Shopping for affordable jewellery can feel like a gamble, particularly if you haven’t purchased from the brand you’ve set your sights on before.
There’s nothing worse than splashing your cash on a stunning new ring or necklace only to have it turn your skin green, fall apart or tarnish after just a few wears.
Finding affordable jewellery brands that will last a lifetime—including your daily shower, because no one wants to de-jewel every wash—is possible, you just have to know what to look for.
How To Determine If Silver Jewellery Is Good Quality
The quality of a piece of silver jewellery is determined by a scale of 1 to 1000. However, it’s not actually possible to produce an item with 100 percent silver, meaning the highest grade you can find is 925 silver, meaning its make-up is 92.5% of the metal.
How To Determine If Gold Jewellery Is Good Quality
There are four terms to know when shopping for affordable gold jewellery that relate the piece’s quality and finish: solid gold, gold-filled, gold-vermeil and gold-plated.
Solid gold is typically the highest quality jewellery you can get. Coming in various grades described as karats—14K, 18K and the highest, 24K—solid gold won’t tarnish.
Gold-filled, gold-vermeil and gold-plated jewellery involves a layer of gold being applied to a cheaper base metal.
What Is The Difference Between Gold-Filled, Gold-Vermeil And Gold-Plated?
Can be either a 925 silver or brass base, gold is pressure and heat bonded (melted or fused) on to the base metal, has a minimum thickness of 3 microns of gold and is water-resistant.
Has a 925 silver base, uses electroplating to fuse the gold to the base metal, can be a thickness of 0.1 to 3 microns and is more likely to tarnish over time.
Can be a base layer of nickel, zinc, alloy or brass, uses electroplating to fuse the gold to the base metal, has a micron thickness of less than 0.1 and is quick to tarnish.
The Best Affordable Jewellery Brands To Shop In Australia
Sarah & Sebastian
Known for: high-quality, soldered, designer and dainty pieces crafted from fine silver and solid golid.
Price point: from $80
Available at: Sarah & Sebastian
Known for: Everyday staples and on-trend pieces crafted from sterling silver, gold vermeil, recycled 14K gold and 14K yellow gold.
Price point: from $45
Available at: Mejuri
Known for: Staples and keep-forever pieces elevated with touches of glitz and glamour.
Price point: from$249
Available at: Michael Kors
Known for: long-lasting, delicate staples perfect for everyday wear, crafted from 14K gold-fill.
Price point: from $29
Known for: stunning ear-stacks, dainty pieces and tarot-inspired collections crafted from gold-fill or solid gold.
Price point: from $8 for single charms
Available at: S-kin Studio
Known for: vintage and Art Deco-inspires staples, crafted from sterling silver and gold-fill.
Price point: from $109
Known for: elevated everyday staples you’ll want to live in, crafted from 925 sterling silver and gold-plated.
Price point: from $89
Known for: stylish sustainable pieces, layering essentials and fine details crafted from 18K gold-vermeil.
Price point: from $40
Known for: staple pieces with a unique twist and coloured gems, crafted from 18K electroplated gold on 925 sterling silver
Price point: from $65
Arms of Eve
Known for: stunning pieces that crosses culture, defies trends and spans seasons, crafted from 18k gold-plated.
Price point: from $35