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What is the Difference Between High and Fine Jewelry?

“What is the difference between high and fine jewelry?”  

“What exactly are fashion jewelry, designer jewelry or semi-fine jewelry?”

“What about the differences between high-fashion jewelry and fine jewelry when both are made of precious stones?”

Unless you are quite a connoisseur, you’d probably ask yourself some of these questions when you step into the world of jewelry. Knowing the meaning of these commonly used terms is essential in getting the ideal jewelry according to your preferred style and preference.

At Scintilla Gioielli Boutique located at Siam Paragon, M Floor, we represent many world-class Italian jewelry brands which are categorized as ‘fine jewelry’ and ‘high jewelry’. But what exactly is the difference between fine jewelry or high jewelry? Allow us to introduce these to you in this concise guide to jewelry tier that commonly consist of fashion, semi-fine, fine and high jewelry. Let us start with the first out of four main categories. 


Fashion Jewelry or Costume Jewelry

‘Fashion jewelry’, sometimes referred to as ‘costume jewelry’, is a more affordable range of jewelry often made of gold-plated and synthetic stones instead of natural gemstones to lower the cost. Fashion jewelry is ideal for trendy pieces you will not probably wear for decades. There is pretty much no rule in the composition or material. We have seen brands use acrylic or even plastic in this category of jewelry. As fashion jewelry uses base metals like brass, copper or zinc inside the thin gold-plated layer, it is recommended to avoid contact with body oil, sweat or water as it will shorten the lifespan of the piece. Some designer jewelry manufactured with synthetic stones can also fall into this category. A note here is that it is somewhat common for fashion jewelry wearers to develop an allergy to the base metal such as brass.

Semi-fine or Demi-fine Jewelry

Since the difference between fashion jewelry and fine jewelry is too great. One is more stylish, mass produced and affordable, while another is usually hand-made with precious metal and natural gemstone for a steep price. This leaves a wide gap in the middle. What about pieces that are both high quality and stylish and yet still affordable?

Semi-fine jewelry defines pieces that are crafted using semi-precious stone or precious stone with a mix of metals such as lower carat gold, 925 sterling silver, or gold-plated silver. With the absence of brass, it rarely triggers any allergic reaction with your skin. This semi-fine jewelry category does not only elevate the material used, but also present the aspect of art and craft which set it apart from fashion jewelry. Semi-fine jewelry steps in for women who seek something more than just fashion. Women who seek to elevate their jewelry sets to ones with higher quality at higher price-points, developing a taste for elegance prior to fine jewelry. Many designer jewelry brands would be in this category. However, only by analyzing the composition of the piece will tell you exactly which category the piece should be classified.    

Fine Jewelry

Fine jewelry is pieces that will retain their value for a lifetime. Masterpieces born of inspiration, precious materials and craftsmanship. They are made of solid precious metal such as 14 to 18K gold, silver or platinum and adorned with natural, precious gemstones like diamond, sapphires or pearl. As a result, fine jewelry can be worn every day as their durability and shine will last for generations unlike semi-fine and fashion jewelry. Fine jewelry can also be repaired, altered or resized, unlike any other category of jewelry.

Italian Brilliance

Speaking of fine jewelry, one cannot overlook the brilliance of Italian fine jewelry that is in a league of its own. We all know that Italy continues to produce the very best in both quality, design and techniques compared to other parts of the world. For example, acceptable Italian gold is of 18K which is considered the purest wearable form of gold whereas the rest of the world is 14 K. Another example would be the unique technique such as that of Annamaria Cammilli which is the only brand that could possibly create 8 exclusive colours of gold. No wonder Italian fine jewelry is always in high demand.

Explore our fine jewelry brands such as Fope, Annamaria Cammilli, Nanis, Mattia Cielo and more on the website.

High Jewelry

When you move up the world of jewelry, most of us will stop at fine jewelry. However, you can choose to go another step higher for one-of-a-kind pieces that will not just only retain its value but quite likely gain value over time. ‘High jewelry’ or ‘Haute Joaillerie’ represents the ultimate form of art and craftsmanship expressed through the language of jewelry. Only the finest quality of metals and gemstones are used. The rarest and most exclusive collections are offered mostly due to sheer rarity of gemstones. They are true pieces of art that transcend time. When people asked what is the difference between high and fine jewelry, you can confidently say it’s the extra uniqueness. The touch. The rarity that is above and beyond even fine jewelry. 

As such, there are only a handful of brands in the world that have the skill and historical craftsmanship to even create jewelry that fits the description. Aside from familiar names such as Christian Dior Haute Joaillerie, Louis Vuitton Haute Joaillerie, Chaumet, Bulgari, Chopard or Harry Winston, there are many desirable brands such as Scavia, JAR (Joel Arthur Rosenthal), Chaumet and more. At Scintilla Gioielli, we do offer collections of high jewelry for our distinguished clientele. Please contact us for more detail.


The difference between fine and high jewelry is in the exclusivity and one-of-a-kind factor high jewelry offers. High jewelry offers the artistic quality that is above and beyond fine jewelry to the point that one cannot look at high jewelry as jewelry, but an embodiment of art itself in the form of jewelry.

Nevertheless, each category of jewelry has its own audience and serves their purposes. We invite you to take a look at our brands of fine and high jewelry at Scintilla Gioielli Boutique at Siam Paragon, M Floor or explore online at