Often I will get a call about a pair of earrings or a necklace and the customer will tell me that it is a designer piece. But, when I ask who it is, it turns out it is branded. Many times people mistake a custom piece of jewelry for a designer piece of jewelry. And, sometimes people don’t even look to see if their jewelry is branded, designer or has a stamp at all.
It’s important to know if your jewelry is designer, branded or custom and what each means as well as how to recognize each type of jewelry because this will help you determine the worth of the jewelry that you own or want to buy in the future.
Designer, Branded and Custom Jewelry
Designer Jewelry – Jewelry promoted as the creation of a particular designer. Can exist for almost any budget.
Design House – A jewelry retailer that caters to upscale clients, offering high-end jewelry often designed by well-known jewelry artists. (I threw this one in because I felt it was an important term to know in order to understand the difference between designer and design house.)
Branded Jewelry – Jewelry identified by its manufacturer, design house, or designer. Helps jewelry retailers set themselves apart from their competitors.
Custom Jewelry – Jewelry made to order according to the customer’s specifications. Can be handmade or assembled from manufactured findings.
The Differences Between the Types of Jewelry
Designer jewelry carries prestige and when you link it with a store name, such as Tiffany & Company, it carries even more prestige. For instance, Elsa Peretti is almost synonymous with the little blue box and when you hear her name don’t you think of the amorphous silver beans? I know that I do!
Another way that designer jewelry creates prestige is to create a their own style. An example of this would be the sterling silver rope bracelet of David Yurman. No matter who copies or manufactures that same look, you know who started the trend, and you also know whether it is a real David Yurman, which is worth more than a David Yurman look-a-like.
Designer jewelry, such as Cartier, which is also a brand, although it is considered designer jewelry, it is really branded jewelry. What makes it designer is that they have their own store front, and what makes them branded is that their pieces are sold world wide through high-end retailers. Think Mikimoto and DeBeers as well.
If a designer has the capability of branding their product they can also sometimes lower the prices and make it more available to the masses or offer it at a lower price point. This is good and bad. It doesn’t dilute their name and it does make it their designs more accessible to the everyday person, but when you go and buy their goods, be sure you are buying the higher end if you are a collector, and not the lower end, otherwise you are in a for a big disappointment.
Remember, if a deal appears to be too good to be true, it probably is!
There has been a rise in custom jewelry, and this is what Jonathan’s Fine Jewelers specializes in. We make and design engagement rings, wedding bands, right hand rings, left hand rings, bracelets, necklaces, earrings and pretty much anything your heart desires for you and the only thing that holds you back is your imagination!
It’s fun to be able to sit down and design your own piece from start to finish. You choose the stones, the setting, you draw, you write, you think, you brainstorm, you design and then you get to see your finished product that no one else will have. It really is an amazing process.
No matter which way you go when you buy, it’s important to know the differences, because in the end a smart consumer is an informed consumer.