by their personal art collections or treasured memories. These exclusive collections showcase exceptional craftsmanship and tell a story that reflects the wearer's individuality.
Don't wait any longer - start your bespoke jewellery journey today. Discover the unmatched beauty and personalisation offered by LKC's Bespoke Jewellery Design Services.
The LKC Experience
At Layla Kaisi Collection, you will be guided through the entire process of designing your fine jewellery, from the initial design stages through to the final product, with Layla herself. You will meet Layla to discuss every detail relevant to you to craft the perfect material reflection of your story. Choosing fine jewellery at LKC is about writing your story in the medium of fine jewellery rather than picking a generic piece.