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How to Determine Value When Shopping for Jewelry

by Maegan Crandall

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A beautiful woman shopping for fine jewelry

Stunning jewelry often graces the pages of fashion magazines. Beautiful gemstone necklaces, bracelets, rings and earrings may catch your eye, but are they a good value? Jewelry that is set with crystals, faux pearl pendants and colorful glass is wonderful, affordable fashion jewelry, but these pieces are sometimes overpriced. The best jewelry for your wardrobe is the nicest jewelry in your price range that matches your style. The idea is not that you get what you pay for, but that you should pay for what you get. Use these tips to select the very best quality gemstone jewelry for your money.

Buying Valuable Jewelry:

  1. Fashion jewelry: Affordable jewelry has many aliases. It is sometimes called "fashion jewelry" and it may also be referred to as "costume jewelry." The fashion jewelry and costume jewelry categories are the same. This jewelry is meant to be budget-friendly yet stylish. When shopping for fashion jewelry, choose a price that reflects the fact that you won't own the piece decades from now. Sterling silver and gold-plated pieces are both popular in fashion jewelry. Both sterling silver and gold-plated jewelry are good choices for costume jewelry. Cubic zirconias are a great substitution for gemstones, and they come in every color.

  2. Designer jewelry: Designer jewelry is incredibly fashion-forward, and it comes from big-name designers. Shopping for designer jewelry allows you to own cool pieces from your favorite design house. Be careful when shopping for designer jewelry not to pay only for the brand name. Pay attention to product descriptions. If the jewelry has faux gemstones, then the price should fall more in the fashion jewelry category.

  3. Fine jewelry: Fine jewelry is more expensive than fashion jewelry, costume jewelry and designer jewelry. Fine jewelry is meant to last a lifetime, helping you get the most out of your investment. When looking to buy fine gemstone jewelry, be sure that the gems are authentic. A variety of gemstones are available. Look for gold and platinum settings when paying more.

  4. Semiprecious gemstones: Real gemstones are not out of the question when shopping for any type of jewelry. Affordable gemstones like amethysts, garnets, topaz and peridots hold their value, even though they are cheaper than sapphires, emeralds, diamonds and rubies. The more affordable gemstones are called semiprecious gemstones. They are authentic, but they are simply not as rare as precious gemstones. Semiprecious gemstones are found in both fashion jewelry and fine jewelry. Many semiprecious gemstones are birthstones.

  5. Created gemstones and treated gemstones: Some gemstones are treated to enhance their clarity, color saturation or overall quality. Gemstones can also be created in a lab. Both created gemstones and treated gemstones are lovely decorations for a piece of jewelry, but they should never be as expensive as authentic natural gems. Pay attention to treatment codes and product descriptions to understand what you are buying.

  6. Artistic value: Artistic value is subjective, but it is important. A piece of jewelry that is unattractive to you has less value than a piece that is your absolute favorite. If you don't wear the jewelry, you don't need the jewelry. Whether you wear a necklace every day or just a few times a year, style is a very important part of the selection.

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