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When a Look Is Worth the Investment: When to Buy Fine Jewelry

When a Look Is Worth the Investment: When to Buy Fine Jewelry

Jewelry and fashion. Fashion and jewelry. Can you really separate the two? When combined with skill, each element makes the other better for the effort.

Fine jewelry can do just about anything. It can make a statement out of jeans and a T-shirt. It can give you confidence when you’re lacking it. And it simply feels special — there’s nothing like the glow gemstones and precious metals give you.

Because earrings are an essential element of the jewelry wardrobe for many women, at least one pair of fine earrings is required. Yep. We said required.

Fashion jewelry is often built around a fad that takes a certain look up a notch — it may become a trend; sometimes it becomes a full-blown classic. Jewelry fads often start with what’s coming down the fashion runway each season — the average woman looks for how she can pull that look together at a price she can afford, then searches for manufacturers who have created less expensive versions.

Decisions, decisions

Women have become more and more comfortable buying jewelry for themselves, but let’s face it, fashion jewelry is an easy kind of buy. It’s usually inexpensive. It often happens on impulse. And you usually recognize that it’s not a “forever” piece.

Start by considering how often you’ll wear the piece. Will it become your signature piece, whether it’s a necklace, cuff or earrings? This will give you reason to spend more. You’ll want better metal that won’t wear down when you wear it on a daily or even just regular basis. That absolutely means you need to look to fine jewelry: a gold-plated bracelet will not wear nearly as well as one that’s 18K, 14K or 10K gold.

Is the piece on the cutting edge of a fad? Will you get tired of it? The more unusual, outlandish or downright crazy the piece, the more likely it will become dated. If so, then go with a fashion piece that will keep costs down and not make you feel awful if you drop if off at Goodwill in two years or hand it over to your two-year-old to play dress-up in two weeks.

Who’s buying what?

Although it seems unfair, if you’re buying for yourself, it’s pretty likely it’s fashion jewelry. Women don’t always believe it’s okay to buy pieces of fine jewelry for themselves, especially ones with gemstones — though there’s really no need to wait. If he’s buying it for you, it’s more likely it’s fine jewelry. Guys are afraid to give a piece of fashion jewelry because they’re just not certain it will be perceived as heartfelt a gift as fine jewelry.

But let’s say you’re all over the idea of buying fine jewelry for yourself. Go for a pair of earrings. Women often buy earrings for themselves as well as give them to others. Because earrings are an essential element of the jewelry wardrobe for many women, at least one pair of fine earrings is required. Yep. We said required. Ways to go? Consider classic diamond studs, a chandelier style that uses your birthstone, a decorative design that shows off an interest in a hobby, or perhaps huggies or buttons that spotlight a favorite or often-worn color.

So … if you know you’re always going to love a style of diamond drop earrings, then get a substantial pair in white gold or platinum from a jewelry store as a good investment. But if you’re only going to wear them once or twice for evenings when you need a little bling, then crystal set in sterling silver will give you that look.

Many women are very comfortable buying pieces that are purely metal. Chains are common, whether to hang on their own or in groups or as the base for a pendant. Gold is the most common fine jewelry purchase. Platinum is another option. If you’d prefer a more economical white or silver metal, sterling silver is incredibly affordable and can be found in designs of all sorts.

Women sometimes have an issue buying diamonds or gemstones for themselves. Diamonds might seem tricky because of the obvious connection to bridal jewelry and anniversary gifts. But there’s no need to feel limited — diamonds are a fashionable girl’s best friend.  

Contemporary fine jewelry is easy to find in the gorgeous Big Three: blue sapphires, rubies and emeralds. Pearls in a wide variety of colors can also make a wonderful gift to yourself. Tourmaline comes in a wide range of colors (the widest of any gem) and can be deeply saturated or practically pastel. An unusual type is the watermelon tourmaline, which has a pink (fruit) center with a green “rind.”

When you’re really not sure

If you need help, talk to an expert in a jewelry store whose knowledge of fine jewelry translates perfectly to fashion jewelry. He or she can tell you about the pros and cons of hollow gold chains, explain soldering techniques that may make that less expensive piece last longer, and help you decide between a quality bauble and a cheap one.

Fashion, by its very nature, goes through cycles. The fine jewelry you buy today may not be trendy in a few years, but if you love it, it will always make you feel confident when you wear it. There’s also something really satisfying about saying, when it will surely be cutting-edge again, that you’ve had that beautiful piece for years.

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