Its Time To Ball On A Budget

Get your baskets ready.

I’ve always questioned wether buying designer clothes, shoes or jewellery was actually worth the investment, especially seeing as you can usually get similar items at much lower prices.


But as a consumer, how do you know if you’re actually getting good quality items for a fair price? Does buying designer automatically mean buying better? What happens if you have champagne taste on a lemonade budget?

For those of us who sort price high to low when shopping online knowing that our current accounts will barely support the sale, this is for you.

With that, I introduce a new segment of this blog: Ball On A Budget where I’ll be trudging through the world of designer jewels, crying because I can’t afford any of it and then hunting down the next best thing for the next best price. 

Gold-tone and enamel hoop earrings – £100

I really like these earrings, but not for £100. Lets break it down:

“Gold-tone” = Not gold. If the item doesn’t state what purity the gold is (9K, 14K, 18K, etc.) and how its applied (vermeil, plated, filled, etc.) chances are the item isn’t going to have any gold content. So here we have gold coloured beads for £100. And over here, we have 500 gold coloured beads for £1.99. You see where I’m going with this.

“Enamel” = Glass attached to a metal or hard surface. Not precious, not natural, not expensive. 

It isn’t stated what the setting (the pin that goes in your ear and the hoop that the beads are strung on) is made of so I would assume that’s not gold either.

Now if these hoops were made with 9K gold or even plated with 14K gold, the £100 price point would make sense. But I still like them and I can’t get them out of my head.

Same Vibe: ASOS Lot less money, lot less substance. I’d be afraid to get them wet. Still cute though.


Similar Vibe: CECILE COHEN An elegant two tone, well thought through design that screams of regality.


The Remix: COVET

 Same ingredients. Different cake. A much more playful cake.


*Item is listed in Euros at €29.

Out of the four, based on design alone, Roxanne Assoulin wins the prize. She manages to make a very simple concept into something loud and feminine; cheeky yet refined. But frankly this is way out of budget for a few pieces of rainbow glass.

Trusty ASOS comes through with a strikingly similar design which looks as though it probably took £94 less time to create but I’m here for it. For the price of two meal-deals you could have these delivered straight to your door, just in time for your next quarantine video chat.

Getting a good deal that suits you is easy when you have all of the information.

Cecile Cohen conquers the affordable range with her titanium, blue and gold design. The design is delicately eye-catching and at that price? Consider me caught.

“Gold/Fiesta” is an accurate description for these hoops by Covet. They have the same elements as the others (rainbow and gold beads) just arranged in a different way. The overall design enhances the playfulness of the materials used in a way that the other designs don’t.

THE VERDICT: Cecile Cohen gets my money, followed by ASOS once those hoops go on sale. Save the "Gold/Fiesta" as a gift idea on Pinterest.

What’s in a name?

Let me explain...

For those unfamiliar with jewellery industry lingo, the name of this blog may seem a bit left field. The same probably goes for those in the trade as well.

The most vital tool in any gemmologist/jewellers arsenal is the loupe. You know the tiny magnifying glass they always show bad guys using in films when they examine their stolen diamonds? That thing.

The standard magnification for gemmological loupes is ten times magnification or 10x for short. And hence, The Ten Times. You can of course get loupes with stronger magnifications (20x, 50x, etc.) but 10x magnification is the the most commonly used.

Yes, I have multiple loupes. Yes, I have a favourite. And no, I have not named them. Yet.

Whenever I grade an item of jewellery or a gemstone the loupe is always the first tool I grab, and on some occasions, the only tool I use. Pretty much all of the photos you will see on this blog, especially the close-ups of the gemstones, were taken with an iPhone and a loupe. 

It doesn't matter how strong the magnification is. If you don't know what you're looking for, you'll never find it.

An Unofficial Record of Progress.

This will be interesting.

It’s 2020 and I’ve semi got my life together. This blog will act as a way for me to:

  • Learn how to blog.
  • Improve my SEO writing.
  • Attempt coding (that gets a yikes from me).
  • Comment on the current state of race relations within the diamond and jewellery industry, with a focus on those with African or Caribbean heritage.

And of course, I’ll be sharing photos, videos and thoughts on things I experience whilst navigating the world of gems and jewellery.

And on that note, I’ve already stumbled on the first hurdle and as a result the ‘Homepage’ is looking more like a homeless shelter. Bear with.

postEnjoy this damp sunset. Inspiring.