Not all hair accessories are created equal and buying online can be tricky! Photos don't always accurately represent a piece AND many times, especially when purchasing very inexpensive pieces online, the photo isn't even of the actual piece! We have recently been jumping through hoops with Amazon trying to get manufacturers taken off their site who have stolen our designs AND even our photos! We have ordered several of these "cheap" versions of our pieces to see for ourselves and I can tell you that the quality of these pieces is absolutely horrible! This isn't to say that everything you order online (even at a bargain) is going to be poor quality but you do need to be careful. Whether you purchase from us or someone else, we want you to be aware of what to look for when purchasing your hair accessories online.
The main component of many hair accessories is rhinestones. What most people don't realize is that the quality of rhinestones can vary greatly and have a big impact and the look and sparkle of a piece. The main difference is going to be how the rhinestones is set.
Foil Back - The cheapest setting and the one that you will find in 90% of very inexpensive pieces online is a foil back rhinestones. A foil back rhinestones is not "set" in any type of metal setting but instead the back of the stone is painted with metallic paint and then glued on a piece of wire. Not only will you not get much sparkle out of this type of rhinestone but you will run the risk of the rhinestones falling off since they are simply glued to the piece.
Jewel Set - A jewel set rhinestone is set into a metal setting with prongs holding the rhinestone in place. While this rhinestone is typically a better quality than a foil back rhinestone, this type of setting has a solid metal back so no light can shine through and again, you won't get a lot of sparkle. This type of setting is also typically done with cheaper metal and there is more chance that your rhinestone will fall out.
Diamond Set - The best quality with the most sparkle and durability is a diamond set rhinestones. A diamond set rhinestone is typically going to be a higher quality glass and it is set just like a diamond, in a stronger metal setting with prongs holding the stone in place. Besides the quality of the actual stone AND the quality of the metal being much higher than either a foil back or jewel set rhinestones, a diamond set rhinestone also has an open back to the setting so that the light shines through and you get the most sparkle!
Another common component to many hair pieces is pearls. There are three main types of pearls that you will find when buying hair accessories.
Plastic - Just like with foil back rhinestones, 80% of inexpensive pieces online are going to be made with plastic pearls. Plastic pearls can look fine in photos but in person, can look cheap and lack any type of luster.
Glass - Glass pearls are going to be a much higher quality than plastic pearls and most will give you the look, feel and luster of real pearls.
Authentic Pearls - The best and highest quality pearls are going to be authentic pearls. There are two types of pearls, cultured and natural. Natural pearls are just that, found naturally from an oyster in nature and are going to be the most expensive. It is very unlikely that you will find an authentic natural pearl in any hair accessories, as they would be incredibly expensive to make. Cultured pearls are also made from the same process as a natural pearl but with a little help getting them started by placing a tiny bead in each oyster and then letting nature do the rest. Cultured pearls can be made in either freshwater or saltwater and are going to be the most expensive option so they are typically found only in higher end hair pieces.
The final component that you will typically find most hair pieces made from are crystals. Most pieces are going to be made from man made crystals.
Plastic - More times than not if a hairpiece is very inexpensive and has crystals, the crystals are going to be plastic. Again, like pearls...you can't tell this in photos but it is very obvious in person when a piece is made with plastic crystals. Imagine looking through a window made of glass versus a window made of plastic...the quality is going to be very obvious and any type of shine or sparkle is going to be non-existent.
Glass - Most high end hair pieces you will find are going to be made using glass crystals. Austrian crystals being the highest quality. You are going to get a lot of sparkle from an Austrian crystals and they can be made in a variety of shapes and colors.
Natural - Natural crystals are very rarely going to be used in hair accessories because of their more naturally cloudy nature. Although natural crystals are often more expensive, glass crystals are typically preferable since they are clearer and have more sparkle.
The final thing to look for when shopping for hair accessories is how it's made.
Machine Made - Many of the more inexpensive pieces online are going to be, at least partially, machine made.
Assembly Line - Even if a piece has the look of a "hand-made" piece, if it is very inexpensive, chances are that it is being done on an assembly line where the main objective is speed, not attention to detail. Most "hand-made" pieces that are inexpensive and typically come from China are not going to have the attention to detail that you are going to get from a 100% hand made piece.
Hand Made - Understandably, the most expensive hair pieces are going to be 100% hand made. There is going to be one craftsman dedicated to each piece making sure that the beading and wiring of the piece is secure and even throughout the piece. Hair pieces that are hand made, especially when there is a lot of beading and detail AND when the highest quality components are used are truly going to be a work of art and are going to be the most expensive.
We hope our tips have helped! There is nothing wrong with wanting to find the best value for your money but we want you to be educated when you are shopping online. If a piece is very inexpensive, there is typically a reason. Just the components (rhinestones, crystals & pearls) of most of our pieces cost much more than the entire cost of an inexpensive piece you will find online. Ask about the piece before you buy. Find out what type of rhinestones, pearls and crystals are used and how it is made. If you don't get an answer OR the answer is unclear...move on! If you are nervous about buying from someone, that is usually a good sign that this isn't who you should be buying from. You've spent a lot of time and money on creating the perfect wedding day look that represents your personal style and your headpiece should be the crowning glory...you deserve the best so just be smart and do your homework.
We're always here to help if you have questions or need anything! If you want to see the quality of our pieces in person before you buy...make sure and check out our Try Then Buy Program!