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  • Writer's pictureSamantha May Lee

Making a better choice - Fine Jewelry vs. Fashion Jewelry

Fine jewelry and fashion jewelry (also known as custom jewelry) are differentiated by the materials used to make them. Fine jewelry are made of precious metals such as gold, silver, platinum, palladium and hard gemstones such as diamond, Moissanite, sapphire and ruby. Fashion jewelry on the other hand are made with base metal alloys such as brass, copper, aluminum or leather and fabric and softer gemstones such as amethyst, cubic zirconia or crystals. Plated, filled, and gold vermeil jewelry are also categorized as fashion jewelry.

Given that fashion jewelry are made of less expensive materials, its retail price is naturally a lot more affordable compared to fine jewelry depending on its brand and quality. You can buy different styles on a whim in all colors that will suit your wardrobe and mood. But is it better to buy more fashion than fine jewelry?

Lets compare the pros and cons:


Affordable More Expensive

Available in various styles and materials Available in various metals and colors

Usually not repairable Repairable

Easily replaceable Maintenance needed

Easily tarnished and prone to color change Maintains or become more valuable overtime

Although both have their plus and minuses, it all boils down to its retained value. Fine jewelry, even though more expensive, is worth the investment.

My father started working in Saudi Arabia when I was really young. He would come home with gold jewelry as a home coming present for my siblings and I. He was stationed in different cities and would work from 6 to 8 months in a year and then come home to take a break and be with us. He's gone back and forth between countries for almost three decades until he retired that I've accumulated so much fine jewelry. I remember him describing the gold stores called "Souk" like the cave where Aladdin fell and all kinds of gold jewelry and trinkets are displayed from floor to ceiling.

I recently looked at the purity of the jewelry that my dad gave to me and I was surprised to see 22k hallmarked on most of them and a few were 18k. I even used the acid test to make sure that the stamp was correct on each jewelry and they were. As you may know, 22k means there is 92% gold and 8% alloy present in the jewelry piece. During the time that he was buying these gold jewelry for us, the gold price was just around $170/ounce. Today, gold price is playing at around $1600/ounce. Just from the weight of the gold from these jewelry I've accumulated over the years, it is worth almost $10,000 nowadays. Even though some of them have broken clasps, missing a pair or needs some cleaning, they are valuable.

If you are conscious about spending your money wisely even for trinkets and ornaments, choose the one that you can gain from or something that will remain valuable for generations. Fine jewelry is considered an asset, a form of currency (or could easily be exchanged for one) and something that your children could inherit from your estate.

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