Demi-fine jewelry has become a staple in every modern woman’s jewelry box – and for good reason. Bridging the gap between costume jewelry and fine jewelry, these pieces come in modern and tasteful designs, sometimes adorned with semi-precious stones, with a moderate price tag that make them perfect for everyday wear.
Heyjow designer Joana Ballesteros-Gube tells us more about the different metals used in demi-fine jewelry and how to make them last a long time.
What's the difference between top jewelry metals like platinum, palladium, gold, and silver?
"Jewelry metals each have their own unique qualities. From the perspective of a jewelry designer, there are a ton of technical and creative factors that will guide her towards choosing one metal over another. The differences between your metal options that matter most for both designers and wearers are: appearance, color, texture/feel, and hardness. The differences between metals in these characteristics will affect the end-piece's aesthetic, practicality, and the wearer's sensory interaction with it."
Rose gold pieces from our V Holiday Collection
When is it okay to choose stainless steel over other types of metal?
"If you have an active lifestyle, you should have some stainless steel jewelry in your collection. I have a stainless steel bangle that my husband gave me for my birthday because we were going on a long adventure across the U.S. It was perfect because I didn't have to worry about chipping it, bending it, or breaking it. I didn't have to worry about the harsh winter weather.”
Why did you choose to work with brass for Heyjow pieces?
"I was inspired to create with this metal because of our adventures—we scuba dive, we travel a lot, and we go on beach trips regularly. I had to design jewelry that was tough enough to withstand the demands of life. You don't want to worry about your jewelry because you're already so busy as it is."
Pieces from our V Holiday Collection made of brass and dipped in our signature 22k matte gold
"The other thing I love about brass is that it ages gracefully. Many of our clients find that their Heyjow pieces look even more gorgeous after a few years of use. Though brass is more challenging to work with as a jewelry maker, and is more expensive and harder to source than the metals you often find being used in other jewelry brands, the effort and cost is worth it. One of our frequent compliments is how long-lasting and luxurious our pieces are."
What should you consider when choosing the right jewelry metal?
"Besides price, here are a few things to consider:
Skin compatibility. Some people are allergic to certain types of metals. For instance, allergic reactions can be caused by nickel, a common metal that's often mixed or alloyed with silver or gold to make jewelry stronger and appear whiter. White gold may contain nickel (among other metals) to produce the desired appearance of the jewelry designer. If you're allergic to certain metals, it's best to ensure that the jewelry you buy is hypoallergenic or free of any metals you're allergic to. For Heyjow, all our pieces are lead-free and nickel-free.
Durability. The strength of the metal is something many jewelry buyers often neglect. Jewelry is meant to be worn and enjoyed. They're designed to make you look and feel amazing. The jewelry you choose to wear must be able to handle your lifestyle. Our pieces shouldn't be lying around in our jewelry cases. A lot of times, we choose brass for our designs because it's a beautiful and a robust metal that's perfectly suited to our clients' lifestyles. For wedding bands, I suggest going with hard, rare metals and alloys such as platinum, palladium, and white gold. Wedding rings are designed to be worn every day for the rest of your life, so you want them to be able to last forever. Durability is not just dependent on the metal type but also on the skill and craftswomanship of the designer and maker of your pieces. Where you get your jewelry matters just as much as what jewelry you're wearing.
Look-and-feel. Jewelry metals like platinum, palladium, gold, and silver each have their own distinctive appearance, weight, and texture. There's no science to choosing what jewelry looks good on you. Trust your instincts. Go with the piece that speaks to your heart. If it doesn't feel right, you're probably right. Try to make sure the metal is aligned with your usual attire, aesthetic, and overall style. Your jewelry should suit your style and not the other way around."
How should you take care of your demi-fine jewelry pieces to make them last a long time?
"Metals in demi-fine jewelry often won't be as strong as stainless steel or platinum. My rule of thumb for a conservative approach: Handle them similarly to your fine yellow gold jewelry, which are a lot of times softer and more delicate than the metals found in demi-fine jewelry. Also, avoid putting your jewelry alongside abrasives so they don't get surface scratches. You can clean them with a slightly damp cloth occasionally and whenever they get in contact with sweat. With your semi-precious stones, avoid dropping them or hitting them against hard objects because with enough force, they may crack or chip."
This interview first appeared on Preview.PH.