Fine jewellery in all its glamorous forms needs no introduction to connoisseurs. However, the definition of certain types of jewellery eludes most of us. The most interesting definition that is even more intriguing is how to define ‘fine jewellery’ and at what precise point does it become fashion jewellery.
Jewellers are often divided about the clear-cut definition. The Facebook page of Young Jewellers Group’s (YJG) is a case in point. Over 92 posts were exchanged between members who agreed to disagree! Industry tradespeople, these jewellers tried to rein in an issue that has long troubled jewellers and buyers all over the world.
Price can be an indicator of quality when it comes to deciding between fine jewellery and contemporary or costume jewellery. Even during the Coronavirus pandemic, fine jewellers witnessed exceptional growth in sales in the segments priced under US$50,000. Conventional wisdom failed to justify this unique trend. Retail stores also experienced inexplicably high sales during 2020 and beyond.
However, the necessary concomitant of cost is a unique design, genuine gemstones, and precious metals. According to established players, fine jewellery must be something crafted to endure over a long time, even for generations. Fine jewellery is made to last. The quality of manufacturing determines the shelf life of a piece and its reputation.
Many jewellers are even divided on this argument. They consider handcrafting a sign of exceptionalism that can bestow the sought-after crown of ‘fine jewellery’ on a creation. A masterpiece developed by a designer is certainly regarded as fine, but the same design when mass-produced loses the tag.
Not all handcrafted, affordable jewellery is called fashion jewellery either. The touch of individuality creates an aura around it. You can call it fine. Anything handmade takes more time to ideate, design, and craft. The time taken to procure the elements, the materials used, the quality of the product, and the process followed can add up to a cumulative cost. Most handmade items are built to last and the concept resonates well with connoisseurs of fine jewellery.
The initial arguments highlighted above imply that something mass produced may not be categorised as fine jewellery. However, some tradespeople differ on this point as value for money may not be regarded as a hindrance in the path of acquiring fine jewellery. Mass-produced yet finely designed jewels too can earn the tag of fine jewellery. The good value for money proposition does not make a piece of jewellery anything less than fine in the eyes of the beholder.
Can you draw a distinct line between ‘fashion jewellery’ and ‘fine jewellery’? The verdict is still out. You, the buyer, will make your decision depending totally on your preference. The most critical point to ponder is that you must differentiate between misrepresented, fragile fashion jewellery and original pieces of fine jewellery and not pay a premium in the process.
Instead of devising a universal definition for the term ‘fine jewellery’, let us choose each piece consciously and responsibly to make an informed decision.
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Discover some of The Jewel Box’s stunning fine jewellery pieces: Odette Parure Necklace, Odette Parure Earrings, Karina Tanzanite, Diamond and Ruby Ring, Theodora Diamond and Rubelite Necklace with Pendant, and the Crimson Flower Ruby and Pearl Handcrafted Bangle