Costume Jewellery, What are you really paying for?

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Costume Jewellery has many terms that confuse new and even some of the more experienced buyers. Rhodium, Silver, Gold Plating, 18ct Gold Plating, Cubic Zirconia.... The list goes on and on. This guide will outline some of the key terms and shortcomings of the Costume Jewellery market and hopefully make you aware of what to watch out for when buying Costume Jewellery.

Costume Jewellery

The term Costume Jewellery refers to jewellery made from less valuable materials rather than precious metals and gems, Costume Jewellery is mainly used for fashion purposes. Most Costume Jewellery is plated with Gold, Silver or Rhodium, which will eventually wear off. While Costume Jewellery does not last forever, you can achieve the look of real Jewellery for a mere fraction of the price.

Costume Jewellery Stores

We have all seen the carts in shopping centers selling silver rings for the bargain price of $3. What is the difference between these rings and the $45 pieces of Jewellery sold by Costume Jewellery specialists? Specialists use specification plating to ensure quality, which means a certain amount of gold, rhodium or silver is used on each piece, rather than the $3 ring which gets dipped quickly. As the real cost of jewellery comes from the plating it is easy to see why the cart at the shopping center can sell for $3, they have no guarantee their piece is even fully covered.

Rhodium Plating

Rhodium is a silvery-white metal that is a relative newcomer to the Costume Jewellery scene. It is very hard and shiny, however is more expensive than using Gold plating as is generally discarded in Costume Jewellery due to high sots. It is generally darker than silver, and does not tarnish, making longer lasting better quality pieces.

Gold Plating

Gold plating is sometimes used with a carat weight to try to impress buyers and confuse them. 18ct Gold plated jewellery is very common, meaning the gold plating contains 75% actual gold. Very cheap jewellery uses less than this or very thin layers of Gold plating which wear off quickly. AS stated above, the main costs of Jewellery is the plating so the very cheap pieces generally will only have low carats and thin layers of plating.

Silver Plating

Silver plating is the same as gold plating, except the silver used in plating is usually low quality, and prone to tarnishing. Beware the seller advertising silver and producing stainless steel , as they are quite similar in colour. Stainless steel is now number stamped by law and should you recieve stainless steel instead of silver, report the seller to eBay immediatly.

Cubic Zirconia

Cubic Zirconia is a mineral that is widely synthesised as a diamond look a like. It generally is very hard and cheap, an is very popular in Costume Jewellery and sometimes use to offset real jems in 'real' Jewellery .

Cleaning Jewellery

There are many jewellery cleaning mixes and powders and detergents available at them moment. The best way to care for Jewellery is to obey the following simple rules;

  • Store each piece seperatly, particularly pearls as they tend to scratch easy

  • Apply body creams, fragrances, hair spray etc before applying jewellery

  • Remove your jewellery before swimming, exercising or sleeping

  • Clean your jewellery by soaking in a bowl of warm water with a capful of Wool Mix. Use a soft toothbrush to gently clean. Do not soak pearls, just wipe them with a damp cloth. Dry all jewellery properly after cleaning.

I thank you for reading my guide and hope that it is some help to you


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