March 29, 2009

Costume vs High Fashion Jewelry PLUS Enter to Win a Gorgeous Bracelet!

Today we are going to talk about bridal jewelry. Just like diamonds, there's a vast selection of quality. When you finally narrow your selection down to one or two gowns, the store associate will probably pull out the big guns - the accessories. Just about every bridal store has it's own display of bridal jewelry. The associate will point out how one necklace matches the crystals on your gown, how another accentuates the neckline, and still another that co-ordinates with your veil. Your mind will be whirling with accessory overload.

My suggestion - don't even look at jewelry that day. Shop around to other stores. While you're shopping, pay attention to the two types of jewelry most brides consider: Costume Jewelry and High Fashion Jewelry

Costume Jewelry
(cost: $20-135 per necklace)

Most bridal stores carry costume jewelry. While it looks nice and is designed to match the gowns and bridesmaid dresses on display, it's lower quality than high fashion jewelry. It also does not come with a guarantee. If it breaks before the big day, then you'll need to purchase another necklace.

Another thing to consider is that since your necklace matches your wedding dress or the bridesmaid gowns, will it match anything in your closet after the wedding? In my case, the answer has been no. I chose a pretty costume necklace my bridal associate recommended to go with my dress. While I loved it and it's certainly a very pretty necklace, for the last ten years it's sat in my jewelry box collecting dust. No matter what dressy occasion I attend, I've never had another gown or dress that necklace looked good with again. I can say the same for the other three necklaces I wore as a bridesmaid in other weddings. Right now, all four of those necklaces have just been collecting dust. I've seriously thought about getting rid of them, but so far have kept them for sentimental reasons.

Here are some examples of costume bridal jewelry:

Cost: $30/necklace

This necklace is a lot like the one I wore when I was in my brother-in-law's wedding.
A combination of pearls, gold, and crystals makes this a definitely bridal piece in that
it's very difficult to match up with another outfit.
Cost: $40/set

My bridal set was much like this.
While it's very elegant, I haven't found anything to wear it with since.
Cost: $80/set

Cost: $99/set

I have a necklace like this with an emerald green stone to match the bridesmaid dress I wore. This type of necklace was very popular for bridesmaids back in the 90's.
Cost: $20/necklace

High Fashion Jewelry (Cost: $20-250 per necklace)

High fashion jewelry is higher quality than costume jewelry, although lower in quality than fine jewelry (the really nice stuff with real pearls, gems, and diamonds). One benefit to high fashion jewelry, is that many stores or high fashion jewelry companies will replace your item for free or at a very low cost (shipping & handling) if your item breaks. This is definitely good if you're spending $30 or more on a necklace.

High fashion jewelry is also more versatile. You will find beautiful pieces to co-ordinate with your bridal party, but you'll also wear these pieces over and over again in your day-to-day life which makes it a much better addition to your jewelry box. You can Google "high fashion jewelry" and find lots of companies to choose from. When I did my Google search, on the first page of results, there's one company who came up multiple times as a favorite high fashion jewelry supplier - Premier Designs.

I was surprised, but I guess I shouldn't have. My girlfriend, Laura Marion, is a Premier Designs jewelry lady and I love getting her new catalogs. I have lots of Premier Designs jewelry, but I never knew they were so in demand that they would come up as the top hits on a Google search! Armed with this new info, I called up Laura and talked to her about my upcoming post on bridal jewelry. I asked her to bring over some jewelry she would recommend for a bridal party so I could take pictures for this post. She gathered up her favorite pieces (which were quite a few!) and here they are below. Disclaimer: I am not a professional photographer. These pictures don't do justice to the actual colors of the jewelry, but you'll get a good idea of what's available. Believe me, they are gorgeous! In between photos, I was trying on each of the necklaces and running to the bathroom for mirror access!

Silvers: From Left to Right Two Hearts Necklace ($39)
Very romantic silver necklace. I love the toggle and hearts draping down.

Luxe Necklace ($35)

I have the Luxe necklace. It didn't turn out very well in this picture.
On one side of the silver circles, it's blingy with crystals and hammered silver.
You can also open the clasp holding the circles
and flip them over to a smooth, shiny silver surface.
I love how this necklace and be all bling bling for a more dressy occassion
or sleek for with jeans and a nice shirt.

Unbelievable Bracelet
This is a blingy silver and crystal bracelet.

Earrings: Lookin' Good Silver Bracelet ($28)
More Imagination Necklace ($21) Different colored cords available

Silver Companions Oval Earrings ($26)

Golds & Metallics: The colors in this picture didn't turn out well.
Rio Necklace ($49)
Rio Bracelet ($39)
The Rio Set is made up of blocky strands of gold, silver, and copper.
Avant Garde Gold Necklace

Silver and Beads
Austin Necklace ($38)
Austin Bracelet ($35 for set of 3 bracelets)

The Austin Set is made of silver strands with blue, brown, and tan beads

Euginia Silver Necklace ($49)

Gold and Beads
Kristiana Gold Necklace ($69)
Mahogany Necklace ($49)
Mahogany Bracelet ($29 for set of 3 bracelets)
The Mahogany set is made up of chocolate brown and plum colored beads.

Black & White Beads
Jet Set ($49)
The Jet Set is made of black and gray beads.
Opposites Attract Necklace ($35)

Opposites Attract Bracelet ($28)

The Opposties Attract set is made of silver strands with black and white beads.

Beads and Pearls
Waterfall Bracelet ($26 for set of 4 bracelets)
Pearl Bracelet
Sandstone Bracelet ($36)
Carolyn Gold Beaded Necklace ($44)
Carolyn Earrings ($21)

Romantic Glass Beads
Lavendar Rose Necklace ($29)
Lavendar Rose Earrings ($17)
The Lavendar Rose set is made of lavendar and pink glass beads with silver links.

Spring/Summer Trendy Glass Beads
Venetian Necklace ($34)
Venetian Bracelet ($24 per bracelet)
The Venetian set is made up of blue, pink, and green glass beads
in a variety of geometrical shapes on a silver strand.

As you can see, there's a much larger variety of jewelry pieces available - everything from bling to metallics to beads - with a more styles to choose from. High fashion jewelry is unique and certainly not like costume bridal jewelry, although the prices are comparable.

So,whether you're the bride or the mother-of-the-bride, shop around for your jewelry pieces. You will most likely find something you like much better than the selection at a bridal shop and you'll also enjoy wearing it again and remembering that special day.

Premier Designs Jewelry Give-Away!

My girlfriend, Laura, was kind enough to offer this beautiful Blanca bracelet for one lucky From My Wedding to Yours reader!

The Blanca Bracelet is made of inter-twined silver hoops with pearl accents.

Here it is on my wrist.
It's so pretty and romantic!

The winner will also receive a gift certificate for 20% off an order placed with Laura! Hmm . . . a beautiful bracelet AND a 20% discount! I wish I could enter!!!

There are three ways to receive a contest entry (which means you could earn up to three entries!) All entried need to be received by 12 noon (CT) on Tuesday, April 7th. The winner will be announced later that afternoon on April 7th. When you comment, be sure to leave your email address or blog link so I can contact you!!! The winner has until Friday, April 10th to send me their mailing address or another winner will be chosen. Good luck, everyone!

1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me what topics you'd like to see in future From My Wedding to Yours posts.

2. Become a From My Wedding to Yours follower. (Please leave another comment letting me know you became a follower or if you are already a follower.)

3. Go to Laura's jewelry blog, Laura's Jewelry 411, and leave a comment. Be sure to let her know you're a From My Wedding to Yours reader. I check her blog frequently & will give you an additional entry to the contest when I see you there!

Happy Wedding Preparations!


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