When you’re shopping around for new accessories, all of the different types of fashion jewelry available can be a little overwhelming.
Which is best?
What will last longest?
And, what sort of quality can you expect?
To help you find the right jewelry for you, we’ll take a look at the types of jewelry materials available and their qualities.
From the metal that forms the base of the piece to those finishing touches, e.g. gemstones, we reveal our jewelry names list with pictures so you’ll know exactly what you can expect from your next purchase.
Types of Fashion Jewelry: Metals
1. Sterling Silver Jewelry
This is one of the most popular types of jewelry materials as it boasts a beautiful white finish that complements any outfit.
Can’t you just buy full silver jewelry?
Even though you can, it’s incredibly rare.
This is due to how malleable silver is which means it’s often too soft to create jewelry. Therefore, sterling silver combines other metals, e.g. copper, with 92.5% silver – hence the .925 stamp sterling silver comes with.
One of the best things about sterling silver is how durable it is, so it’s great for fashion rings, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and more.
While you do need to take care of it as it can soon tarnish if it isn’t looked after properly, the oils from your skin tend to keep it clean if you wear it on a regular basis.
2. Silver-Filled Jewelry
Sometimes referred to as “silver overlay,” silver-filled metals are one of the popular types of jewelry making materials.
This allows artisans to use a cheaper metal before covering them in a layer of silver.
And because this layer is far thicker than normal plating, it gives jewelry makers more scope for design. They’re able to engrave, polish, and work the metal without exposing the cheaper metal beneath.
You’ll often find silver-filled jewelry making up chains and ear wire.
3. Coated Non-Precious Base Metals
Often, base metals will be used to create a number of different types of jewelry styles. These base metals include titanium, brass, copper, nickel, and iron.
While these metals are widely available, however, they can corrode or oxidize quite easily, which is why they’re often coated in silver or gold. This coating not only provides a more long-lasting finish to the jewelry but also gives it that more expensive look.
Other types of coating include rhodium, which is part of the prestigious platinum family. Again, this gives it that “finer” look but without the expensive price tag.
4. Gold Jewelry
If you look through any jewelry items name list, it’s highly likely you’ll find gold among there.
However, gold jewelry isn’t just using gold. Rather, it contains a mix of gold and various other metals, including zinc, nickel, copper, and silver.
The actual gold content you’ve got depends on the karats (or carats) it contains. The measure of karats shows you how much pure gold is in the jewelry compared to other metals. So the higher the value, the more gold that’s in the metal – and the more $ you’ll be paying.
“24 karats” (24K) is the maximum gold content you’ll find, but you won’t find this in much jewelry due to how malleable and soft the metal is.
Therefore, jewelry makers tend to favor 14K (14 karats) gold because it’s easier to work with and is much stronger. That said, for a slightly more indulgent touch, you might want to opt for 18K gold as this is made up of three-quarters of pure gold.
If you did buy pure gold (which as we’ve already seen, you can’t), it would be bright yellow in color. However, the non-gold metals that are used alongside the gold have an influence on the jewelry’s final color. For example:
- Yellow Gold: This is pure gold mixed with silver and zinc or copper.
- White Gold: This is pure gold mixed with white metals like palladium, silver, or nickel. As it’s often more gray in color, it’s given a whiter look after it’s plated with rhodium. A lot of people are allergic to nickel so this is often avoided.
- Green Gold: This is just the same as yellow gold but copper isn’t included in the alloy.
- Rose Gold: This contains a high proportion of copper alongside pure gold.
Whatever the variation of gold, it’s one of the most popular choices for fashion earrings, necklaces, and bracelets.
Types of Fashion Jewelry: Stones and Details
1. Cubic Zirconia
Incredibly common in many jewelry types, cubic zirconia emulates the sparkle and elegance of diamonds. However, they’re far more affordable than diamonds.
Cubic zirconia is a synthetic crystalline material that’s crafted in a laboratory. Production of these stones first started to take off in the 1970s due to increased demand for diamonds and diamond lookalikes.
Even though cubic zirconia doesn’t have the same makeup as diamond, it does boast those same qualities that many jewelry wearers are searching for.
The only problem tends to arise if someone purchases what they think is a diamond, but it actually turns out to be a cubic zirconia. However, the fact this can even happen is a clear sign that cubic zirconia is as good as the real thing!
2. Lab-Made Gemstones
While there are stones that mimic diamonds, there are also ones made to imitate opals, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, and more. However, they’re not “imitations” per se, as these lab-made gemstones are still authentic in their own right.
While they are grown under laboratory conditions, they are still optically, physically, and chemically identical to the natural gems they’re made to look like. This provides you with a high-quality stone but at a fraction of the cost of the real thing.
Rhinestones are another iconic feature in many pieces of jewelry, and are often referred to as “diamantes.”
They used to be made from rock crystal found in the river Rhine but are instead made from polymers (e.g. acrylic) or crystal glass.
Crystal glass versions are often more expensive.
They’re a low-cost stone that’s easily used to decorate jewelry pieces, from bracelets and bangles to necklaces and earrings.
4. Natural Materials
Especially in fashion necklaces and other types of costume jewelry, natural materials can add that stand out finish people are looking for.
For example, on-trend shells and coral can be utilized alongside wood, natural stones, and jet (a black stone that looks like coal). This helps jewelers create those statement pieces of jewelry that really bring an outfit to life.
Equally, while fine pearls are often too expensive for cheaper jewelry styles, freshwater pearls are often a key component in costume jewelry.
Finding Jewelry to Suit Your Unique Style
Our guide on the different types of jewelry names has given you an idea as to what you can buy – and at an affordable price.
One of the most beautiful things about fashion jewelry is that there are so many varied styles and designs. You’re never limited by what you can buy and wear.
With so many fantastic varieties of stones, metals, and details available, there’s something for everyone’s budget!
What types of fashion jewelry do you prefer and why? Do you have a favorite metal or stone?
Leave your comments below!