There’s no getting around it - good quality jewellery, be it horsehair jewellery or otherwise, is fecking expensive. And when you think about it, it absolutely should be. Good quality jewellery is about being handmade by an artisan, with precious metals and precious gemstones, and attention to detail to make it a custom piece for you and you only. That's what makes it worth something. That's what makes it a luxury. And that's what makes it special.
"Precious metal" jewellery that you buy for 50 quid, and throw away as soon as it breaks, isn't precious or special at all. In fact, it's absolutely worthless.
So precious metal jewellery should absolutely come with a significant price tag. But there are ways to keep those price tags from being too eye-watering - and luckily for you guys, you have a very honest pro jeweller on hand to offer a few tips on doing just that…
1) Always go for handmade by an artisan jeweller over mass produced. It will be far better quality, and you know you're getting what you're paying for. (Have you read my journal post about looking for the hallmark, and the hallmarking information here on the website?). It will be custom handmade just for you. And it will be a far better investment in the long run. And as an added bonus, it's better for the planet too.
2) Buy the very best you can afford. And if you can’t afford very much? Save up until you can. Don't get me wrong, I know saving money in our current economic climate is bloody difficult, if not impossible. But could you squirrel away that fiver instead of buying a posh coffee every week? Or have you got anything you could sell to help towards the jewellery fund? Now I'm not suggesting you sell a kidney here, but maybe selling some of your unworn or unwanted items could help fund it? (Before you get too carried away, I'm fairly sure there are laws against selling husbands/boyfriends/mothers-in-law on the black market in this country, even if it is for a good cause, so you might want to rethink that particular option).
Seriously though, we've got a bit too used to having everything cheap and everything NOW, but fast jewellery is every bit as unethical and harmful as fast fashion. It carries with it unnecessary evils, which cost the planet dearly, and ultimately is a terribly false economy. Having something made for you will be worth the wait, and will mean soooo much more to you when you do receive it.
3) Can’t afford gold? Don’t be tempted to go for gold plated instead. It comes under a plethora of fancy names these days, such as vermeil, gold filled, gold coloured etc, etc, but all are a variation of the same theme - plated metal. And however it is marketed, be under no illusions - gold plated metal isn't an "affordable luxury". It is expensive tat. Gold plate is a lot like fake tan, it wears off, in patches, and looks cheap and nasty when it does. And when people have bought gold plated jewellery cheaply, they don't tend to want to go to the expense of having it replated every time the gold wears off. So it's likely to end up in the bin. And the problem with that is, the remaining gold plate and the base metal goes into the bin with it, rather than being recycled back into the system and re-used. So more has to be mined to replace it. And that's just not sustainable or ethical. The same is true, of course, of silver plated and rhodium plated jewellery. It's best avoided.
4) If you don’t have the budget for the whole piece to be made in gold, look at adding some gold accents to a silver piece instead. Small additions of gold look amazing with silver - gold bands, balls, hearts, flowers, scrolls, initials - you can add something really personal to you. And gemstones and pearls always look amazing set in a little yellow gold. And you sometimes have the option to use existing gold and/or gemstone jewellery you already have, but perhaps don't wear, to make these accents, or even make the entire piece. This is another advantage of having something properly handmade for you.
5) And speaking of gemstones…. If you’re on a budget, genuine gemstones may not be the best option. The cheaper ones are cheap for a reason - wishy washy colours, visible flaws and bad cuts are common. As well as questionable origins and ethics. Diamonds aren't the only gemstones traded from conflict zones using downright nasty business practices, many gemstones carry this same sickening legacy.
But you do have options. And one is to spend your gemstone budget on a higher quality, ethically traded, but cheaper type of stone. For example, a higher quality garnet instead of a cheap ruby, or a grade A tanzanite in place of a cheap blue sapphire.
Or you could consider synthetic stones - that is, those that are made and not mined. You can get something to suit every budget, everything from synthetic (lab grown) diamonds, to moissanite, to cubic zirconia. Synthetic stones are good and flashy, with a flawless appearance (obvs) and gorgeous colour saturation, or fire, (the coloured sparkle) in the case of diamonds and moissanite. They also have the added bonus of being far more environmentally friendly than their mined counterparts. What’s not to love?
And they aren't the poor substitute that they used to be. In fact, quite honestly, unless your besty is a fully qualified gemologist, no-one is going to know the difference. And if she IS a fully qualified gemologist, she's hopefully a good enough friend to keep her trap shut, and just oooh and aaaah over your new beautiful sparkly pride and joy. If she doesn't, then you need to ditch her ass and find yourself a better class of friend.
Thanks for reading - I hope this is helpful for you. And as ever, I'm always happy to chat over your options with you, with no obligation, hard sell or bullsh!t.
See 'ee drekly