The start of the New Year invokes a bit of reflection in all of us. We look at the year behind us and evaluate what worked and what didn't in order to navigate our route forward. Maybe it's time to launch that project you've been sitting on for years, or you could be sorting through the depths of your closet and pairing down the frivolous to the essentials.
When was the last time you took a look through your jewelry box? You might notice that your tried-and-true pieces are looking a little too loved. Unfortunately, not every piece of jewelry you've purchased will stand the test of time or wear. Take a look at the necklace you wear everyday, is it time to update this staple with something that will you own for years and still look as beautiful as it did the day you purchased it?
Gem will always support makers who work with the natural beauty of the Earth to create jewelry that carries its own special meaning to whoever wears it. Make this the year you invest: in yourself, in the hands of a maker, and in the world.
While we specialize in the realm of delicate jewelry here at Gem, which can be intimidating if you are used to heavier, statement pieces or live with tiny hands that like to grab... we also believe in the durability of real. Jewelry made of solid metal and real stones is meant to be worn, loved, and even passed through generations. Of course, gemstones range in hardness... which is why diamonds have become the default stone for engagement and bridal. Stones like opal, moonstone, and topaz are a bit softer and require more mindfulness while wearing.
As for metals, most fine jewelry designers use 14k or 18k gold as it holds a higher value because of its radiant color and shine. Its higher value is also because it doesn't tarnish or fade with time. With proper care and mindful execution, 14k and 18k can be worn everyday and hold its value over time and even generations.
Another common term in the industry is 'Gold Filled' - Gold Filled jewelry is a bit more economical but still a beautiful option. Jewelers create gold filled jewelry through the process of pressure binding a layer of gold to another metal. These pieces don't hold as much value as solid gold but they still wear well without tarnishing for a significant period of time.
At Gem, we also carry many lines of 'Gold Vermeil' jewelry that is an affordable alternative to solid gold. A fancy version of gold plating that is made by electroplating layers of 14k or 18k gold to sterling silver. The price of jewelry made with gold vermeil varies based on the thickness (which is measured in microns) of the gold portion. In order to be considered 'vermeil' as opposed to 'plated,' the thickness of gold must be at least 2.5 microns. Most of the vermeil jewelry we sell has at least four individual layers of gold over the silver base, insuring that it will not only look similar to a solid gold piece, but hold that color over time as well.
Of course, another thing to consider when purchasing jewelry (or anything for that matter) is knowing who made it. At Gem, we selectively purchase from designers who hand make every piece of jewelry. A beautiful piece of jewelry made from the hands of a real human being (sometimes through a close-knit team of production, sometimes just one woman with a bench in her house) carries with it a soul and quality that is not only seen but felt. Nothing is mass-produced, everything is ethically sourced, and materials are recycled whenever possible.
As a response to the horrors of "fast fashion" there is a wave of people choosing to purchase higher quality and more sustainable clothing. This conscious spending not only benefits the environment, it takes away from the profits of companies that mass produce products at the expense of fair working conditions and wages. The same "fast fashion" that exists in the clothing industry exists in the jewelry industry as well. Being conscious of where you spend your money has an impact on the world, and in the end that choice determines how far your dollar goes. Jewelry can last a lifetime and be passed down several generations instead of worn for a season and then tossed in the trash.
We have always carried jewelry that ranges in price as we understand that not everyone has a budget for fine or luxury items. However, we know if you love Gem... you love jewelry that is unique and one-of-a-kind. We are true believers that fine jewelry is a worthwhile investment that will hold its value.