Alex

V-Day is fast approaching. Be prepared

So Fine

Leah Alexandra is both a jewelry business started in 2006 and the first two names of its founder, Leah Belford. In addition to demi-fine items, the Gastown studio produces handmade earrings, necklaces and rings using 14-karat gold, pearls and semiprecious stones. At the studio, online and select retailers

Martinus

Reality Check

After becoming a master goldsmith in his native Germany, Martin Ebbers moved to Salt Spring Island, where he launched Martinus Fine Jewelry in 2004. The earrings, necklaces and rings he designs and handcrafts feature gold, silver and platinum with gemstones and pearls. Each piece comes with a certificate of authenticity, including a colour picture, precise description of materials and Ebbers’s signature. At studio and online

Cavalier

Perfect Gems

In 2013, after following his uncle and grandfather into the gemstone importing business, Delta native Dane Stevens opened Cavalier Jewellers in Vancouver’s Gastown. The shop specializes in engagement and wedding rings made in-house from gold or platinum along with ethically sourced diamonds and gemstones. Most are custom designs, but clients who need a piece that day can purchase something from the showcase. In-store only

Poppy

Endless Style

Vancouver banker-turned-designer Amanda He founded Poppy Finch in 2014 to create timeless fine jewelry at accessible prices. The rings, necklaces, bracelets, earrings and brooches are handcrafted locally from ethically sourced gold (including recycled), pearls and gemstones. At Nordstrom, Net-A-Porter, independent high-end boutiques and online

Pyrrha

Send a Message

Pyrrha Jewelry, certified as a B Corporation in 2014, uses reclaimed metals and conflict-free stones. Since 1995, Vancouver designers Danielle and Wade Papin have handmade meaningful pieces for men and women based on 18th- and 19th-century wax impressions and imagery. The Pyrrha fine jewelry collection includes rings, necklaces, bracelets, chains and talismans. Online; list of retailers available by request

Hart

Natural Selection

Salt Spring Island’s landscape inspires Emily Hartwell McPhee’s creations for Hart + Stone, which she founded in 2014. Most of her pieces are semi-fine, handcrafted from recycled gold and silver where possible plus pearls and semiprecious stones, but she also makes solid gold rings. Online and select retailers

Material Differences

Fine and costume jewelry have been around since at least 1884, when Guy de Maupassant wrote “The Necklace,” a short story about a woman who sadly couldn’t tell one from the other. Costume (now often called fashion) jewelry is made of less-expensive substances. More recently, demi-fine (or semi-fine) has entered the picture.

“Technically the definition of fine jewelry would be any piece made entirely of a solid precious metal, that will last a lifetime if cared for properly,” explains Leah Belford, owner of Leah Alexander, which makes both fine and demi-fine pieces. She adds that precious metals include solid gold, platinum and sterling silver, though in her opinion, “The general public perception of fine jewelry would exclude silver, as it’s significantly less valuable than gold or platinum.