While jewelry used to be reserved primarily for the nobility, royalty and similarly wealthy people to symbolize power and wealth, in modern times it is accessible to a large portion of people. Sure, there are still no limits to prices, so that there are pieces of jewelry with which you can wear a family home on your finger or around your neck, however, beautiful jewelry does not always have to be expensive. The meaning of jewelry has undergone a very positive change in my opinion. First and foremost, the wearer should look more beautiful with jewellery than without - logical!
Different (precious) metals
But what makes the difference in price but also in quality? How can you tell if the price is justified or not? Let's take a look at the differences in rings.
First of all, of course, there is the material of the ring. Apart from materials such as glass, porcelain, stone or similar rather unusual material, rings were already in earlier times mostly made of silver, gold or copper.
In recent times, palladium and platinum have been added to the highest price ranges, which are now very much in demand, especially for wedding rings.
Very inexpensive rings, which one gets thrown behind as "fashion accessories" for small money are mostly made of brass, zinc and simple steel. The individual models are also often available in different alloys. This is understood to mean that several metals have been joined together by a melting process.
The respective proportions are indicated by a code number. For example, a ring made of silver 925 (known as sterling silver) is 925 parts pure silver and 25 parts another metal, usually copper.
The differences in quality are obvious after a short time, or rather stuck on the finger. While rings with a high gold and silver content still shine confidently after many years with only a little care and hardly change their condition, jewellery made of inferior material discolours and deforms after only a short time. Rings with only a thin outer layer of gold applied will quickly flake off, revealing the inferior material, which is not pretty to look at.
Also, it cannot be despised that high quality material like sterling silver is considered hypo-allergenic while many people are allergic to metals like nickel and develop unpleasant skin reactions.
It is therefore advisable to take a close look at what kind of material the respective piece of jewellery is made of before buying it.
Different (precious) stones
Now the rings are usually not only made of one of the above materials, but often have an eye-catcher and special highlight. The probably still most respected form of adornment a ring experiences through a diamond. The larger the diamond, the better and more expensive it is. If it has a certain color and an elaborate cut, you will quickly have to dig deep into your pocket to be able to call it your own.
But even the cheapest models in the department stores of this world have "stones" on the rings. Of course, this is not nearly a hand-cut diamond, but acrylic or plastic cast in the form.
The best known imitations of diamonds are known as "rhinestones", which are made of leaded glass flux. In former times, crystals from the Rhine were used for this purpose, which still give the rhinestone the English name "rhinestone". The difference between a real diamond and a rhinestone is easily noticed by the attentive observer in a direct comparison. Especially the sparkle of a diamond when it refracts and reflects the light cannot be imitated.
It is somewhat different with the probably highest quality imitations of gemstones. These are mass-produced in the laboratory. In the process, the chemical properties of the respective stone are imitated. Especially well known are the "American Diamond" and the Zirconia (not to be confused with the natural blue Zircon).
It is very difficult to recognize these synthetic stones. Often, however, it is the flawlessness of a stone that exposes it as a fake. So-called "inclusions", which are considered to be a mark in the case of most natural gemstones, do not occur in the case of a gemstone that has been recreated in the laboratory.
However, even though the differences are hardly noticeable, in the end it is a very romantic aspect that ensures that natural gemstones have many times more value than their imitations: A natural gemstone has sprung from nature, it is unique in its color and shape, and there is no other like it! Despite its uniform cut, it always shows unique patterns in color and luster. The synthetic stone, on the other hand, resembles every other specimen and does not show any special features.
Production: factory vs. handmade
The last aspect that particularly affects quality and price is the production of the jewelry.
That the cheap fashion accessories are mass-produced in local factories in China, I certainly do not need to go into further detail.
But even the higher quality jewellery of well-known brands is not handmade. The personnel and fixed costs are too high for it to be economically viable. Alone the production of a single ring costs in Europe between 150,00 and 300,00 €. Material is not yet considered in this price. Although it is possible to have a casting mould made and to use this for each additional piece, this procedure has a decisive catch: gemstones may only deviate minimally in shape, cut and size. So when using natural gemstones, you quickly reach your limits here. This is a decisive reason why gemstones grown in a laboratory are often used.
Truly handcrafted unique pieces, on the other hand, are very expensive or were produced under poor conditions overseas. Often the quality suffers here. It often happens that the setting of cheap jewellery does not hold after a short time, so that the gemstone falls out.
For us at Spirit of Island it took a lot of time, money and effort to find a blacksmith who meets the high standards of the western world. All the happier we are now that we have found our trusted gold and silversmith! :-)
We are happy to pay the higher price, knowing that in the end the result will be right and that we will be proud to send our jewellery to the customer.
I personally love jewellery since I was a little girl. For a long time I also bought cheap fashion jewellery, only to find out that it was scratched, discoloured or deformed after a few days. But probably the most negative characteristic of cheap jewelry for me is the foul smell it takes on after only a few days. I'm sure you're inwardly agreeing out loud now, as you know exactly what I mean and know this problem all too well. This aspect has changed my attitude towards jewellery. Today I prefer to buy less jewellery, but to buy it with care. I enjoy the process of choosing. Once the decision has been made, I eagerly await the delivery and can hardly wait to hold my chosen piece of jewellery in my hands. Since then I wear my jewellery more consciously. I often associate emotional moments with it and have stories about it.
But also my environment reacts much more positively to the higher quality jewellery - one is spoken to much more often about it.
All these aspects and my personal experience with jewellery have led me to fill the gap that I think exists in the commercial jewellery trade: Handmade jewellery made of sterling silver and eco gold, where exclusively natural gemstones are used. And although we pay our partners fairly and act sustainably, our jewellery is still affordable. Why is that? We keep our fixed costs low. There is no rent for shops and we don't have expensive marketing machinery like the big brands.
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Thank you for your time and attention!
Stay Sparkle ;-)