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Jewelry - An Online Guide

Among the many items people shop for, jewelry is one of the most popular. People online search for specific or general areas such as: fashion jewelry, jewelry making, and online jewelry. Since jewelry is a popular purchase, designers, companies and manufacturers offer a wide range of prices, materials and unique styles to suit just about any taste. How do you begin your own jewelry search? This online guide to jewelry can help.

Perhaps you've been wondering whether it's best to buy your jewelry online, in the local mall or from a specialty boutique. Knowing a few tips can assist you in narrowing down the daunting and vast selection available to you. Also, knowing some of the most requested and purchased types of jewelry, can guide you. For instance, many online searchers look for these categories of jewelry:

  • fashion jewelry
  • costume jewelry
  • designer jewelry
  • men's jewelry
  • antique jewelry
  • bead jewelry
  • jewelry making
  • diamond rings
  • bead wirer

Jewelry - Selection, Price, etc.

Other than beauty, brand name, quality and material, a key feature to consider is price. Usually, the cost of costume or fashion jewelry is lower than fine jewelry. What constitutes fine jewelry? Typically, jewelry made with precious materials such as gold, platinum and/or silver is considered fine jewelry. If precious gemstones such as diamonds, rubies and sapphires are added, the value and price of your piece of jewelry can rise to the stratosphere.

Of course, lower price alone does not govern your choice. Jewelry is often selected emotionally - unlike everyday items such as milk. If fine jewelry is more than your budget can sustain, costume and fashion jewelry are desireable alterantives. What exactly signifies fashion or costume jewelry?

Costume Jewelry and/or Fashion Jewelry

When the exact time the term "costume jewelry" was coined is uncertain. You might guess the mid-twentieth century because it saw an explosion of manufacturing of costume and fashion jewelry. Even so, this economical type of ornamentation has been around for centuries.

"Fashion jewelry" is often interchangeable with the term costume jewelry. Whatever the name, it grew out of a need to offer inexpensive or even disposable jewelry to the general population. Costume jewelry made it possible for all, not just the rich, to purchase beautiful jewelry creations. Well-to-do buyers purchase these jewelry adornments as well, since they provide a wider selection of styles.


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Today, costume jewelry encompasses a broader range of creations than during its humble beginnings. This type of jewelry is not necessarily bought for a costume party or event but instead for everyday use with multiple outfits. Still, as the term suggests, it has particular characteristics that define it.

Unlike fine jewelry, costume is not typically intended as a keepsake, collectable, heirloom or investment. Though more affordable than its fine cousin, fashion jewelry has attained status over the years. Even if your jewelry is categorized as costume, when it bears a designer name, its value can escalate beyond that of a piece of a non-designer fine jewelry.

For instance, at the peak of costume jewelry's popularity, in the mid-20th century, it was vogue, chic and stylish to wear designer costume jewelry from such notables as Dior, Monet, Napier, Coventry and Chanel. Jewelry from these luminaries might now be considered collectable and vintage, even if it is made from base metals, glass, leather, synthetic stones or even plastic!

Many jewelry companies and designers have moved their production facilities to manufacturing regions in India and China in exchange for lower overhead and less expense. Finding jewelry made in America may be a challenge because countries that manufacture for pennies on the dollar have become common. Designer jewelry has sustained its allure despite cheaper manufacturing methods. The advent of worldwide marketing and sophisticated manufacturing techniques may have actually enhanced quality by increasing production and competition.

Even with lower production costs, designer jewelry must retain its value. Shoddy manufacturing would certainly reduce the price and impact reputations. Common sense dictates that designers who protect their brand, enjoy greater prestige, wealth and longevity.

Many variables, beyond price, can influence your selection of jewelry. For example, here are some preliminary questions that can help you choose.

  • Do you favor antique or vintage jewelry?
  • Do you like designer jewelry?
  • What jewelry designers, companies and brands do you prefer?
  • What types of jewelry do you enjoy wearing (e.g., pendants, rings, charms, necklaces, bracelets or earrings)?
  • What materials can you afford (e.g., gold, platinum, silver, brass or copper)?
  • Do you want precious gemstones or simulations (diamonds vs. cubic zirconia)?
  • Do you want to pass your jewelry on to relatives?
  • Are you currently buying jewelry wholesale, from retail stores, online or locally?
  • Do you usually wear costume instead of fine jewelry?

Jewelry Manufacturing

Jewelry manufacturers and companies stay in business largely based on the merit of their products and services. Jewelry makers or designers such as Tiffany, Chanel, Gucci and Prada stake years of reputation on making and selling lines. Their valued customers trust that their brand of jewelry offers quality and prestige.

You may be most familiar with jewelry from your local retail store or distribution giants who offer a variety of prices and styles. The price range can run from high-end like Neiman Marcus, to the mid-range like Macy's or the lower tier such as Target and Kohl's. Similar offerings can also be found on the Internet.

Today, century-old companies compete for your business with internet startups. That said, buyers have more selection and advantage than ever before. Nevertheless, it is always a smart and cost-effective practice to do comparison shopping. This way your jewelry buying experience will remain enjoyable and satisfying.

Jewelry Selection - Reviews and Ratings

The Internet has transformed the nature of shopping for jewelry such as fashion, antique or diamond jewelry. It has also changed shopping in general. Even the most respected companies cannot vie for customers' attention if they do not have, at least, a user-friendly website. 

Getting attention and favorable online reviews and ratings is essential to a jewelry designer or manufacturer's success. As a consumer, how do you find sellers with reliable, pro-customer ratings and reviews to assist you in buying the best jewelry? 

When researching jewelry, there are numerous places to look including companies or manufacturer websites, online distributors (e.g., eBay, Amazon, Etsy), advertisements, independent blogs, ratings sites, how-to and DIY making jewelry sites. How do you separate hype from solid information? A tip is that most noteworthy websites, publications or other sources have been in business for a number of years, have a reputation, secure buying methods, return or refund policies and back up their claims with verifiable sources.

Shopping with common sense, gut instinct and through word-of-mouth are still tried-and-true methods as well.

As mentioned, jewelry companies that offer guarantees and return policies are typically more trustworthy. Buyers who review and recomend jewelry companies and websites they've successfully purchased from, help others trust these sellers. Companies that have extensive satisfied customers' feedback on their sites provide greater shopping confidence. A standard rule is - the best jewelry comes from companies that back up their products and adhere to the adage "the customer is always right."

Men's Jewelry

Jewelry, though most typically bought by women, has many positive attributes for men as well. In recent years, men's interest in all that glitters has increased. The most common men's jewelry types range from watches and rings (wedding bands) to earrings.

Antique Jewelry

Antique jewelry is desired by many. Regardless of the value of the materials used in its creation, vintage pieces can command top dollar. Our fascination or nostalgia for times past, may help explain the appeal of antique jewelry. Or, perhaps the craftsmanship of non mass-produced jewelry and artisan uniqueness is the charm of antique type jewelry. Whatever the qualities, jewelry from the past is ever popular.

Handmade Jewelry

If you like handmade jewelry, you will find an array of makers to suit you desires. Some people even choose to tackle the task of making their own, instead of buying ready-made jewelry.

If you choose to do-it-yourself, a book, a class, a jewelry kit or online tutorial will help you navigate unfamiliar waters.

Experts or designers have honed their craft over years of practice with sophisticated tools or manufacturing processes. You are fortunate if you can find a jewelry designer or artist who is willing to pass down their craft to you.

What style, material and type of jewelry you opt for, will also affect how easy or difficult the making becomes. More common jewelry making methods such as those found in kits, or requiring simple assembly, are typically easier to complete. If you want more customized and complex pieces, you could be increasing the cost of construction and the time it takes to complete.

Whatever the kind of jewelry you choose to construct, whether pendants, rings, earrings, necklaces or bangle bracelets, you'll want to estimate in advance the tools, directions and costs your jewelry project will require. Make a list of materials and tools you will need or want in advance. Types of items on your list could be: silver wire, beads, gems, and other findings. Next, make a rough estimate of the total cost. This will prevent surprises and help you successfully finish your jewelry creation more quickly, easily and enjoyably.

Making jewelry yourself may seem like a fun and possibly a money-saving idea. However, not necessarily, if it's your first time or you are teaching yourself. Determining what your objective is in making jewelry will help you decide if it's something you want to try. Do-it-yourself websites may oversimplify the construction process. If you are stuck spending a lot on materials and left with unfinished or unwearable jewelry, you could end up disappointed and unsatisfied.

Jewelry - Pros and Cons

Weighing the pros and cons of any situation usually makes the experience better. In the case of buying jewelry, your decision (though not about to shift the earth off its axis) could affect your happiness and satisfaction.

Simply said, jewelry has the power to uplift, brighten your mood, and beautify your wardrobe.

Jewelry Online

To find the best jewelry choices, take a moment to browse my site or inquire about desired pieces, and contact me at jmason@judymason.net -- I will assist you with selection, pricing and purchasing. Manufacturer inquiries are also welcome.