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Fine Jewelry vs. Costume Jewelry: A Retailer's Guide

Boma Jewelry Wholesale Blog Fine vs Costume Jewelry GuideFine Jewelry vs. Costume Jewelry: A Retailer's Guide

As a retailer venturing into the world of jewelry, understanding the distinction between fine jewelry and costume jewelry is crucial. This knowledge not only influences your inventory choices but also impacts how you market your products to customers. Let's break down the key differences and highlight why incorporating affordable fine jewelry, such as sterling silver, into your store could significantly enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty. 

Boma Jewelry Precious Metals Guide

1. Material Composition Fine jewelry is made from precious metals like gold, silver, and platinum. These materials are highly durable, retain value, and can last a lifetime with proper care. Costume jewelry, on the other hand, is crafted from less expensive materials such as brass, nickel, aluminum, and non-precious stones. These are much more prone to wear and tarnish over time. Let's look at the definition on Ebay to evaluate how it technically defines fine vs. costume jewelry for resellers on its website:

Boma Jewelry Blog What is Fine vs Fashion Jewelry
Boma Jewelry Blog What is Fine vs Fashion Jewelry
Boma Jewelry Wholesale Ring with Hallmark
Boma Jewelry Wholesale Hallmark for Gold Plate Jewelry

(Above: both images above show the 925 sterling silver hallmarks on all Boma Jewelry to signify the base material used of our products is real silver).

2. Durability and Longevity One of the most significant advantages of fine jewelry like sterling silver over costume jewelry is its durability. Sterling silver jewelry does not tarnish easily when worn on the body because the natural oils in your skin help to clean the metal, which keeps it looking shiny and reduces the oxidation process that leads to tarnishing. Additionally, the constant friction and exposure to the air while being worn also helps to polish the silver, maintaining its luster and preventing tarnish. However, if sterling silver jewelry tarnishes, it's easy to clean using simple at-home ingredients like: baking soda, aluminum foil, warm water, and dish soap. You can also purchase a professional-grade polishing cloth that also helps clean tarnish and polish sterling silver pieces in your store.

Boma Jewelry Polish Cloth

(Above: use Boma's professional-grade polishing cloth to clean sterling silver jewelry).

Alternatively, costume jewelry might look appealing initially but can quickly deteriorate with exposure to skin oils, moisture, and air. Investing in fine jewelry means offering your customers pieces that can become heirlooms rather than disposable adornments.

3. Hypoallergenic Properties For customers with sensitive skin, fine jewelry made from sterling silver, platinum, or solid gold is a better choice because these metals are typically hypoallergenic. Sterling silver is the most affordable fine jewelry option and is naturally hypoallergenic and antimicrobial making it an ideal material choice for jewelry that is safe to wear everyday.

Boma Jewelry Hypoallergenic

Costume jewelry may contain nickel or lead, which can cause allergic reactions, making them unsuitable for long-term wear. By offering hypoallergenic fine jewelry, you cater to a broader audience, ensuring that customers can wear their purchases without health concerns.

4. Aesthetic and Value Retention While costume jewelry is great for trendy, short-term use, fine jewelry holds its aesthetic and material value over time. Sterling silver possesses an intrinsic value that costume jewelry lacks. It polishes to a high shine and, with basic care, maintains its look for decades. This makes fine jewelry not only a purchase but an investment in quality that resonates with discerning customers.

Boma Jewelry Wholesale vintage collection
(Above: selected earring studs made with genuine stones including the Bug Studs with Stones and the Heart Studs with Stone).
Boma Jewelry vintage

(Above: images of original production, vintage Boma Jewelry styles available to purchase as part of our Vintage Collection).

Boma Jewelry has seen the cycles of fashion over more than four decades and we've seen how quality and good design are things that never go out of fashion. In fact, some of Boma's best selling sterling silver designs have been in our catalog for as long as our business has been around and we endearingly have called them our "Belle Collection" named after one of our first office buildings located in the Belltown neighborhood in Seattle.

5. Building Customer Loyalty and Satisfaction Selling fine jewelry can significantly boost customer loyalty. When customers invest in a piece from your shop and find it lasts beautifully, they are more likely to return for future purchases and recommend your store to others. The quality of fine jewelry speaks volumes about your brand's values and commitment to providing products that stand the test of time.

For customers who are conscious about the jewelry they are buying, where it comes from and how it is made, feel confident in promoting Boma Jewelry, a B Corp certified brand. B Corps are companies that demonstrate the highest standards of environmental and social impact and include sustainable brands like: Patagonia, Allbirds, and, Seventh Generation

Boma Jewelry Display

(Above: Boma Jewelry Wholesale display program options including brand warranty cards available for purchase upon request).

Boma Jewelry Wholesale Warranty Cards

Conclusion For gift shop owners, choosing between fine and costume jewelry might seem daunting, but the benefits of stocking affordable fine jewelry are clear. Offering items like sterling silver jewelry elevates your store's profile, appeals to a wider customer base, and establishes your reputation as a destination for quality and reliability. Embrace fine jewelry to provide your customers with products that are not just purchases but true treasures.

By integrating these insights into your business strategy, you can transform how customers perceive your jewelry offerings, making your gift shop a go-to place for quality and style.

Suzanne Vetillart is a second generation owner of family-owned Boma Jewelry. Boma Jewelry was founded in Seattle in 1981. Learn more about story here.

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