As different summer holidays approach, you will see an influx of commercials, ads, social media plugs advertising fine jewelry sales. So far this week I have seen a Nordstrom fine jewelry sale, JCPenney fine jewelry sale, and Macy's fine jewelry sale. Different retailers have different “fine jewelry” definitions. Not all fine jewelry is created equal and not all “fine jewelry” labels can be trusted. I’ll tell you what happens when you skimp on jewelry and what to look for when shopping in your local “fine jewelry” department.
Value vs Quality
Pandora beads are a favorite among fine jewelry collections
Nordstrom is one of my favorite places to shop. Probably because of the huge Nordstrom anniversary sale that is covered by so many fashion bloggers and Instagram influencers. They carry a wide range of designer brands in their fine jewelry department. For example, David Yurman is a household name that most are familiar with. His brand is iconic and recognizable. It is also one of the most copied or duped designers around. You can do an Amazon search for David Yurman and get pages of cheap replicas. I can appreciate a babe on a budget who opts for the less expensive option however these fashion pieces do not hold a candle to the quality or longevity of the real deal.
I purchased one of these knockoffs and was so discouraged by the flimsiness and how quickly it fell apart. Yes, I only spent a fraction of the cost but over the long run, I could have invested in a piece that would hold its value and would leave me decades of enjoyment and style.
When I hear the word “dupe” I usually think of makeup (years of watching YouTube makeup gurus I suppose). I have found that there are exact dupes in makeup. A dupe in makeup means that the drugstore version is almost the exact match of the designer item. In fine jewelry, however, there are no dupes, there is no apple to apple comparisons. You can not compare base metal to solid gold or glass to genuine gemstones. The cream (fine jewelry) will always rise to the top.
The 4 Cs are vital to understanding the quality of a diamond
In regards to other fine jewelry retailers near you that advertise themselves this way…it is wise to really examine the pieces that are advertised. I searched for fine jewelry deals and saw many man-made diamonds along with gold plated pieces. Even pieces that have genuine diamonds lackluster and this is because not all diamonds are created equal. Diamonds increase in value and beauty with the ranking of the 4 C’s. Diamonds that are poor quality are still diamonds, yes, but they are dull, dark, yellow in color, lack brilliance or fire, and sparkle. Even a bad cut of a diamond can make the light almost leak out of the diamond and leave a hollow looking stone.
Often the LED lighting in stores can cause everything to sparkle but if you are able to see visible inclusions like cloudiness or dark, pepper looking spots, these diamonds will not be the most lively stones in natural light (which is what we want).
The Trend of Fashion Jewelry
Fashion jewelry has different definitions. When most people think fashion jewelry they are thinking of cute, trendy jewelry that you can find for under $50 or so and that will usually only last one season. Most of the time, fashion jewelry also includes gold plated or silver plated jewelry.
With plated pieces, they do not tarnish or turn your finger green but the plating will usually start to wear off and the piece holds no fine metal value because the plating is so minimal. Again, if you are on a budget this is something that is very attractive when shopping. But the downside is that you are left with nothing to show for your hard earned money once the piece is broken or tarnished.
When a fashion jewelry piece breaks, it can very rarely be fixed because of the base metal element. Solid gold (white and yellow), platinum and sterling silver can be repaired by a jeweler because these precious metal can handle the heat of soldering and repairing whereas fashion jewelry will usually just melt and be history if you try to repair it. If you are on a budget, I would suggest opting for sterling silver jewelry.
Tiffany & Co. most popular sterling silver collection: Love Bugs
Sterling silver is a noble metal that can be easily polished and kept looking new by keeping it in a plastic bag when not being worn. It still holds its value as a fine jewelry piece and most of the time will last many generations. Sterling silver pieces can even be found with genuine diamonds and gemstones if you want that extra sparkle. Sterling silver can also have the look of white gold without the price tag.
A lot of high-end designers offer sterling silver too. We already discussed David Yurman who also mixes sterling silver and 18k yellow gold. Tiffany & Co. also has a sterling silver line that is affordable, is high quality, and is a good investment.
Buying fine jewelry, true fine jewelry, whether it be a designer or not, is worth the extra money spent. There are no dupes in fine jewelry and the cheaper options may give you instant gratification but will not last long term.