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What’s the Difference Between Jewelry and Bijouterie?

What's the Difference Between Jewelry and Bijouterie

What is the difference between jewelry and bijouterie?


Learning the difference between jewelry and costume jewelry is a very useful way of buying accessories and knowing the value for money that should exist. Jewelry is a very interesting world to explore, not only for its fashion trends or its economic impact, but also for its high cultural value in many societies, which have long been present on our planet.

To find out the difference between jewelry and costume jewellery, let’s talk a little about the origins of both.

For many years, the presence of jewelry has influenced life in unimaginable ways, and today we are constantly amazed at the uses, creations and advantages it can have.

Since the beginning of humanity, man has been working with raw materials to obtain tools that make his life easier. In the same way, and as an ornamental element, stones and metals were used for decoration.

Jewelry in its early days was not an indispensable trade to live by, but it did not cease to have a level of elegance and skill that others did not have, as its artisans were very skilled people, “the master goldsmiths” (as they were called), used their skills to shape metals and gems, in some cases to combine them, to create all the usual pieces of jewelry that we know today.

Initially, most of the gems were considered to be true wonders because of the belief that they had magical elements as well as sacred properties. It was thought that some gems could cure certain diseases, others were discarded for the belief that they brought bad luck, others, on the contrary, were said to bring good luck to those who carried them. To this day, certain beliefs still exist in this sense, for example, emerald is considered a jewel that attracts good luck.


Historical Stages of Jewelry Making

There are three historical stages in the development of jewelry.

In the first place we have the ancient civilization with Egypt, India and China; it was in Egypt and Mesopotamia where certain standards were established in materials linked to metals, gems and something very important when it comes to understanding the art of jewelry of that time, the manufacture of glass. This era sets certain standards for the European civilizations that came later. Many of today’s fashion trends are more than 3,500 years old.



The first men adorned themselves with simple elements of nature, which were often amulets. With time, the jewels, which were a symbol of power and that we know of, appeared due to the funerary tradition or the representations in sculptures and paintings.


The origin of bijouterie

Its origin is almost parallel to that of the human species, which appears for magical and protective purposes. Ancient peoples used to use shells, stones or flowers to make their accessories in order to obtain a magical power that was assigned to them.

In the Middle Ages, jewelry was reserved for religious people, sovereigns and merchants, these were then a symbol of authority. Then, it became the ideal gift for the loved one, adorning the person in love and glorifying love.


Fashion jewelry has been part of the culture for almost 300 years. During the 1700s, jewelry was made of glass and began to receive some importance, but it was not until almost a century later, in 1800, that semi-precious materials jewelry entered the market.

The use of semi-precious materials in its manufacture, gave access to the massification of costume jewelry; this became even more popular by several designers of the mid-twentieth century, such as: Crown Trifari, Dior, Chanel, Monet, Napier, Corocraft, etc., they made costume jewelry as accessories for their suits.

What is the difference between jewelry and bijouterie?

When we think about the difference between jewelry and bijouterie, we mainly find the following:


  • For the making of a jewel, noble metals are used, such as gold, platinum ( nowadays it’s obsolete) or silver in many cases with rhodium plated finishes; while jewelry is made with non-precious metals such as steel, or those also known as “low melting” such as zamak and pewter among others. Another difference between jewelry and costume jewelry is that precious stones are used to make jewelry and synthetic and low value stones are used for costume jewelry.
  • The jewelry usually offers exclusive pieces, that is to say, the design of a jewel will be unique in that jewel (because the originality, singularity, exclusivity of a jewel design are factors that attribute to the piece a greater value, and not only economic, but also artistic). On the other hand, the pieces that can be considered as bijouterie are mass produced, so you can find them in different markets at the same time.
  • Jewelry has a longer life span and is therefore more expensive, as the materials used in its manufacture make this possible. Fashion jewelry ornaments have a limited life span, as they tend to blacken quickly, break and in many cases produce allergies or skin irritations, this is one of the main differences between jewelry and fashion jewelry.
  • Another point to address the issue: what is the difference between jewelry and costume jewelry, is that the jewelry has a denomination of origin, not costume jewelry. That is to say, silver and gold jewelry are engraved with the law, which is nothing more than the purity of metal, which is not the case with jewelry, since they are not made of noble metals such as these, they cannot be engraved.


We now know the difference between jewelry and costume jewellery, so, to conclude, we can say that both practices: costume jewellery and jewellery are capable of complementing that need for humans to wear accessories, which is a fairly notorious habit in many societies, people who enjoy decorating their clothes, purses, handbags, etc..

With this type of technics they are also quite common, the more shocking they are, the greater the impact they create on the population and, in turn, many more people join the trend, obviously promoting more and more work where jewelry and costume jewellery are part of, so what are you wearing?