Jewelry Industry Today: Role of Alternative Metal Jewelry

It was a test for many industries around the world when the global recession spread like wildfire a few years ago. Right now, companies and consumers alike have an optimistic outlook and it shows as economies are slowly but surely starting to recover. The fashion industry, though luxurious and very rewarding, becomes easily vulnerable when economic challenges arise. That is why a lot of jewelry retailers have to be resourceful and flexible when trying to stay relevant in the industry.One such strategy that many high-end and mid-range fashion retailers employed to survive the recession is offering alternative metal accessories together with their precious metals collections. Stainless steel jewelry in particular has gotten very popular among customers, mostly with men though appreciative women are not so far behind. The shift in consumer interest and priorities plus the fact that spending habits have been altered by the economic challenge made many jewelry retailers invest in alternative metal jewelry. And it paid off quite nicely, as many say that embracing the affordable side of the fashion industry is what saved many jewelry retailers to ruin.In addition, alternative metal accessories has also gotten the attention of high fashion designers and brands like Vivienne Westwood, Armani and many others. Infusing their collections with alternative metal jewelry and giving stainless steel a make-over increased the number of consumers who now purchase these once exclusively elitist products. Which begs the question whether there is still a line between fine and fashion jewelry when the perspective of most consumers with regard to value has drastically shifted?Though some might argue that gold will always be the top dog of fine jewelry, it cannot be denied that alternative metal jewelry like stainless steel has started to grow on customers wanting affordable and stylish accessories. And as the economy and the fashion industry start to recover, it appears that alternative metal jewelry also can stand toe to toe with fine accessories, as top brands and jewelry retailers now offer stainless steel jewelry in the price point that is just a few hundred dollars below silver jewelry.What makes the jewelry industry great is it never stands still. The jewelry industry is as dynamic as the consumers who appreciate it. Whether alternative metal jewelry will continue to move forward or not, the fact remains that products, like stainless steel jewelry, has served an integral part in the fashion industry, helping jewelry retailers survive and even succeed amidst the recession.

Antique Jewelry

Antique jewelry means old-fashioned jewelry. To term it ‘antique’, the jewelry must be at least 70 years old. It could refer to jewels handed down from generation to generation, and it also includes jewelry with a historic value. They are treasured not just for the money value. Rather, they are relics from a memorable past.There are different types of antique jewelry. The most common ones are estate antique jewelry, Victorian, Edwardian, Art deco and Art nouveau.Estate antique jewelry pieces are recent pre-owned ones. These excel in workmanship. The pieces are generally low priced compared to new jewelry. This type of jewelry is commonly auctioned off. Some of the most popular pieces are engagement rings, wedding rings, necklaces, bracelets and pendants.The elegance of the Victorian era is captured in antique Victorian jewelry. A unique type of Victorian jewelry was hair jewelry. Locks of hair were saved and later on turned into ornate hair jewelry such as watch chains, bracelets and rings. Hair jewelry served the purpose of being a very personal memento at the time of parting or death. Today antique hair jewelry is valued at hundreds or thousands of dollars depending on the condition of the piece.The period from 1920 to 1935 is referred to as the Art deco period. It produced dazzling pieces in bright colors and straight lines. Long earrings were a popular part of Art deco jewelry. The antique Art deco jewelry is studded with emeralds, sapphires and rubies. These are jewels fit for a queen. Needless to say they are exorbitant and rare.Art nouveau jewelry was popular in the years between 1890 and 1919. Motifs used in this jewelry were inspired by nature. Butterflies, dragons, orchids, snakes and lilies were the popular motifs preferred. Widespread usage of precious and semi-precious gemstones, horn, copper shell, tortoise shell, ivory and shells was the norm.The brief span from 1901 to 1915 is referred to as the Edwardian era. Edwardian jewelry had diamonds and pearls set in platinum, creating intricate filigree patterns.