There are many different types of jewelry that people wear. What an individual chooses depends primarily on his or her personal preferences. Some people choose to buy less expensive costume or fashion jewelry, while others wear fine jewelry, made with more expensive stones and metals. Jewelry today is often given as a gift of love or affection.
The most common pieces of jewelry include necklaces, pendants, rings, earrings, brooches, and bracelets. Earrings may be pierced or clip-on. Other, somewhat less common, jewelry types include anklets and toe rings. Some people wear jewelry pieces that fit into more extreme piercings, like navel rings, tongue rings, nasal piercings, lip rings, eyebrow rings, or earrings that pierce the ear cartilage.
One issue that people should consider when buying jewelry is the type of metal that it's made of. Many pieces are made of silver, gold, titanium, or platinum. For those with body piercings, surgical-grade stainless steel or titanium may be used to prevent oxidation of the metal and a subsequent infection. Piercers may also use a surgical-grade plastic called Tygon® for those with metal allergies. Wedding bands are also sometimes made of a metal called tungsten carbide, which is extremely durable and scratch-resistant, always appearing shiny and new.
There are various types of gold that may be used to make jewelry. Yellow gold is the most common, and is usually alloyed with base metals since pure gold is quite soft. White gold, which has a silver appearance, is mixed with some silver and palladium. Rose gold has a pinkish look because it is mixed with copper. Jewelry made of white gold is generally coated with a metal known as rhodium, which is similar to platinum in color, but it will wear off over time. It is a good idea for people who own white gold jewelry to take it to a professional to have it re-plated every 12 to 18 months.
Another consideration when purchasing gold is the specification referred to as carats or karats (usually abbreviated kt). The higher the carats, the more gold is used in the piece of jewelry — though gold is a relatively soft metal, so it is rare to see rings made of 22kt or 24kt (pure) gold. For example, a 14kt gold ring is about 60% gold, whereas an 18kt gold ring is about 75% gold, and therefore more expensive.
Some pieces of jewelry include gemstones in a setting. These stones can include diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, or virtually any type of gem a person desires. Pearls are also quite popular. Synthetic gemstones, paste, and glass often appear in less expensive fashion jewelry.
The prices for various types of jewelry range from the very inexpensive to the extremely expensive. To find unique pieces, some people shop in antique stores or vintage shops for older, previously worn jewelery. The jewelry found in these stores vary widely and can provide a great accessory to an outfit, usually at a less expensive price. Otherwise, shoppers can find relatively inexpensive costume jewelry just about anywhere, or more expensive fine jewelry at upscale boutiques and department stores.