A few weeks ago I posted some pictures of similar pieces of jewelry to see if people could tell a difference between the high end and low cost items. The earrings had pretty split votes
Although they have a similar look they are not the same stone. The earring on the left are smokey grey chalcedony from an etsy shop oh kuol and retail around $85 are while the ones on the right are yellow citrine from mendikow, they retail for around $1,000.
Here's an example of a purple amethyst from both companies:
This time the higher end brand is on the left, this one is easier to tell due to the clarity of the stone and the fact that the metal is one piece. But when you're looking at a $900 price difference I don't think you could say the look I'd that significantly different if one is going for look vs investing in jewelry. Yes the clarity is nice as is the faceting but to me personally I'm not going to spend that much on a semi precious stone. The etsy shop does have some nice pieces with more clarity, they have a nice mix of raw stone and polished ones.
So when I first saw the water colors collection advertised by my local expensive jewelry store I wanted it but wasn't interested in the purchase. While looking through etsy for something else I stumbled upon a store selling the jewelry of a similar look. This is the necklace I bought for myself, it's a green amethyst.
I liked it so much I got the matching earrings, which look like the ones above only in the same stone as the necklace. Since then I've purchased several other pieces from the same company.
When looking for affordable options etsy isn't always the answer, sometimes man made costs more but jewelry is a product very must driven by advertising, no expensive ads means lower overhead, means lower cost to the consumer. The etsy store people also aren't paying rent for a fancy storefront nor the salary of sales staff. Like diamonds, the cut, clarity, carat and color of any stone will play into its prices as well as the materials of the setting - the more expensive pieces are sent in 18k gold while the less expensive pieces are gold dipped brass. Again, for me I was going for the look not to be making an investment.When looking to buy a similar but less expensive piece the internet is always a great place to turn. My advice for finding such "value pieces"are:
1. Be flexible on the cut or type of stone you will buy
2. Use words from the original product's description in your search, if this is not available think of the words you would use to describe the piece
3. Perform multiple searches, different combinations of words will bring up different items. For example faceted gem and faceted jewel
4. Since each stone is unique make sure you are purchasing the exact stone photographed
5. Be realistic in your expectations of how a lower priced piece will differ
Some people take a less is more approach and prefer to have few investment pieces but I'm the girl who has misplaced a white sapphire ring among other pieces at least three times since I bought it, which is why I shouldn't be buying those type of things. The Oh Kuol stuff is also currently mia but it makes me a little less mad at myself while I wait for it to turn up. Thank goodness my girls are smart enough to not eat jewelry.