Costume jewelry is a great way to spruce up your jewelry box and try new styles. It offers you the opportunity to try every new jewelry trend without cutting a big hole in your pocket. However, even though more fairly priced than fine jewelry, costume jewelry can be quite tricky to buy. Many people make the mistake of considering only the design and this leads them to buy low-quality pieces. Costume jewelry can be high-quality and gorgeous – you just have to know what to look for. And in this article, you are going to find out everything you need to know before buying it.

What is costume jewelry?

Fashion jewelry or costume jewelry represent, basically, the same thing – fairly priced jewelry pieces. The price of this jewelry is lower than that of fine jewelry because it uses less expensive materials. In general, costume jewelry is gold or silver plated and features semi precious gemstones, as well as synthetic stones. Its look doesn’t differ too much from fine jewelry and it can be quite refreshing to own a large jewelry collection of these pieces.

Many women buy costume jewelry because of its extravagant and sophisticated designs which, sometimes, you can’t get with fine jewelry. Another advantage of this jewelry is that it offers you the possibility to try new trends and own as many pieces as you want. For example, if you want to attract attention at a party and wear a pair of gemstone oversized hoops, you may not want to run to the first jewelry shop and buy a pair of diamond hoop earrings. You could get tired of them or you could discover that gemstone hoops aren’t exactly your style. With costume jewelry, you get to try these hoops, look gorgeous and not have to sell your house to wear them in the process.

What to avoid when buying costume jewelry

This being said, there is an art to buying costume jewelry. Because it is not very difficult to make it, you will see it a lot and not only in jewelry shops. You will see costume jewelry in clothing stores, on the street, and in many other places. So you need to be prepared to assess carefully and see if it is worth buying it. In order to help you, we have created a list of the most common mistakes when buying costume jewelry.

No. 1 – not buying it from a jewelry shop

You are in your favorite clothing store, you’ve just bought a dress and saw the perfect necklace to go with it in the same shop. However, you wouldn’t buy a dress from the supermarket, would you? The piece that you see may look great but they will never be as high-quality as costume jewelry you find in an actual jewelry shop. And even though it doesn’t cost a fortune, why spend your money on a low-quality piece when you could get a high-quality one at the same price?

No. 2 – not checking the gemstones carefully

When you buy costume jewelry, take a close look at the gemstones. Less reputable shops use chipped stones or stones with many inclusions for costume jewelry. Of course, the stone will have some inclusions, but the clearer, the better. Also, carefully inspect the jewelry pieces that feature clear crystals or cubic zirconia. Sometimes, there is no actual stone, but rather droplets of metal made to look like small gemstones.

No. 3 – not inspecting the setting

While many costume jewelry pieces have high-quality settings that hold the stones in place, there are also pieces that use low-quality metals for the setting. If the prongs appear to be too thin or flexible, you should probably not buy the piece. If the prongs bend or break, you will most certainly lose the gemstone.

No. 4 – not asking questions about the piece

The golden rule is to ask questions before purchasing a jewelry piece. If you want to buy high-quality costume jewelry, it should be silver or gold plated and it should feature real gemstones, not plastic. Of course, it can also be without stones or it can use enamel and it is still a gorgeous high-quality jewelry piece. But you have to know all this information, don’t just assume that all costume jewelry pieces feature gemstone or enamel. Sometimes, it is only plastic and you will be disappointed to discover this fact when you get home. Ask the jeweler about the stones, the metals, the settings, everything you want to know.

Also, if you have a nickel allergy, ask about the metals in the alloy. Sometimes you can find a lot of nickel in costume jewelry and while it is harmless for many people, for those with nickel allergy it can be a nightmare.

If you want to read more about jewelry and discover useful advice, browse through our other articles on this blog. To view Ana Luisa’s designer jewelry collections, visit our online jewelry boutique.

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Ruxandra is a fashion blogger who teaches fashion stumped twenty to thirty somethings how to shop their jewelry boxes for polished new ensembles. Her work has been featured in Vogue, Fashionista, Nylon, and Refinery29.