Fine Jewellery Verses Costume Jewellery
What is Fine Jewellery:
It is jewellery that contains both a precious metal and precious gemstones. Precious metals used mainly in jewellery are Gold, Silver, Platinum, Rhodium and Palladium
Gold is a chemical element with symbol Au and atomic number 79. In its purest form, it is a bright, slightly reddish yellow, dense, soft, malleable, and ductile metal. In Ireland we have 9ct and 18ct Gold as our standards but other standards available are 10ct,14ct, 22ct and pure gold 24ct. By carat we mean that it is alloyed with another metal and the carat is measured by the percentage of that alloy relative to the percentage of the gold. Gold can come in white , red and yellow colour and its colour is dependant on the other metals used in the alloy.
Silver is a chemical element with symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it exhibits the highest electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity, and reflectivity of any metal.
Platinum is a chemical element with symbol Pt and atomic number 78. It is a dense, malleable, ductile, highly unreactive, precious, grey-white transition metal.
Rhodium is a chemical element with symbol Rh and atomic number 45. It is a rare, silvery-white, hard, and chemically inert transition metal. It is a member of the platinum group
Palladium is a chemical element with symbol Pd and atomic number 46. It is a rare and lustrous silvery-white metal and is part of the group of elements referred to as the platinum group metals
Our collection of precious stones is extremely vast and according to the Oxford dictionary :….A precious stone is “A highly attractive and valuable piece of mineral, used especially in jewellery; a gemstone”. As gemstones are rare this makes them precious.
From the above list you will encounter some of these regularly and others you may not be familiar with.
A combination such as gold with opal is fine jewellery and likewise diamond and silver is also a piece of fine jewellery.
Traditionally the more expensive precious stones are used with the more expensive metals however it is possible to get diamonds and silver together.
Most Jewellers stock an extensive collection of Fine Jewellery so please do ask your local member from the Association to guide you through the process of selecting a piece of Fine Jewellery. They will be happy to explain the different gemstones in the pieces.
The main benefit of buying Fine Jewellery is that it is something that you will have for life and can be a family heirloom. While although silver will tarnish a simple polish will return it to its original glory. Emerald and pearls because of their chemical composition are not hard wearing gems and as such should be treated with care.
Obviously as with all jewellery it is important to treasure your jewellery and wear it with care to ensure you keep it in pristine condition….”would you wear your Laboutins or Manoles doing the gardening”… likewise your jewellery should not be mistreated.
What is Costume or Fashion Jewellery:
Costume jewellery, fashion jewellery, is jewelry manufactured as ornamentation to complement a particular fashionable costume or garment and is usually purchased with a short life expectancy. People do not expect costume jewellery to last more than a season or two.
Costume Jewellery does not contain both precious metals and gemstones, however silver pieces without precious gemstones can be categorised as costume jewellery in some instances. Most costume pieces contain man made stones and plated metals or non precious metals.
Costume Jewellery has a valid position in its own right and is very handy if you would like to follow a particular trend or perhaps you are going on holidays and don’t want to take your good jewellery away with you. Because Costume jewellery is very often plated and mass produced we have costume jewellery across all price scales. Costume jewellery that is well finished and has good materials used in it can be an expensive item , however it is also possible to purchase costume jewellery that is really only suitable for a few wears, that market is covered mainly by high street shops. For most of our members they like to give an expansive selection of product to their customers and as such they will also stock a well finished Costume Jewellery with a good plating and good quality non precious stones, that if looked after well will see you through a number of seasons.