What Is the Difference Between Costume & Fine Jewelry?

Singer Carrie Underwood's diamond necklace is a stunning fine jewelry piece.
... Jason Merritt/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

In a jewelry collection, costume and fine jewelry pieces serve very different purposes. Wear a bright piece of costume jewelry when you want to incorporate a vibrant, trendy piece into your outfit. Turn to fine jewelry for timeless everyday pieces or for occasions that call for a more dressed-up, elegant look.

1 Costume Jewelry

Costume, or fashion, jewelry is made using affordable materials, such as resin and gold- or silver-plated base metals. It often features vibrant, colorful or oversized design elements. Because costume jewelry is typically quite inexpensive, designers often create on-trend costume pieces. Wear costume jewelry when you’re interested in wearing something trendy without breaking the bank.

2 Fine Jewelry

Fine jewelry tends to be much more expensive than costume jewelry and is made using high quality materials and metals. Pure gold, sterling silver, diamonds, pearls and fine gemstones are all materials incorporated into fine jewelry pieces. These creations feature classic design elements, making them great investment pieces that can be worn for years to come.

Katherine Mitt has been contributing to online publications since 2009, focusing primarily on fashion and style topics. She holds a B.A. in English from a small liberal arts school.