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Different Types of Jewelry Defined

When we hear the word “jewelry,” chances are, we all think of something different. It’s a broad category that encompasses many kinds of jewelry, from casual accessories to fine jewelry, to family heirlooms. To help you understand the different categories, we’ve put together a helpful list you can reference when choosing which jewelry to wear or buy.

What is Estate Jewelry

A piece of jewelry is considered estate jewelry when it has had a previous owner. The owner can be living or deceased, and contrary to popular belief, the jewelry does not have to be a specific age. Commonly, you’ll find estate jewelry that’s at least several decades, if not a century old (or more), but newer jewelry can be considered estate jewelry too. However, if a piece of estate jewelry is over 100 years old, it’s considered antique jewelry. 

What is Costume Jewelry

Also known as fashion jewelry, costume jewelry includes inexpensive decorative jewelry items often designed to align to a specific trend or imitate a more expensive piece of jewelry. Costume jewelry typically features simulated gemstones, like rhinestones, set in base metals like silver, nickel or brass (no precious metals). It’s also common to see costume jewelry made of acrylic beads, leather, and other materials. Ultimately, costume jewelry is a low-cost option that can be worn every day, but it isn’t necessarily made to last. 

fashion jewelry

What is Demi-fine Jewelry

In between costume jewelry and fine jewelry lies the demi-fine jewelry category. Demi-fine jewelry is more attainable than luxury jewelry while boasting a much higher quality than standard fashion jewelry. It achieves this balance through a careful blend of metals, combining a solid core of sterling silver with a layer of real gold or silver, and sometimes featuring precious gemstones. 

What is Fine Jewelry

The term “fine jewelry,” also known as luxury jewelry, is used to refer to jewelry made from precious metals like gold or platinum. Unlike the imitation gemstones used in fashion jewelry, fine jewelry uses diamonds, pearls or other genuine gemstones. Its durable craftsmanship means it can last for a lifetime and is suitable for everyday wear. 

fine jewelry

What is High Jewelry

As its name indicates, high jewelry is in a class all by itself. While the category can sometimes be hard to define, jewelry is considered “high jewelry” if it features only the finest of rare gems and precious metals, has a distinctive design, is handmade or finely crafted, and comes from a famous designer or brand in the jewelry world. It’s often the type of jewelry you’ll see celebrities wearing on the red carpet. 

What is Permanent Jewelry

A rising trend, permanent jewelry is growing in popularity (and it’s far less daunting than it sounds). Permanent jewelry items are claspless necklaces, bracelets, rings, or anklets that are custom fit and welded together while the owner is wearing them. The practice uses high-quality precious metals, like solid gold, and dainty chains that can be layered. If the wearer no longer wants their jewelry or needs to remove it for a medical procedure, it can be taken off with scissors. 

If you need help choosing the right type of jewelry for your needs, budget, or upcoming occasion, one of our jewelry experts would be happy to assist you. Call 1.800.642.4438 during store hours to speak with one of our friendly and knowledgeable sales associates.