Demi-fine jewelry is solidifying its place as a core component of the jewelry market. Differentiating itself from fine jewelry pieces, demi-fine jewelry intends to take the best parts of high-end investment pieces and create them in a way that is far more affordable.
What is demi-fine jewelry?
Demi-fine jewelry is a category of premium jewelry made of precious metals like gold, silver and platinum. Techniques like plating solid gold over high quality silver (vermeil) and rhodium plating - rhodium layered over precious metal to protect from tarnishing and scratching - are often utilized. Demi-fine jewelry has an attractive value proposition, as its use of precious metals elevates its profile but not its price point. It is more affordable than fine jewelry because it is crafted mostly from silver – a precious metal less expensive than gold.
Though nestled in between the fine and fashion jewelry categories, demi-fine is more closely aligned with fine because of the precious metal common denominator. Fashion jewelry, on the other hand, is distinctly different because of its primary use of base metals. Fashion jewelry or costume jewelry, as it has been referred to in the past, is often crafted using precious metals like gold and silver but is plated over much less expensive base metals like brass, copper or pewter as opposed to more expensive precious metals.
But it is more than its metal composition that distinguishes fine and demi-fine jewelry from fashion jewelry. It is also the types of stones that are used as accent pieces. Often, imitation gemstones – like crystal, glass, or plastic is used to emulate real gemstones in fashion jewelry. Another distinguishing characteristic is the size and weight of fine & demi-fine to fashion. Fine and demi tend to be lighter in weight and more delicate and Fashion tends to be heavier and bulkier. The less expensive fashion options are often more over-the-top and designed to make a splash, whereas demi-fine pieces are designed to be daintier, often much less bulky, and are far more versatile, designed for everyday-wear. Necklaces, bracelets, and rings are often crafted with layering in mind, and earrings are able to be worn daily without concern for quality or adverse reactions.
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Let’s break it down: Fine vs Demi-Fine vs Fashion!
●Solid gold or platinum
●Precious or semi-precious gemstones such as diamonds, emeralds, sapphires
●Solid pure or sterling silver with or without layers of solid gold and/or rhodium
●Precious or semi-precious stones, or lab created gemstones such as cubic zirconia
●Silver or Gold plated over base metals such as brass, copper, pewter, or aluminum
●Glass, or crystal “gemstones”
Why is demi-fine jewelry popular?
With a much less hefty price tag, demi-fine jewelry is allowing consumers to buy more pieces that they love and not have to worry about quick tarnishing or breakage. It has also allowed for the emergence of a host of new brands that are entirely dedicated to this style of jewelry. The competition makes for competitive pricing and an abundance of choice for all levels of consumers. It means that what was once out of reach for people is now abundantly possible.
Demi-fine’s affordability & use of quality materials makes it an attractive gift option for people of all ages and for a myriad of occasions. From graduations to first communions, gift givers feel good knowing their gift will last for years to come but won’t break the bank – an ideal gift proposition! Some examples include: a young lover with modest means can gift a girlfriend or boyfriend a classic heart necklace, a grandmother can gift a unique piece to their young granddaughter or grandson who may not be mature enough for fine jewelry, a graduate can go off to start new chapters will something special.
A younger generation of consumers has broken through over the last 10 years, who are demanding something modern and versatile, without costing them an arm and a leg yet crafted with precious metals. The trend of demi-fine jewelry has really emerged as a way to cater to Millennials and Gen Z whose capacity for investment in fine jewelry (at least right now) is not exceptionally high, but whose desire for quality and the finer things is conversely very high. In order to cater to this market, where the expectation is a lower price tag but something that still lasts, brands started shifting to rhodium plating and vermeil plating, and adding semi-precious stones to keep their prices around $100-400; this is considered a reasonable investment to make in something one plans to wear daily. When you consider how often it is necessary to replace cheaper alternatives when they inevitably tarnish or break, the trade-off in higher price makes a great deal of sense.
While the market emerged and really took off catering to an audience between ages 25-40, it turns out that quality and longevity at a lower price tag is something that is desired by pretty much everyone! If we can get what we want without shelling out thousands then it seems like a no-brainer right? With that in mind, the real answer to why it is so popular and successful is that it’s appeal is almost universal.
Where can I buy demi-fine jewelry?
As previously mentioned, the major influx of consumers to the demi-fine jewelry market has created myriad options in terms of new brands to shop from for semi-precious pieces. There are lots of companies that have emerged promising to meet your needs with trendy and/or timeless jewelry in this mid range jewelry price point; a google search will net you thousands of results. But remember, not all of these companies will net you the same quality, or service, for your money. Our preference, of course, is to take the guesswork and difficulty out of it – all of our demi-fine, affordable luxury jewelry pieces are sourced from trusted brands creating heirloom quality pieces in a responsible way . Some of our favorite go-to demi-fine jewelry brands are: Freida Rothman, Ti Sento Milano and Monica Rich Kosann.
Where can you wear demi-fine jewelry? How do you style it?
Anywhere, everywhere: you can wear demi-fine jewelry to all the places that you would wear your fine pieces. For most, this is exactly the kind of freedom and versatility they want with their jewelry; pieces they can put on, wear constantly, and not really think too much about it. In fact, many people will wear their demi-fine jewelry with their fine jewelry – it is almost impossible to determine which is which and it can create the illusion of added opulence.
Styling can be more fun with demi-fine because you can simply afford more of it and are able to wear the pieces together without the same concern for fragility of pieces in a lower price range. For this reason, you’ll see that layering is extremely popular with demi-fine pieces and that collections of demi-fine jewelry will be crafted to be worn together. They are designed to be more delicate than fashion jewelry and thus lend themselves to changing trends much more. They are also less likely to tarnish, corrode, or fragment if a tangle should occur as, it should also be noted, demi-fine jewelry is heavier due to the more premium metals. Weight is often a great deterrent for tangling when it comes to layering pieces and creating looks with more pieces. With semi-fine, layering goes for everything: necklaces, bracelets, and rings!
How do you make the most of your demi-fine pieces ?
Now that you’re well versed in what it is, let’s talk about how you really make the most of these pieces and how they function for you.
The best thing you can do to make the most of these pieces is to create a diverse collection that you will consistently wear. The lower price point means that you can invest wisely in things for all occasions; gather simple chains of different weights alongside more stand-out pieces to satisfy your desire for both everyday adornments and things for special occasions.
The durability of demi-fine jewelry is all down to the plating. Most of us know about gold plating and how it increases the life of, and substantially strengthens, less precious metals. Fewer understand the role of Rhodium plating, a process that is especially popular for demi-fine pieces. Electroplating with Rhodium creates a product that is hypoallergenic, highly tarnish resistant, non-corrosive, and shines brighter than stand-alone silver.
While they are far more durable than your fashion pieces, you can easily make them last even longer by taking care of them appropriately. Remember to care and store them properly when they are not in use so that you really take advantage of their longevity. Most semi-fine brands send their pieces in pouches or boxes that are appropriate for their storage when they’re not being worn. Bonus is that it helps keep things organized!
Always follow brand instructions for regular cleaning to keep them sparkling, and to make sure that unnecessary residue isn’t left on them that might contribute to expedited degrading.
Hopefully this helps to guide you through your next demi-fine purchase, and really gives you an idea as to why it is a superior product for a far more reasonable price point. With it’s quality, versatility, and accessibility, demi-fine jewelry is a market that is here to stay and will likely just keep growing, which is great news for our wallets and our necks, wrists, and fingers!
Demi-Fine Jewelry: Why it's Big & What You Need to Know