Designer Jewellery seems like the pinnacle of success. Whenever we imagine a perfect life, we think of ‘designer’ shoes, bags, and, of course, jewellery! However, the market has become so oversaturated with so-called ‘designer jewellery.’ This makes it nearly impossible to keep track of what is and is not ‘designer jewellery.’
There are several myths about designer jewellery in the world today. Many of the myths surrounding this craft stem from ancient traditions and old wives’ tales. These outdated beliefs still prevail in society today. To debunk these incorrect assumptions, keep reading ‘the top 13 myths about designer jewellery.’
What Is Designer Jewellery?
Before we can separate fact from fiction, we need to figure out what designer jewellery actually is.
The term designer jewellery was originally used to mean jewellery that was separate from the commercial jewellery found in stores. A jewellery designer usually makes designer jewellery with a certain aesthetic in mind. For example, a designer jewellery store focusing on Egyptian royal jewellery will commission a designer to hand-design jewellery pieces that fit that design brief. The finished product will then be used as a pattern to reproduce as many pieces as the store needs.
Even with that broad definition, there are still many different subcategories of designer jewellery that can have a drastic effect on the value, look, and rarity of the piece.
Types of Designer Jewellery
High jewellery is used to mean ‘high end’ jewellery and thus is the most expensive kind of designer jewellery. High jewellery is characterized by its stunning design, rare metals and gemstones, and high-quality craftsmanship. High jewellery is usually one of a kind due to the rarity of the gemstones and the cost of metals used. This makes it even more desirable as your jewellery is bound to be uniquely yours and yours alone.
Handcrafted jewellery is the name given to jewellery that is not mass-produced for commercial purposes. Handcraft jewellery is made entirely without machine assistance and is thus more valuable. The human touch causes slight variations that give the jewellery a personal touch.
Sometimes handcrafted jewellery is used as a design template to mass-produce jewellery. This jewellery is often labeled as ‘designer jewellery.’ While this is technically true, the reproductions are not as valuable or rare as the original handcraft piece.
Custom jewellery is a designer jewellery that has been made to order. The customer themselves places a request for a custom piece from an establishment that offers custom jewellery services or commissions a piece from an independent designer. The client can be as involved in the design process as they want.
They can simply give an idea of the aesthetic and design brief. They can be intimately involved with everything from picking out the materials and gemstones to collaborating on the style with the designer.
13 Myths About Designer Jewellery:
1. Natural Pearls Dissolve Easily
There seems to be a misconception amongst the general public that pearls can dissolve easily in acids like vinegar (which is a relatively weak acid!). This makes many consumers wary of buying pearls as it seems like they would need to be extremely well maintained and would require constant upkeep.
However, there is nothing to worry about because pearls (natural and synthetic) are actually much more durable than you would think. The myth comes from the rumor that the great Egyptian pharaoh queen Cleopatra used to drink pearls dissolved in vinegar!
It is true that if you leave pearls in vinegar for 3 or 4 days, you can erode them slightly, it is a long process, and it is still unlikely that you would be able to dissolve a pearl fully. Pearls can be ground up into a powder with a large stone and mixed into a drink, but it requires considerable force! Really, you have nothing to worry about when it comes to buying pearl jewellery.
2. Bigger Diamonds Are Better
People tend to look at designer jewellery and assume that the bigger gemstones must be more valuable. It is the mentality of women everywhere who joke that if their engagement ring does not weigh them down like an anchor, then the ring is not good enough (with the implication being that neither is the man that bought the ring!). However, this mentality is unquestionably false.
The real measure of a diamond’s worth comes from the four ‘C’s – cut, color and clarity, and carats. The cut of a diamond determines how much it sparkles (the precise cuts cause the diamond to refract light in exactly the right ways to make it glimmer). The clarity refers to how many blemishes the stone has.
The color of a diamond can vary from a radiant, sparkling white to a less desirable yellowish stain. Finally, the carat refers to how much the diamond weighs. So, you could have a giant diamond that is dull, yellow, cloudy, and very cheap. So, the size of the diamond is not all that matters!
3. The Value of Gemstones
You may think that embellishing a plain gold ring with diamonds would certainly increase the value of the designer jewellery, but this is not always the case!
If you have ever had the misfortune of trying to resell a diamond, you will know that diamonds are not worth nearly as much as they cost. Contrary to popular belief, diamonds are very common in nature.
While the process of cutting diamonds and mining them is a significant one, it is not nearly enough to justify the price! Diamonds only have value because the diamond industry marketed them as the ultimate symbol of love. In reality, diamonds could be cheapening the resale value of your designer jewellery.
4. The Value of Design
If the knowledge that your diamond engagement ring is worth less than you thought is too much to bear, fear not! There is a way to salvage some of the value of your precious jewellery.
Half of the value of diamond jewellery comes from the design. So, your designer jewellery is at least fifty percent economically secure. The diamonds have no intrinsic value, but when paired with intricate and unique designs, you can rest assured that someone out there will want to buy your used jewellery. If your designer jewellery has been especially well-loved, you can sell it to an antique rarities store or online on websites like eBay.
5. Natural Gemstones Are Untouched
You may have heard the term ‘natural’ thrown around when discussing gemstones in designer jewellery. To many people, the term ‘natural’ means that the gemstones are ‘unsullied’ by modern chemical processes. A natural gemstone should look exactly as it would in nature, right?
This is not exactly true. Chemical processes heavily enhance almost all ‘natural’ gemstones. The gemstones may have been collected in nature, but they have had just as much human intervention as synthetic gemstones. So, the next time you are picking out designer jewellery, do not be fooled by these needlessly expensive ‘natural’ gemstones.
6. Gold Comes In Many Colours
In today’s designer jewellery market, you can find rose gold, white gold, yellow gold, and everything in between. While this may make it seem like gold comes in many different colors, this is not actually true.
Gold only comes in its original yellow form. However, pure gold is too soft to be used in jewellery making, so it is combined with other metals. The metals the gold is alloyed and polished with is what determines the color of the final product. For example, white gold is often made with nickel and polished with rhodium to add an additional glittery finish and white color plating.
7. Jewellery Will Never Go out of Fashion
There seems to be a notion amongst economists, jewellery designers, and fashion magazines that jewellery will never go out of style. However, the general public does not seem to have this opinion!
The younger generations do not value traditional jewellery as much as the older generations. Young people want jewellery that is ethically sourced, sustainable, and environmentally friendly. They tend to reason that if they are going to be shelling out inordinate amounts of money, then they expect it to align with their morals.
Otherwise, they can simply buy cheap plastic costume jewellery for a fraction of the cost and the exact same moral responsibility. To the youth, human and environmental rights are ultimately more valuable than gold and diamonds. If the designer jewellery industry does not change for the better, they will cease to exist.
8. Diamonds Are Indestructible
Centuries of marketing and pop culture have convinced us that diamonds are indestructible. While it is true that diamonds are some of the strongest materials in the world, they are not indestructible.
Diamonds are scratch-proof, but if they are met with direct force, extreme heat, or pressure – they will crack! You need to protect your designer jewellery from shattering no matter what gemstone you decide to embellish it with.
9. Diamonds Are the Rarest Gemstone
While on the subject of diamonds, there seems to be yet another misconception about these esteemed gemstones. Many people believe that diamonds are the rarest gemstone globally, but many gemstones are rarer and more valuable than diamonds.
Firstly, diamonds are relatively common, to begin with (as we established). Secondly, there are many gemstones that are rarer than the diamond, including (but not limited to) tanzanite, black opal, and larimar. Surprisingly, there are at least ten different gemstones that are rarer than the diamond!
10. You Can Test Gold By Biting It
You will most likely have seen an old Hollywood Western where a suave cowboy checks if a hunk of metal is made of gold by biting it. Maybe you believe that you really can check for gold by biting down on it! Unfortunately, this is just another example of Hollywood movie magic!
The idea that biting into gold will somehow reveal its purity comes from the fact that pure gold is soft and will dent if you attempt to bite into it. In reality, however, gold is alloyed with various other metals to make it durable enough for making designer jewellery. These metals make it so that gold won’t dent under the force of your teeth.
Even gold, as it is found in nature, is often mixed with other metals, so those Hollywood movies were all fiction and no fact!
11. Opals Bring Bad Luck
Opals have earned an unfair reputation as a harbinger of bad luck. This has prevented many people from buying these brilliantly multi-colored gemstones.
There seems to be an assumption that this superstition comes from some sort of ancient tradition, but in reality, this is not true. The rumor began in the 18th century when the French were trying to sabotage the British Opal industry (Britain and France have historically always had a tumultuous relationship). So, do not be afraid to beset your designer jewellery with opals.
12. 24K Gold Is the Best Kind Of Gold
There have been countless songs, movies, and advertisements that boast the superiority of 24 Karat ‘pure’ gold. Maybe you have also held the belief that only 24K gold is pure, and every other kind of gold is decidedly ‘impure.’ Let us look at why this is untrue.
Firstly, alloying gold with other metals does not decrease the value of gold. The gold has not been ‘contaminated’ with any other metal. It has simply been combined. You still get the same value for the weight of gold in your designer jewellery.
Secondly, even if you still wanted to get 24 Karat gold jewellery, you would soon find that 24 Karat gold jewellery is just too soft to be practical for daily use! So, 24 Karat gold is not always best.
13. Gemstones Come in Single Colours
Gemstones have (for some unknown reason) been associated with certain colors for years. You may think of sapphires as blue, emeralds as green, rubies as red. These caricatured versions of precious stones are nothing but a stereotype, and real gemstones can come in various colors!
You can get white sapphires, red emeralds, and yellow rubies. Gemstones come in several different colors.
Myths About Designer Jewellery Debunked:
As we can see, there are many myths prevalent age among jewellery consumers today. Hopefully, now when you go shopping for designer jewellery, you will make smart, well-informed decisions about your precious metals and gemstones!
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