Jewelry is a popular type of fashion accessory. It is often used to modify the appearance of an outfit. A piece of costume jewelry may dress an outfit up, or a quirky vintage piece may dress an outfit down. Knowing common terms used to describe different types of jewelry can be helpful in selecting the perfect piece for any occasion.
Bangle - A thin, circular bracelet. Bangles may be worn individually, or in large numbers. Though they are traditionally worn in India, bangles have caught on as a fashion trend in many other countries.
High-polish - A way of finishing metal so that it is very reflective. This is one of the most classic ways of finishing jewelry, and is especially well-suited for costume jewelry.
Satin Finish - Also called matte. A technique that gives metal a duller finish. Satin finishes may be used in a design to highlight diamonds or other gemstones.
Hammered Finish - A technique in which metal is hammered, giving it an irregular texture. It often appears wavy. This finish technique may work especially well for handmade designs or large, trendy pieces.
Brushed Finish - A way of finishing metal to give it a very textured appearance. This may be especially well-suited to handmade jewelry, as the finish can be unique to each piece.
Plating - A very thin outside layer of a high-end metal. The base is often made of a cheaper type of metal. Plating can give rings, earrings, or other items a much more refined appearance without great cost.
Baroque Pearl - A pearl which is not perfectly spherical. Many are oval-shaped.
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Fashionable jewelry makes for great accessories with any outfit which makes the jewelry business a very profitable industry. Retail fashion jewelry can range from women's costume jewelry, to real gold and silver engagement rings. From sterling silver necklaces to beaded earrings, there is a market willing to invest in it.
It is important to remember that historically, jewelry has not just been used for fashion. It is also used to portray one's status, as a symbol of wealth, or to show one's religious beliefs. Crosses are very popular pendants with the Christian faith, while other religious like Judaism prefer pendants that bear the Star of David. Historically, jewelry has also been used as currency. For jewelry that contained gold, diamonds, rubies, emeralds and other precious stones, it was a valuable commodity that could be sold for cash or trade exchanges at pawn shops or outdoor markets. The first known piece of jewelry was discovered in Africa, in the form of handmade beads, dating back more than 75,000 years.
Today, fashion jewelry is available for purchase everywhere. It can be found in local specialty shops, online, or in large department stores. Some jewelry is cheaper than others, especially if it is faux or costume. Designer specific jewelry is usually more expensive, and can only be found at select locations. Popular items include rings, watches, silver chains, pins and more. Some stores offer selections of handmade pieces, women's accessories, or ethnic-based jewelry. Other stores may only carry vintage jewelry. Depending on what the customer is looking for, he or she may have to shop around a bit to find the perfect pair of rhinestone earrings or vintage necklaces.