What is High Jewelry?

High jewelry is crucial in a global jewelry market valued at 228 million US dollars in 2020. What is it, and how does it compare to other types of jewelry?

Features of High Jewelry

A few defining features separate high jewelry from other types of jewelry.

Rarity

One of the greatest appeals of high jewelry is the rarity of each piece. Wealthy people do not expect to see several people wearing a piece they paid obscene amounts for. Some jewelers create scarcity by making small amounts of a particular work and never revisiting it.

For instance, Joel Arthur Rosenthal (JAR) only makes around 100 pieces annually and only admits a few selected clients. His shop also has no window, and he doesn’t sell to clients whose taste or artistic appreciation he considers below par.

Beauty

Most collectors and manufacturers of high jewelry items consider them works of art. Much work is put into ensuring that every piece is made with beautiful intricate details. 

Admittedly, beauty is quite a subjective term. Like all art forms, a piece might be intriguing to a buyer and repulsive to the next.

Quality and Durability

Jewelers always make high jewelry pieces with the finest, high-quality materials. Some buyers of high jewelry are collectors who intend to keep their jewelry for long periods.

Some established names in the high jewelry industry occasionally mix low-cost materials in their pieces, yet people consider them high jewelry. For instance, Daniel Brush’s Bunny Bangle is a mixture of pink diamond and Bakelite and was valued between $40,000 and $60,000 in 2009.

Price

High jewelry is the most expensive type of jewelry, and rightly so. Jewelers do not make high jewelry for the general public; they have a specific customer base in mind– the wealthy. High prices create a barrier of entry that allows high jewelry to be affordable to those that the manufacturers have in mind.

What are the Other Types of Jewelry?

Below is a look at some other types of jewelry.

Fine Jewelry

Fine jewelry is made from precious metals like gold, silver, or platinum. Some fine jewelry also contains expensive gemstones like diamonds, rubies, or sapphires. This type of jewelry is durable and is perfect as a family heirloom.

As expected, fine jewelry is expensive; most pieces cost over $1,000. Italian jewelers produce some of the most in-demand fine jewelry in the world.

Semi-fine Jewelry

Semi-fine jewelry is the bridge between expensive jewelry and low-budget ones. They are affordable, high-quality, and stylish pieces.

Jewelers usually make semi-fine jewelry from semi-precious stones or metals of lower purity. Some semi-fine jewelry is made of sterling silver or gold-filled metals. Semi-fine jewelry does not have the quality of fine jewelry; however, jewelers take more care in producing them than costume jewelry.

Costume or Fashion Jewelry

Costume or fashion jewelry is the most affordable set of jewelry. These pieces are inexpensive because they are made with cheap metals and synthetic gemstones. Costume jewelry is usually mass-produced and won’t last as long as other types of jewelry.

Manufacturers can produce costume jewelry from various materials, from stainless steel to plastic. Some costume jewelry contains allergenic metals like nickel and brass that can cause reactions in some people.

Difference Between High and Fine Jewelry

Some people wrongly think that fine and high jewelry mean the same thing. Both types of jewelry are made from high-quality materials and cost a lot of money. However, the distinguishing factor between both categories is exclusivity.

Anyone who makes jewelry with the right materials and meets a certain standard can say they produce fine jewelry. However, high jewelry producers are a class above them; they earn their respect and place in the jewelry industry. They are considered artists whose masterpieces are worth millions in some cases.

Another difference between high and fine jewelry is how buyers perceive them. Most wealthy jewelry enthusiasts consider high jewelry to be works of art. Therefore, it isn’t uncommon to see high jewelry auctions take place.

Is High Jewelry Worth it?

Yes, buying high jewelry is worth it. You’ll only consider buying high jewelry if you’re wealthy; in that case, a high jewelry collection is a status symbol, something to be proud of. 

Also, buying high jewelry is an investment that will appreciate over time. As jewelry prices continue to soar and the demand for high jewelry increases, the value of your piece could dramatically increase when you want to sell it.