Jewelry Shopping: 5 Categories to Know


Jewelry Shopping: 5 Categories to Know

Fashion jewelry... designer and costume jewelry... fine or high jewelry?

You've probably seen these terms before without knowing exactly what they mean. So, what are these different types of jewelry and how exactly do you decide which is best for you? I'm here to help! Let's dive in...

Fashion Jewelry 

Often referred to as costume jewelry, fashion jewelry is frequently made of fake gems or lower quality (cheaper) real gems, plastic beads and base metals like copper and brass.

Though the names are used interchangeably, costume jewelry actually dates back to the 1930s while fashion jewelry is a more recent term first used in the 1980s. They both can look fashionable and cool but are not of particularly good quality. And so, don't form a real investment piece if that's what you're after.

Another note-worthy difference is that fashion jewelry can be more trendy while costume jewelry can have more of an antique feel to it... but if you're looking for something to make a bold statement at a low cost, either fashion or costume jewelry will do the trick.

miu miu gemstone jewellery set
Jewelry by Miu Miu Jewels

Designer Jewelry 

Some designers actually make low-quality fashion jewelry with a higher price tag simply because of the association with their brand name.

However, most of these designer brands produce high-quality pieces with genuine gemstones and precious metals.

Learn the differences between real and fake gemstones so you can confidently shop for your next jewelry piece. 


Demi-Fine Jewelry 

The difference in quality between fashion jewelry and fine jewelry is so great that many enthusiasts believe in a middle tier called semi-fine or 'demi-fine' jewelry.

The most common designer jewelry brands will often fall into this semi-fine group and they possess aspects of both fashion and fine jewelry.

Younger women (20s and early 30s) often opt for semi-fine jewelry to accessorize rather than making an investment in a higher quality piece.

While before it was more about the "it-handbag" or "statement-shoe", the trend has now shifted to semi-luxury jewelry as noted in this great article by Business of Fashion.

Semi-fine jewelry allows you to get used to a higher price-point and quality, while developing your taste and preference for when you're ready for fine jewelry.


This is why I also love to make fine jewelry more accessible by showing that there are other colored stones out there: which, yes, are fine-quality and higher in price-point but also last for generations and come in stunning fashion-forward colors, such as mint green, glamorous grey, hot pink, lavender blue or juicy yellow...



Fine Jewelry

When you move up into the world of fine jewelry, you'll discover pieces made of solid gold, precious metals and rare, natural gemstones.

Common colour stones, such as amethyst, may still be found in fine jewelry but will normally be higher in carat count and quality and should also be natural when set in fine jewelry pieces.

The higher price point of these collections is well worth it due to the value that will be retained over generations with proper care and storage. 

Fine Jewellery from our Atelier Collection


Fine jewelry is a beautiful way to elevate your jewelry collection for special occasions or as an investment. Most of us stop here. At the fine jewelry level. Many forget you can still go one step higher...

High Jewelry

The ultimate category of high jewelry (or "haute joaillerie" for the fashion lovers out there ) is reserved for the tailor-made or one-of-a-kind pieces which mostly come from world famous jewelry houses.

Just as what "haute couture" is to "prêt-à-porter or ready-to-wear", high jewelry is to fine jewelry.

For instance, the fashion brands of Prada, Gucci or Chloé, which are not cheap brands, are still regarded as ready-to-wear and can be seen as the fashion equivalent of fine jewelry. 

chopard high jewellery

There are only a few jewelry brands in the world who even have the skills and historical craftsmanship to make high jewelry. A few names are Christian Dior Haute Joaillerie, Louis Vuitton Haute Joaillerie, Chaumet, Bulgari, Chopard or Harry Winston. 

Most of these brands also have a fine jewelry line (which is what you see mostly in their stores).

Their high jewelry collections are often hidden away because of the rarity of the stones and intricate designs... mostly, these pieces make an appearance on the red carpet only for which they may be specifically designed.

The stores where you can find these high jewelry pieces on public display are usually to be found in the capitals around the world... like famous works of art. 

And like art, the skill-level and sometimes ground-breaking aesthetics are the determining factors that decide if a piece will be considered high jewelry.

To sum it up, a fine jewelry piece is a sound and mostly steep investment for any jewelry collector. 

Fine Jewellery Earrings by Eva Gems & Jewels

When shopping fine jewelry, you will find only high quality metals and gemstones and you will take home a piece that will hold value over many generations.

If you're looking for the rarest and most exclusive jewelry pieces in the business, however, you can give Monsieur Chaumet or Dior a call...

If you'd love to explore fine jewelry pieces and high quality gemstones for your next custom piece, do reach out to me below so we can find a lovely piece for you.

Thanks to my time living in Bangkok, I was able to build relationships with some of the world's best gem dealers which gave me rare access to gemstones which are usually only reserved for the high jewellery houses.

We've done the hard work so you don't have to!