The Emergence Of The Affordable Fine Jewelry Movement
Fine jewelry has long been unattainable to the masses because of its price point. In the last few years, many entrepreneurs have seen this as a golden opportunity.
That was the case for founder Amanda Thomas. Amanda writes on the Aprés website, After getting engaged and really searching the market for chic and affordable fine jewelry for my wedding, I was shocked at how scarce the options were. I really wanted to fill the gap and create amazing engagement rings and wedding bands that were substantial and didnt break the bank.
The brand also offers fine earrings, necklaces, and bracelets made for everyday wear. And because its pieces are made of solid gold, customers never have to take their favorites off.
These entrepreneurs saw the need for more affordable fine jewelry options, and opened up shops to meet that demand.
Sharing a similar origin story, Vrai emerged in 2014 and has developed into a digital-first direct-to-consumer jewelry business focused on lab grown diamonds. We chatted with one of the founders, Vanessa Stofenmacher, back in 2016. Her take was similar to Amandas: No one is really taking a stance and doing anything about this and bringing essential fine jewelry, high quality jewelry, at an attainable price. These entrepreneurs saw the need for more affordable fine jewelry options, and opened up shops to meet that demand.
The target market has reacted with exuberance.
Sustainability Recycled Gold And Longevity
With some affordable fine jewelry makers dropping new styles weekly, and at prices so low that customers can buy multiple pieces, theres an open concern as to whether these businesses are sustainable.
While its difficult to give a blanket answer here, many affordable fine jewelry businesses have committed to sustainability in some form. Many brands choose to work with recycled gold. Stone and Strand, for example, has made a commitment to sustainability by crafting with recycled gold and ensuring that all shipments are carbon neutral. Others opt to sell vintage or estate jewelry alongside their own collections, breathing new life into old pieces that otherwise might sit in storage.
Fine jewelry should last forever, which means that items can be passed down for generations, or melted down to create something new, eliminating the possibility of waste. Fine pieces can also be repaired, while many costume options cant.
While fast fashion itemscheap, mass-produced clothing items that follow trendsare often purchased to scratch an itch or get in on a moment, fine jewelry is usually seen as an investment purchase.
If youre looking to start your own jewelry business, you can make an impact by keeping your business sustainable. Think about:
Suitable For Every Day
The other major pivot that innovative jewelry brands are making is the transition from only special occasions to suitable for every day. Generally speaking, fine jewelry was reserved for black tie events, that once-a-year holiday bash, or your wedding.
Now, shops are encouraging the daily wear of essentials. The reasoning? First, solid gold or platinum jewelry is significantly more durable than plated or vermeil jewelry. Wear your gold and diamond hoops every day and they wont tarnish, fade, or turn your earlobes green. Second, if you have nice jewelry, why leave it in a box collecting dust?
This switch brings dynamic change to the old market, opening doors for entrepreneurs looking to create new trends within fine jewelry. As more jewelers discover how to keep prices low, they open the door to an entirely fresh customer base, one that never thought they could purchase these types of high-end items before. It also means that those who already buy fine jewelry might become repeat customers, as theyll be able to purchase more options for every day.
Feature image by Joseph Saraceno
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The Difference Between Demi
Before we get started, lets establish a couple of definitions. Were defining affordable fine jewelry shops as ones that sell many pieces with a price tag under $500.
Fine jewelry refers to items made with precious metals and precious or semi-precious stones. Most commonly, that means pieces crafted with 10- to 18-karat gold, sterling silver, or platinum. Stones range from sparkly favorites like diamonds, emeralds, and sapphires, to colorful choices like topaz, agate, turquoise, and opal.
Demi-fine jewelry most commonly refers to vermeil, plated, and filled pieces. Demi-fine pieces wont feature expensive gems like diamonds, but often include wallet-friendly options like white sapphires, moissanite, or cubic zirconia.
Most of this jewelry is made with gold in some capacity. Gold jewelry comes in a few different variations:
Gold-plated jewelry is made out of a thin layer of gold atop a base metal. Because of that, the outer coating can wear off over time.
Vermeil jewelry has a sterling silver base with a thick layer of 10- to 18-karat gold on top. These pieces are often good quality with a lower price tag.
Keep in mind that vermeil means different things to different jewelers, and its not standard from country to country either. For example, in Canada, jewelry has to be plated with only one micron of gold to be marketed as vermeil. The United States requires vermeil jewelry to have plating thats 2.5 microns thick.
Trending Now: 14 Karats For Less
Once entrepreneurs found the opportunity to offer precious metals and stones at affordable prices, others caught on, offering more options for consumers looking to treat themselves than there had ever been before.
Perhaps the most well-known champion of the affordable fine jewelry trend is Mejuri, the Canadian brand thats developed a cult following for its simple 14-karat gold and diamond designs.
According to a recent article in Forbes, The magic that Mejuri created is a movement, one where women are self-gifting and one where fine jewelry is for every day, not for occasions.
Whether Mejuri was the catalyst that sparked the movement or the trend grew in parallel among many entrepreneurs that were sick of the old ways, today the affordable fine jewelry trend is in full swing.
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Got A Necklace That Was Perfect Ordered
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Date of experience:May 28, 2022
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Is Selling Gold Right For Me
For many, cash for gold is an alluring idea, but we understand that it can also be a hard decision for some people. We know that, at times, it can be an emotional experience to part with sentimental jewelry, family heirlooms or long-owned gold bullion.
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How The Direct
There is a large difference in pricing between affordable fine jewelry brands and other jewelry companies. The same diamond solitaire necklace might sell for $185 at one shop and $680 at another. This doesnt necessarily signal a difference in quality, but in the type of distribution.
Most affordable fine jewelry brands operate under a direct-to-consumer model, and many are digital-first. That means that without the obligation to pay a fee to a larger retailer to carry their products, shops are free to set their own prices. Better margins for the shop means they can pass those savings onto customers.
Stone and Strand, an affordable fine jewelry shop started in 2013, built its entire mission on this model. It allows customers to indulge in expensive taste without the mark-up. Creating jewelry at the same factories as its Fifth Avenue New York competitors, the brand deliberately chooses to keep prices low so that its pieces are accessible to all.
Particularly noteworthy is Stone and Strands use of 10-karat gold in the majority of its fine pieces. Ten-karat gold contains 41.7% gold, and while its less pure than 14-karat and 18-karat gold, its the most durable of the bunch. Using this as the base metal in its fine jewelry means pieces will cost less and better withstand the bumps and scratches that come with everyday lifea win-win for Stone and Strand customers.