Bridge to Where?

I just heard Silpada is going out of business. They have sighted an outdated business model as the reason. Interesting. At trunk shows particularly I have often heard my jewelry compared to Silpada. My sterling silver and gemstone designs seemed to spark the comparison. Fortunately, that is where the comparison ended.

Sterling Silver and Aqua Chal;cedony Earrings | Lisa Robin Jewelry

Most women making the comparison would share their disappointment. The item they purchased from Silpada had broken after just a short time would be returned. I often respond with “I am sorry to hear that. This is the real stuffI should more accurately say it is fine or bridge jewelry. Maybe I should explain.

There are three categories of jewelry; fine, bridge, and costume. Fine jewelry uses at least 14 kt. Gold or other precious metals and precious gems like diamonds, sapphires, rubies or emeralds. Fine jewelry can be from a manufacturer or artisan-made one-of-a-kind pieces or limited-edition. What you would think of finding in a traditional jewelry store.

Aquamarine Gold Ring with Diamonds | Lisa Robin Jewelry

Costume jewelry can also be artisan-made or mass produced. Materials used in the designs are base metals, glass, plastic and other synthetics. They also may use shell, wood, and other organic materials. Costume jewelry is often trendy, sold along with fashion intended to last the season. Silpada fit this category.

Bridge jewelry is as it sounds. It is the bridge between fine jewelry and costume jewelry. Materials used may be vermeil (gold plating), gold filled or sterling silver. Gemstones such as amethyst, citrine, turquoise, jade, topaz, freshwater pearls, garnet and others are used. These gems used to be referred to as semi-precious stones. The current thinking is that all gems are precious so that term no longer applies. Much of the Bridge jewelry available is artisan or designer made.

Lisa Robin Designer Jewelry | Rudy Ring with White Sapphires

Before launching my line, I would wear bridge or fine jewelry. I wore it simply because I could wear it with everything. I invested in pieces that would work well together and be interchangeable. That formed the foundation of my design concept.

Quality materials and construction that will last is so important. Beautiful gemstones make all the difference in the designs. They just don’t compare to glass or resin “gemstones”. But investing in quality fine or bridge jewelry is worth a bit more up front to gain a beautiful return in the long run. RIP Silpada.

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