Inexpensive vs Expensive Jewelry

Beautiful and exquisite jewelry is integral to us as a human culture. Simply put – exquisite jewelry makes us look better and feel better. This attraction makes us hunters of fine jewelry, and with it can come a temptation to opt for inexpensive jewelry over expensive jewelry.
Why does one piece cost more than another? To understand the real differences between inexpensive and expensive jewelry, and what you’re getting with a certain price tag, we need to understand things further.

The Rule of Inexpensive vs Expensive Jewelry

With jewelry, you get what you pay for – there are clear reasons why one piece costs more than another. Bargains generally mask a sacrifice somewhere along the line; you just may not understand exactly what that sacrifice is. Let us explain.
Why one piece is more expensive than another predominantly comes down to three main reasons:
  • Quantity and quality of the metal used
  • Quantity and the quality of the diamonds or gems used
  • Craftsmanship
Inexpensive jewelry versus expensive jewelry involves looking at these contributors to the price tag. As a customer, you are likely to understand the basic differences in types of precious metals used for jewelry such as platinum versus white gold. You’re also likely to understand that certain jewels are inherently worth more because of their size, or even nature, such as diamonds over topaz. You aren’t a stranger to being able to spot skill and beauty in a setting, and understand how this craftsmanship will affect a price.
However, beyond this, the difference between expensive and inexpensive jewelry becomes a little more complicated. The market is full of synthetic stones as well as artificially treated stones which look like but are much cheaper than natural gemstones. It’s here that the buyer needs to be careful not to be fooled into believing they are getting a bargain. Remember, there’s no such thing as a “something for nothing’ when it comes to fine jewelry.
Beyond these three primary reasons, there are also other factors which come in to play. Hand-made jewelry is always going to cost more than mass-produced. This is because there is additional value provided in the workmanship. This also applies to designer labels – you’re also paying, in effect, for the art. You will find these pieces are more unique, and are usually only offered for sale through specialist jewelers rather than large chain stores.

Expensive Jewelry – What Are You Paying For?

To explain further, let’s examine exactly what you are paying for. We know that first up, come the precious metals such as gold, platinum, silver and palladium. However, how this metal is crafted is important. This is your base line. This is why we choose to offer jewelry from several high end designers, such as our 14k White Gold Ritani Knife-Edge Solitaire Engagement Ring from Ritani.
Ritani 1RZ7286 Solitaire Engagement Ring
Ritani 1RZ7286 Solitaire Engagement Ring
We also know that these metals are then embellished with rare and precious gemstones and diamonds. However, not all diamonds are created equally – either in their original form, or in their crafter’s hands. We’re not just comparing a stark difference such as a diamond with topaz, but even diamonds with diamonds.
Diamonds are the perfect example of this. Fortunately, we now have a language to explain the differences in quality of diamonds – the 4C’s. The 4C’s pertain to the color, clarity, cut and carat weight of the diamond. This is a universal system, so you know exactly what you’re getting, and you get what you pay for. To learn more about the 4C’s head to our education section.
However, here it gets a little more complicated still. The 4C’s are the benchmark, but then in the hands of the expert jeweler transformations still continue, particularly in terms of the ‘C’ standing for cut. At Whiteflash we have this with our A CUT ABOVE® diamonds. We have designed these elements to literally ‘outshine’ the others.
When you see these displayed in a piece of jewelry such as our Mini ‘Dreams of Africa®’ Diamond Pendant, you can clearly see what you’re paying for. These pieces of jewelry become investments as well as items of exquisite beauty, and are ‘worthwhile’ as expensive pieces.
Mini Dreams of Africa ® Diamond Pendant
Mini Dreams of Africa ® Diamond Pendant

Inexpensive Jewelry – The Concerns

On the other hand, inexpensive jewelry brings with it a number of concerns. Unlike with expensive jewelry from reputable jewelers, you simply can’t be certain of what you are paying for. There is no concrete baseline in terms or either metal, gem, or craftsmanship. These pieces of jewelry aren’t designed to stand the test of time, and you aren’t making an investment.
In many ways, these pieces, often described as ‘costume jewelry’ should be bought simply on the premise of beauty being in the eye of the beholder. If you think it’s beautiful, and worth the tag, knowing the piece won’t last forever, then it’s still valuable for you. These items of jewelry can be worthwhile for dressing up certain outfits, short-lived fashion statements, or even regular day wear for a limited period of time.

When Expensive Works

Of course, we all understand we need different jewelry for different occasions. There will be times when understated elegance will be valued, while at a high profile event more exuberant jewelry displays are appropriate. Yet, value in these differences still matters.
You could buy costume jewelry, which will serve a turn, last for a fashion, and do its job. Or you could invest in high quality, timeless pieces that will keep on giving not only throughout your own lifetime, but becoming heirlooms to pass on. An ‘expensive’ piece which is well-crafted, understated, but of exquisite quality, will work well in the office, or for daily life. These pieces also work well for engagement rings – timeless unique pieces that will last a lifetime and become an heirloom. A statement piece, with larger gems, will be more suited for formal evening wear or important occasions.
Jewelry, in terms of value alone, needs to be viewed in terms of ‘forever’. Expensive jewelry needs to be understood clearly for what it brings to you, and for the investment it is for the long term. Price tags display value in terms of quality of metal and jewel, as well as craftsmanship.

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