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Imitation Jewellery vs. Artificial Jewellery: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 20, 2023
Imitation jewellery replicates precious metals and gems, while artificial jewellery refers to jewelry made of non-precious materials.

Key Differences

Imitation jewellery is designed to mimic the appearance of genuine, high-end jewelry. This means it looks like jewelry made of gold, silver, diamonds, or other precious gems, even though it's not. On the other hand, artificial jewellery doesn't necessarily seek to replicate real precious materials. It simply refers to jewelry pieces made from non-precious substances.
Imitation jewellery's primary goal is to provide a cheaper alternative to genuine jewelry. It allows individuals to wear items that look like genuine gold, diamond, or other precious materials without the associated cost. Artificial jewellery, however, offers a broad range of designs and materials, not confined to mimicking the expensive ones.
When looking at imitation jewellery, one might be deceived into thinking it's the real deal due to its striking resemblance to genuine jewelry. It might use materials like cubic zirconia to mimic diamonds. Artificial jewellery, on the other hand, might be made of plastics, glass, or other materials without necessarily trying to imitate pricier jewelry.
Both imitation jewellery and artificial jewellery serve unique markets. While imitation appeals to those wanting the look of luxury without the price tag, artificial jewellery provides diverse, often colorful and creative designs without adhering to the conventions of traditional precious jewelry.
Imitation aims to replicate, while artificial signifies non-precious material construction.

Comparison Chart


Mimics genuine jewelry's appearance.
Made of non-precious materials without always mimicking real ones.

Typical Materials

Cubic zirconia, gold or silver plating.
Plastic, glass, beads.

Target Audience

Those wanting the luxury look without the cost.
Broad audience; not just those seeking luxury replicas.

Design Flexibility

Constrained by the need to resemble real jewelry.
Can have a wide variety of unique and non-traditional designs.

Subset Relationship

A type of artificial jewelry.
A broader category, including imitation pieces.

Imitation Jewellery and Artificial Jewellery Definitions

Imitation Jewellery

Imitation jewellery aims to capture the aesthetic of luxury jewelry pieces.
The imitation jewellery set had the grandeur of royal heirlooms.

Artificial Jewellery

Artificial jewellery doesn't necessarily aim to replicate genuine jewelry.
The bold, abstract designs of her artificial jewellery were statement pieces in themselves.

Imitation Jewellery

Imitation jewellery uses materials like cubic zirconia to emulate genuine gems.
The imitation jewellery ring sparkled as if it had a real diamond.

Artificial Jewellery

Artificial jewellery includes, but isn't limited to, imitation pieces.
From quirky designs to imitation diamond rings, her artificial jewellery box had it all.

Imitation Jewellery

Imitation jewellery is jewelry crafted to resemble real, precious jewelry.
Her imitation jewellery necklace looked just like a genuine diamond piece.

Artificial Jewellery

Artificial jewellery refers to ornaments made from non-precious materials.
She adorned herself with colorful artificial jewellery for the beach party.

Imitation Jewellery

Imitation jewellery offers a visually similar but affordable alternative to high-end jewelry.
At the party, no one could tell her earrings were imitation jewellery and not real gold.

Artificial Jewellery

Artificial jewellery offers affordability and creative flexibility.
Designers love creating artificial jewellery because of the vast array of materials and styles they can explore.

Imitation Jewellery

Imitation jewellery allows wearers to achieve a luxe look on a budget.
With her imitation jewellery collection, she enjoyed versatile styles without breaking the bank.

Artificial Jewellery

Artificial jewellery can encompass a wide variety of styles and designs.
Her artificial jewellery collection ranged from bohemian beads to modern acrylic pieces.


Is all artificial jewellery considered imitation?

No, while all imitation jewellery is artificial, not all artificial jewellery is imitation.

Do artificial jewellery designs always replicate real jewelry?

No, artificial jewellery can have diverse designs, not necessarily mimicking real jewelry.

What is imitation jewellery?

Imitation jewellery is designed to mimic the appearance of genuine jewelry made of precious materials.

Which is more expensive: imitation or artificial jewellery?

It varies, but imitation jewellery, aiming to resemble precious pieces, might sometimes be priced higher than other artificial pieces.

Is imitation jewellery made of real gold?

No, it might have gold plating but isn't made of solid gold.

Who typically buys imitation jewellery?

Individuals wanting the luxury look without the associated price often opt for imitation jewellery.

Are there brands known for high-quality imitation jewellery?

Yes, several brands specialize in creating convincing, high-quality imitation jewellery pieces.

What's a good way to care for artificial jewellery?

Keep it clean, avoid moisture, and store it properly to prolong its life.

Why might someone choose artificial jewellery over genuine pieces?

Artificial jewellery offers affordability, variety in designs, and less worry about loss or theft.

Can artificial jewellery be considered fashion-forward?

Absolutely, many designers create trendy and unique artificial jewellery pieces that are fashion statements.

Does imitation jewellery always imitate expensive materials?

Typically, yes. The goal of imitation jewellery is to resemble high-end, precious materials.

Is it easy to spot the difference between real and imitation jewellery?

Quality imitation jewellery can be quite convincing, but experts can usually spot the difference.

Can imitation jewellery tarnish or fade?

Yes, over time and with exposure to elements, some imitation jewellery can tarnish or lose its shine.

Is there a stigma attached to wearing imitation or artificial jewellery?

Perceptions vary, but many people embrace artificial and imitation jewellery for its affordability and style versatility.

What's a common material in artificial jewellery not trying to imitate real jewels?

Materials like plastic, glass, or beads are commonly used in artificial jewellery.

Is artificial jewellery durable?

It varies by the quality and materials used, but some artificial pieces might be less durable than genuine ones.

What might imitation jewellery use to mimic diamonds?

Imitation jewellery often uses cubic zirconia to emulate diamonds.

Are there any downsides to wearing imitation jewellery?

Some imitation jewellery might tarnish over time or cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.

Can artificial jewellery be customized?

Yes, like other jewelry types, artificial jewellery can be customized based on preferences.

Can artificial jewellery be made of glass or plastic?

Yes, artificial jewellery can be made from a variety of non-precious materials, including glass and plastic.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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