The Difference Between Fine, Semi-Fine & Fashion Jewelry

the difference between fine, semi fine, and fashion jewelry

Shop the look: Birth Flower Signet Ring, Perfect Peach Ring, Moonlight Ring

Okay, so you've heard about fine, semi fine, and fashion jewelry. But what's the real difference between the three, and which one is best?

Trick question. These three types of jewelry are all great for different reasons. Which you should buy depends on different factors like budget, how often you'll wear it, if you're looking for more of a trendy vs timeless piece, etc. Read on to learn all about these different types of jewelry and figure out which kind you should buy.

what is fine jewelry
Shop the look: Family Gold Rings

Fine Jewelry

We're busting the myth that fine jewelry is should be reserved for special occasions: engagements, graduations, birthdays, etc. In reality it's also a great option for people who like to wear their jewelry 24/7 and don't want to worry about taking their jewels off when they sleep, shower or workout. Fine jewelry is always made with solid gold and typically features genuine stones. Rings in the fine jewelry category can be re-sized and repaired easily by any skilled jeweler. Fine jewelry requires less care than semi fine and fashion jewelry, but it also has a significantly higher price tag since gold is one of the most expensive metals on earth.  Since solid gold doesn’t turn or tarnish, it’s the longest lasting option.

The Benefits of Fine Jewelry

  • Long lasting
  • Requires less care
  • Can be worn everyday without tarnishing
what is semi fine jewelry
Shop the look: London Blue Topaz and Opal Picasso's Sunflower Ring, London Blue Topaz and Diamond Orchard RingLondon Blue Topaz and Diamond Posy RingLondon Blue Topaz and Diamond Dynasty RingLondon Blue Topaz & Diamond Calypso Ring

Semi-Fine Jewelry

Semi-fine jewelry is the category that bridges the gap between fine jewelry and fashion jewelry. Semi-fine jewelry is typically made with gold vermeil (an extra thick layer of gold plating) or gold fill jewelry. This category of jewels is often made with genuine stones such as aquamarine, opals, morganite, etc. but one thing that sets semi-fine jewelry apart from fashion jewelry is that the base metal used is typically sterling silver, so even under the gold plated or vermeil layer is a high quality metal that will stand the test of time. This is great for anyone who has allergies to other metals like brass or nickel. You will also see a lot of semi-fine jewelry that is made with lab created or enhanced stones as these have similar visual properties to genuine stones but with a lower price tag.

It's important that semi-fine or gold plated jewelry not be worn in the shower, pool, to sleep or when working out. You should also take care when applying lotions because water and oils can cause gold plating to wear down over time. Jewelry that falls into the semi-fine category should be reserved for pieces that are fashion forward but not expected to last a lifetime. This category of jewelry is one of our favorites as it allows us to offer a wide range of on trend jewelry at affordable prices.

The Benefits of Semi Fine Jewelry

  • Less likely to irritate sensitive skin
  • Fades less quickly than fashion jewelry with proper care
  • Is often made with natural gemstones
what is fashion jewelry
Shop the look: Feelings Ring, Celestial Ring

Fashion Jewelry

Fashion jewelry, also referred to as gold plated jewelry or costume jewelry, is usually made by adding a layer of gold on top of a base metal.  The most common base metal in gold plated jewelry is brass, but other base metals include copper, bronze, and zinc.  Other kinds of materials, like beads, leather, and acrylic, also fall into the fashion jewelry category. Fashion jewelry most commonly uses simulated or synthetic stones (like cubic zirconia or simulated opals) as opposed to natural gemstones, lowering the cost.  Since fashion jewelry doesn’t use precious metal as a base (like silver) and has less gold content, it’s a much more affordable option.

The same care should be taken when wearing fashion jewelry as semi fine jewelry, and since the gold plating on fashion jewelry is thinner, you should take even more care to remove your jewels before coming into contact with water, oil, or sweat.

The Benefits of Fashion Jewelry:

  • More affordable and accessible
  • Ideal for trendy pieces that you won’t wear forever
  • Especially good jewelry that comes in less contact with your natural body oils like statement earrings

Now that you know the difference between fine, semi fine, and fashion jewelry, shop our bestsellers to see a mix of all three!

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