High Jewelry vs Fine Jewelry: What Are the Differences?

Jewelry has been a beloved form of self-expression for thousands of years, but the COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a rise in those purchasing jewelry once again.

The jewelry industry will reach $266.53 billion by 2027. 

But despite the timeless nature of this beloved accessory, many consumers still can’t differentiate between high jewelry vs. fine jewelry. 

So what exactly is the difference between the two?

Let’s break it down.

What Is High Jewelry?

High jewelry was first introduced in the 1800s. 

It is the highest-end, most exclusive jewelry available on the market, often costing as much as several million dollars a piece. 

High jewelry accounts for the most expensive pieces from big-name jewelry brands. These pieces are highly exclusive and often worn by society’s most elite individuals, celebrities, and socialites alike. 

A High Jewelry Guide

So what is high jewelry? And how is it defined?

High jewelry is the highest form of jewelry as an art form. The pieces are so expressive, that they almost embody art itself. 

The luxurious style of jewelry is made up of unique, bespoke pieces.

The pieces use precious metals like gold and silver. Their value comes from the rarity of the gemstones and precious stones that make up the jewelry. Diamonds, sapphires, rubies, and emeralds have traditionally made up the “big four” stones regularly used in high jewelry.

These jewelry pieces are typically handmade and almost always one-of-a-kind. It’s this distinctive quality that makes high jewelry so exclusive. For this reason, high jewelry typically gains its value over time.

Understanding the “Big Four” Gemstones

The “big four” gemstones are diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds.

These stones are the most desired and valuable gemstones.


Diamonds are more than just “a girl’s best friend.” They are the most popular gemstone in the world. And with good reason!

Diamonds are made up of carbon. They are the only stone composed exclusively of one element. Diamonds are the hardest substance on the earth, making them a perfect accessory for everyday life because of their durability. 

Rubies and Sapphires

Rubies are extremely durable as well. Most rubies have noticeable flaws, which is one of their distinguishing features. 

Sapphires are the hardest gemstones, next to diamonds. These classic stones are often associated with royalty because they have been worn by the monarchy for centuries. 

Rubies and sapphires share all the same properties apart from their color.


Of the four stones, emeralds require the most care because the stone is slightly softer than the others. 

Emeralds are best known for their unique green hues and their unique flaws which bring them value.

High Jewelry Is Trendy

There’s a reason high jewelry is often spotted on the red carpet around the necks of A-list celebrities.

High jewelry is modern, contemporary, and on-trend. Tiffany, Bulgari, and Cartier just are some of the most popular brands worn by celebrities. Some designers even take custom orders for bespoke pieces. 

The pieces are worth so much, that they often need to be accompanied by a bodyguard.

Bespoke pieces exhibit designers’ signature styles, exceptional artistry, and distinguishing features like their remarkable gemstones.

The reality is, that the majority of consumers will likely never be able to afford high jewelry, but they can afford fine jewelry.

What Is Fine Jewelry?

Fine jewelry uses precious metals like gold, silver, and platinum. Platinum is in fact, the rarest of the three metals. It’s known for its durability.

This style of jewelry is often produced by the same big-name brands that create high jewelry, but it is far more accessible. 

A Fine Jewelry Guide

Fine jewelry uses precious stones and gems as well. Pieces are often created from diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds. 

The difference with fine jewelry, however, is that the stones are not as rare as with high jewelry.

Instead, fine jewelry uses genuine stones that are much more durable in nature. These pieces are made to last. For that reason, they can be worn daily.

Fine Jewelry Vs. Fashion Jewelry

Fine jewelry is different from fashion jewelry or costume jewelry. 

Where fine jewelry is made from precious gemstones and precious metals, costume jewelry and fashion jewelry are composed of plated metals and more affordable or simulated stones. For that reason, fashion jewelry and costume jewelry pieces are typically nowhere near as durable as fine jewelry.

Plated metals often contain nickel as well, which can irritate those who have allergies to metals. 

Fine jewelry is ultimately defined by its quality. Even kids jewelry is fine jewelry if it has precious metals and stones.  

High Jewelry Vs. Fine Jewelry

Even though high jewelry and fine jewelry are often created by the same designer brands, the two classifications of jewelry are very distinct. Let’s sum up the characteristics of high jewelry vs. fine jewelry.

Ultimately, high jewelry focuses more on jewelry as an art form. For that reason, there is an emphasis on its conceptualization and creation as well as its craftsmanship. That craftsmanship and artistry cause high jewelry to be far more luxurious and expensive.

Fine jewelry, however, is far more accessible. Where high jewelry is often inspired by trends, fine jewelry often has a more classic look. 

Because of its durability and accessibility, fine jewelry has a much wider consumer base and popularity.

The Popularity of Jewelry 

Jewelry has been worn by human beings for centuries, and the pandemic has reignited that popularity once again.

The distinction between high jewelry vs. fine jewelry isn’t always clear. 

Thankfully, this guide can help you understand the difference between the two popular jewelry styles. 

Check out the rest of our website for more articles like this. 

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