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Fashion Jewelry vs. Fine Jewelry–What’s the Difference?

March 03, 2022 5 min read 1 Comment

fine jewelry displayed on rock

As you shop for jewelry, you’re sure to encounter the descriptions “fashion jewelry” and “fine jewelry.” Fine is made of “real” or precious materials and fashion is not, but beautiful jewelry comes in both forms! We appreciate all well-crafted jewelry, whether it's made from quartz or platinum. But we also think it’s important to know the quality of the materials jewelry is made from before you buy it. Some jewelry sellers are all too eager to label jewelry as “fine” when it might not live up to the label. Shop for fine jewelry with knowledge–understanding the difference between fashion and fine jewelry can help you make a smart purchase you can wear with confidence. 

What is fashion jewelry?

Fashion jewelry is made from base metals (like copper and brass), leather, or plastic and may include simulated stones made from plastic, glass, or crystal. This category also includes jewelry made from a base metal that’s plated with gold or silver. It’s not described as “real” jewelry because it’s not made from precious or semi-precious materials. Fashion jewelry is often created as an imitation of fine jewelry. It’s less costly but still attractive. However, the lower cost comes with much lower quality. Because of the metals it's made of, fashion jewelry will damage easily and can discolor your skin or turn it green. It’s not made to last a lifetime, but if you break or lose fashion jewelry, you can easily replace it. 

Related article: Hypoallergenic Metals: Which Earrings & Metals Are Best for Sensitive Skin? 

What is costume jewelry?

Costume jewelry is a type of fashion jewelry popularized in the early twentieth century. It’s usually made of plastic, glass, or resin. Fashion jewelry and costume jewelry can be used synonymously, but costume jewelry has a reputation for being very artistic, stylish, and whimsical. It may even have a high price tag because of its artistic quality and the designer. Many prominent couturiers, like Coco Chanel, designed and popularized costume jewelry in the first several decades of the 1900s. It has since been worn by the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, Jackie Kennedy, and Madonna. Vintage costume jewelry in good quality is hard to come by but highly sought after and is now a popular collector’s item. 

Pros & Cons of Fashion Jewelry 


  • Very affordable  
  • Easy to replace
  • Good for casual wear


  • Breaks or scratches easily
  • Does not last a lifetime if worn
  • Can discolor skin
  • Outer metal layer wears off over time

    What is fine jewelry?

    Fine jewelry is made of precious gems like diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and sapphires, and precious metals like gold, platinum, or silver. The materials themselves, not in jewelry form, are valuable. Fine jewelry is strong and can be repaired easily by a jeweler, which makes it the perfect heirloom. Jewelry made of such fine materials is often, but not always, expensive. The price depends on the type of metal and cut, color, clarity, and carat of the gemstone. For example, sterling silver or 14k gold would be lower in cost than 18k gold or platinum because the first two materials are alloys containing a higher percentage of other metals.  

    Pros & Cons of Fine Jewelry 


    • High-quality
    • Durable
    • Great heirloom 


    • Often expensive

    What is semi-fine jewelry?

    Semi-fine jewelry is a name created to classify jewelry that is high-quality and designed with natural gemstones but is not made entirely of precious metals and gems. This jewelry may be described as fashion jewelry by some and fine jewelry by others, but semi-fine jewelry is of a much higher quality than most fashion jewelry, so it deserves its own distinction. Semi-fine jewelry has enduring qualities, and is often more affordable than fine jewelry. It may be made with semi-precious gemstones and plated in quality metals like 18k gold over sterling silver (vermeil jewelry) or rhodium over silver. We love to use rhodium and vermeil plating when designing fine jewelry. These high-quality metals protect the silver and give it a beautiful shine. Some jewelry sellers may classify sterling silver jewelry as semi-fine since it is less valuable than gold or platinum. 

    Related articles: What Is Rhodium Jewelry?Regular Silver vs. 925 Sterling Silver 

    Pros & Cons of Semi-Fine Jewelry 


    • Affordable
    • High-quality
    • Great for casual or formal wear
    • Wide variety of gemstone options


    • Some gems are softer and may scratch easily

    Fashion jewelry vs. fine jewelry 

    Fashion jewelry is made of synthetic materials or base metals, while fine jewelry is made from natural, precious stones and metals. Fashion jewelry costs much less than fine jewelry, but it does not have the same enduring qualities. 

    Fashion jewelry and fine jewelry are both beautiful. When you’re jewelry shopping, choosing which type is right for you depends on your budget, lifestyle, occasion, purpose, or style. Fine jewelry is a great investment that you and your children and grandchildren can enjoy. Q loves designing with natural stones and gold and silver elements, so all jewelry from Q Evon is either fine or semi-fine. Semi-fine jewelry are the best quality pieces at the most affordable price. 

    Fine vs. semi-fine jewelry 

    Some of the pieces in our collections come in similar styles but in different materials for different budgets. The high mount rings below both have a semi-precious stone, but one is made of 14k gold and the other of rhodium-plated silver. The difference in metals is reflected in the costs. 

    East-West Marquise Blue Topaz Ring in White Rhodium ($528)

    14k Gold Amethyst Ring with White Diamond Accents ($2,830)


    The emerald necklaces below are both made of precious stones, but the first is in 18k vermeil and the second is in 14k gold. 

    Emerald & Handmade Bead Necklace in 18k Vermeil ($1,100)

    Multi-Strand Emerald Necklace in 14k Gold ($7,760)

    More semi-fine jewelry from Q

    Silver Dangle Earrings with Aqua Chalcedony ($310)


    Silver and White Rhodium Trillion Gemstone Earrings ($195)

    Available in amethyst, blue topaz, garnet, iolite, and peridot.

    Element Pendant ($248)

    Available in blue topaz, green amethyst, or mandarin.

    More fine jewelry from Q

    Diamond Dot Gold Earring ($195 black diamond/$233 white diamond)

    14k Gold Ruby Necklace with White Diamonds ($2,830)


    Emerald and Pearl Drop Earrings ($440)

    Rose-Cut Blue Sapphire Slice Drop Earrings with Champagne Diamond ($790)


    3 Stick Emerald & Blue Sapphire Necklace ($1,800)


    No matter what type of jewelry you choose–fashion or fine–you’ll want to take good care of it to make sure you can enjoy wearing it for a long time.The most important thing is not what type of jewelry you wear but that you feel beautiful wearing it!

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    1 Response

    Freddy Joe
    Freddy Joe

    July 20, 2022

    Very nice, please share more such stuff.

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