Are you wondering how to buy Steampunk jewelry? Then maybe we can help you a bit… in fact, fine jewelry with Steampunk inspiration is our passion! Well, this guide may not be the definitive one… but we are sure that it is going to be helpful. In any case don’t take our word for it, go on reading and see for yourself!
1.- What are you looking for? Identify your style
If you are trying to find ready-to-wear Steampunk jewelry, you probably have a clear idea about what is Steampunk. As you know, the Steampunk genre is rooted in the Victorian era: we just need a pinch of uchronie and retrofuturism, et voilá!
This means that your first challenge is probably to define what you are exactly looking for. Here are some useful ideas.
1.1. Victorian era jewelry
We are convinced that antique jewels, Victorian replicas or even modern jewelry pieces inspired by 19th century designers can suit your needs. These jewelry pieces will give you a Steampunk touch per se, but obviously there are many alternatives to get a convincing Steampunk attire: clothes, accessories, etc.
1.2. Steampunk-influenced jewelry
Are you a purist or you simply prefer to rely on your accessories to design a jaw-dropping Steampunk outfit? Then this is a possibility that you need to considerate… but it is going to raise a key question: What is ‘Steampunk jewelry’?!
We have to recognize that this question is a bit tricky and even we are still trying to get an answer with the assistance of the international community (thanks to our brief interviews series ‘Steampunk jewelry tonight with…’). It seems widely accepted that Steampunk jewelry shoud have the power to evocate the Victorian era (in terms of design, materials, cultural/symbolic awareness, historical accuracy, etc.); if you happen to be in the quest for Steampunk fine jewelry, you will seriously enjoy this blog post entitled ‘The 5 secrets of Steampunk fine jewelry’.
Besides, your own personal style (or the style of your persona… archetypes matter) will be conditioning your choice. Would an air pirate wear the same jewelry than a scientific? Would an explorer wear the same jewelry than a dandy?
‘Our personal adornment not only attracts the attention of others, not only reinforces an image that we wish to project, but also provides a small glimpse into who we are as an individual. It talks about our interests and what we wish to share about ourselves’.
2.- Everyday use or special occasions? Find its purpose
The intended use is very important in the fashion realm. The same way you choose a different outfit to go shopping or to attend a wedding, you are probably going to choose different jewels to go to the movies with some friends or to attend a Steampunk convention. To get a ‘steamy touch’ for your everyday wear you may prefer a discreet jewelry piece, while you may want to dazzle with an outstanding jewel in an event.
If you are going to use a jewelry piece occasionally, durability may not be among your main worries. Remember, however, that quality is always noticeable; a professionally manufactured jewel made of precious materials such as sterling silver, gems, etc. has always been synonym of distinction and good taste.
3.- Durability, quality, inspiration? Determine the jewels’ value for you
One of the issues frequently pointed out by our interviewees is that quality and durability of Steampunk jewelry are not always up to standard. Purchasing a lovely jewel that ‘falls in first round’ is never a pleasant experience, so we encourage you to pay attention to this in order to avoid unnecessary disappointments.
‘Real Steampunkers care about quality. They appreciate craft and workmanship. It’s part of the Steampunk ethos to value creativity and skill, and to wear it with pride’.
Are you looking for disposable jewelry or do you want jewels for a lifetime, designed and built to last? Would you like to pass on this jewel to your daughter or son, for example? If it is a present, do you want to give something that is going to be soon forgotten or something that will make that special person feel unique for the years to come? Answer these questions and you will be closer to your target.
4.- How much are you ready to spend? Quantify your budget
Jewelry or fine jewelry? Although there is quite expensive jewelry, fine jewelry has normally higher prices due to the materials and techniques used. We always recommend to set a budget and stick at it.
Logically, the amount to spend will differ depending on your preferences. Many times this is a very conditioning aspect, but if you are willing to invest in jewelry you should ask something to yourself: do I want to buy cheap, use-and-throw jewelry, or do I prefer long-lasting premium pieces? Naturally top-quality jewels are less affordable, but they are going to pay for themselves in the long run.
When shopping for steampunk jewelry (or any jewelry) always buy something you love, but also buy the best you can with what you have. You will always love many pieces, and within those you love you will always find something wonderful within your means.
What do we think? Once you have experienced quality, you will not step back. Think in the long term.
5.- Where are you going to find it? Steampunk jewelry shopping resources
Alright, you know now what you are looking for! This is a great step forward, but there is one more issue to solve… where can you find Steampunk jewelry? These are the main options we can think about.
5.1. Online stores and marketplaces
We think that marketplaces are the favorite option for those who are, like you, searching for gorgeus Steampunk jewelry. If you live in the USA, Etsy is going to become your reference (but do not forget alternatives such as ArtFire or Zibbet). If you live in Germany, Spain or UK, you should have a look at DaWanda, for example.
5.2. Physical stores
When you are looking for Victorian-styled jewelry, many traditional jewelry shops, antiques or even big retailers can become good options. On the opposite, if this is not the case and you want ‘genuine’ Steampunk jewelry (if this exists at all) the range of options is not so wide. There are some physical shops here and there, and if you are lucky enough perhaps you will find one of them at your fingertips. Some of them are Clockwork Couture (Burbank, USA), Otherworlds (Edmonds, USA), etc.
5.3.1. Alternative fashion/lifestyle markets
Some of them are itinerant or take place periodically (weekly, monthly…) and some of them do not. Do you live in London? Then we are sure that you have visited Candem or Covent Garden. However, don’t lose the faith if you cannot find alternative markets close to you… have a look at the next bullet point!
Parties, gatherings, conventions… specific events usually become one of the best opportunities to buy items that you can try and check out before paying. This can be your chance to gauge the Steampunk scene, have a good time and increase your jewelry collection. Some of the best known cons worlwide are International Steampunk City (Waltham, USA), Oamaru Steampunk Festival (Oamaru, New Zealand), Steampunks World Fair (USA), SteamCon (USA), Teslacon (Washington, USA), The Asylum (Lincoln, England), Victoria Steam Expo (Victoria, Canada), World Steam Expo (Deerborn, USA), etc.
Keep your eyes wide open and you will find Steampunk jewelry in cons sooner or later!
Do you have any additional tip for those wondering how and where to purchase Steampunk jewelry? Leave a comment and share your knowledge! And naturally do not miss this chance to search for inspiration at our catalogue of artisan Steampunk fine jewelry… 😉