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How to Tell Different Types of Jewelry and Where to Buy Them

In case you're still confused.
How to Tell Different Types of Jewelry and Where to Buy Them
IMAGE Tiffany and Co., Dior, Penny Pairs, Manila Diamond Studio
In case you're still confused.

The first month of the year is always a good time to introduce new bling into your wardrobe. Consider it a motivational present to get yourself inspired for the months to come. There’s just something captivating about looking down on your hands mid-workday and spotting your glimmering new ring or looking in the mirror to see your features illuminated by a nice pair of earrings. It’s the kind of amusement that’s for you and yourself only. 

Okay, now that your justification to shop for new jewelry is all set (all jokes), we’re here to do a little run down on the kinds that you can shop. When you log onto your favorite jewelry store, you’ll often notice separate collections for “fine,” “demi-fine,” “fashion,” and sometimes even “costume.” Let’s do a deep dive on what those terms actually mean. Maybe next time you can even tell them apart without needing guidance from labels!

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A guide to the 4 types of jewelry and where to shop for them:

1. Fine Jewelry

Fine jewelry is what is colloquially called “real.” This is because it’s made with precious, natural materials mined from the earth, giving it a sense of “purity” and hence, “realness.” For the setting, it’s usually made with silver, gold, or platinum; if there are stones, it’s made with gemstones such as diamonds, emeralds, and rubies. 

Perhaps the most prized aspect of fine jewelry is their longevity—they are extremely resistant to water and repeated wear, and are therefore perfect heirloom pieces that you can pass on from generation to generation. They’re also considered investment pieces because they can retain or even increase in value. You can start with a dainty diamond piece like a pair of huggies, then graduate towards more statement-making ones like a tennis bracelet, or Tiffany and Co.’s signature hardware necklace. 

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Diamond Huggies, P22,800, SUKI JEWELRY, sukijewelry.ph

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Tennis Bracelet, P75,000, MANILA DIAMOND STUDIO, maniladiamondstudio.com 

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Graduated Link Necklace, Price upon request, TIFFANY AND CO., tiffany.com

2. Demi-Fine Jewelry

Demi-fine jewelry walks the line between fine and fashion. Whereas the fine jewelry exclusively uses precious metals and gemstones, demi-fine jewelry has less strict rules. The setting can be made with sterling silver or solid gold, and less expensive alternatives such as gold-plated or gold-filled metals. As for their stones, they often come with semi-precious kinds such as pearls, tourmaline, and peridot. 

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Although they’re not as durable as fine jewelry, demi-fine jewelry can still resist a fair amount of water and wear. They’ve become extremely popular over the years because they’re cheaper than fine jewelry, yet look virtually the same. Get yourself a classic medallion which goes well with anything (not an exaggeration), an ear cuff with pearls proudly from local seas, or the ever-so-popular “huggies.”

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PHOTO BY Nami Jewelry
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Sterling Silver Medallion, P6690, NAMI JEWELRY, nami.ph

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PHOTO BY Pranca Jewelry

Pearl Ear Cuff, P1800, PRANCA JEWELRYpranca-jewelry.com

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Gold Huggies, P2500, PENNY PAIRSpennypairs.com

3. Costume Jewelry

Costume jewelry can be traced back to the 1930s, where women commissioned replicas of their family heirlooms since the originals were too risky to wear in public. This explains the distinct look of costume jewelry, which is often very intricate and ornate. The setting is usually made with copper, brass, or metal alloys which may or may not be plated with gold, and the stones are made with non-precious gemstones.

There’s a certain allure that comes with buying and wearing costume jewelry, because they’re a little more difficult to find (most of the time you have to find special stores that sell vintage jewelry). It’s an experience that’s well worth it because you’re often left with a one-of-a-kind piece that’s distinctly yours. Scour the web for classic Chanel clip-ons (we scratch our heads wondering why they don’t make these anymore), a stylish pendant that can instantly elevate your daily tee, or a brooch that lovingly reminds you of your ever-stylish grandma.

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Floral Brooch, P500, VINTAGE JEWELRY TREASURES, Vintage Jewelry Treasures PH

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Teardrop Pendant Necklace, P4200, DIOR, Redux Vintage Jewelry

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Faux Pearl Clip-Ons, P22,850, CHANEL, The Real Real

4. Fashion Jewelry 

Fashion Jewelry is said to be an evolution of costume jewelry, with the main difference being the time that it was popularized. It started emerging in the 1980s, and can now be found in infinitely varying forms—anything from classic gold-colored jewelry to colorful beaded pieces. 

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Apart from the wide range of styles, what’s most appealing is the price range. You can find virtually any type of fashion jewelry piece at rock bottom prices. Get yourself a set of dainty jewels to wear alone or stacked up, or join in on the bead-obsessed bandwagon with a colorful, floral piece. 

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Earring and Ear Cuff Sets, P799, H&M, hm.com

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Flower Necklace, P755, MAZEE, mazee.co

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7-Pack Rings, P895, ALDO, Zalora

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