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Posted May 25, 2020
| Cheappins | Learn About Lapel Pins
Are Lapel Pins Jewelry?
Yes, lapel pins are considered jewelry. They are decorative pieces of art worn on clothing. They may not be made out of solid gold or silver but they have a luster and a bling too them that draws attention. A woman’s diamond ring sparkles and shines and lapel pins can do the same.
People use the term jewelry because it means quality. Jewelry instinctively makes a person think of gold and silver, diamonds and rings and bracelets and necklaces. Each of these items enhance fashion, draws attention, and create perception – even jealousy.
Lapel pins are clearly fashionable, make a statement and there is a sort of bling to them all of which make them a perfect candidate to be called jewelry.
But what makes a quality lapel pin?
Is it the price?
Is it the design?
Is it the materials?
Or, is it the construction?
All of those things factor into a quality pin.
More often the cost of a lapel pin is based on the expenses of a business. If a business is run efficiently, overhead costs are low, and owners are not greedy they can price their product lower than others and still make a profit. An expensive lapel pin does not translate to quality just as a lower price does not translate to lessor quality. In the lapel pin world, most lapel pins are made the exact same way, but businesses charge differently because of business decisions rather than quality decisions.
Design is important in quality in that complicated or super detailed designs do not always produce well. What looks good on paper does not always translate well to metal.
Non lapel pin designers design in large scale because they can see the details. But those details have to be shrunk to 1 inch during production. When this happens the details get lost, blob together or just simply cannot be produced.
Design helps convey a message through creativity, through color, through merging of visual components, and incorporating branding. Good designers, capture all of these elements and create simple pins that are interesting, colorful or distinct, and clearly invite discussion around a lapel pin.
I will mention that design can also be in the eyes of the beholder. One good design to one, may not appeal to another. In this regard, design certainly factors into a quality lapel pin, but is not the ultimate determinant. A case in point is a committee driven decision. More often than not, if presented a design there will be a difference of opinion.
Lapel pins are made of a base metal such as brass, copper, or iron. Brass and copper are more expensive, iron is less expensive so that might be perceived as higher quality, but the reality is you cannot tell the difference once the pin is finished. Most pins get plated with a thin layer of gold or silver and once this is applied, the base metal almost become irrelevant.
Gold and silver plating certainly make a lapel pin appear jewelry quality, gives the pin more of a shine, and allows the pin to be polished. Gold is more expensive, but doesn’t change the overall quality of the pin. There is another sort of plating call dye metal plating which produces more of a cartoon effect on a lapel pin because of the black lines between each color. It is different, but not lesser quality.
The only other material included in pins is the enamel. There is soft enamel and hard enamel. The difference is not quality. It is preference. Hard enamel is hardened by heat then polished off smooth giving it a smooth finish. Soft enamel is air dried causing the enamel to settle with the metal ridges raised giving the pin a 3-dimensional look and feel.
Lapel pins are created by stamping a design into a thin piece of metal. The stamping process determines the depth of the cavity where the enamel is placed. If the depth is not deep enough then the finished process can lose some of its details. This would lessen the quality.
Another aspect of construction is the finishing which includes polishing. If the pin is not polished on the front, back and sides, you can see slight ridges particularly on the edge. This is Definity a quality issue.
One of the biggest quality issues in construction is the thickness of the metal. Thicker is always perceived has better quality. Standard lapel pins measure 1.5mm thick. The bigger the pin, the thicker the metal used. If you are willing to pay more you can request 2mm thick metal. This gives the pin substance and definitely higher quality, but it is not a common practice.
The term Lapel pin and brooch may be used interchangeably, but there is a distinct difference. A brooch is a type of pin attached to clothing just like lapel pins; however, the similarity ends there.
A brooch is a larger pin, horizontal in design and shape and more often made with a hinged pin and catch attachment system on the back. Brooches are typically more ornate, adorned with gemstones, and made with a combination of gold and silver – sometimes solid gold or silver. and often used to fasten clothing. Brooches are worn around the neckline, often as a mechanism to fasten clothing and are exclusively worn by women.
A lapel pin is typically flat and 2-dimensional, made mostly with enamel rather than gemstones. Lapel pins typically attach to clothing with a nail and clutch system on the back rather than the safety pin style of a brooch. Lapel pins are also worn on clothing, but today you find them attached to anything and everything including backpacks. One thing is still certain about lapel pins, they make a statement.
A brooch is always considered jewelry. A lapel pin may be considered jewelry. One clear distinction between a brooch and a lapel pin is where it is stored. A brooch will always be found in a woman’s jewelry box, a lapel often thrown in a drawer or box.
Interestingly, brooches have existed since the Bronze Age and have changed rapidly over the years becoming chronological indicators of history.
Lapel pins are always in style.
Because of the fact lapel pins are considered jewelry in their own way, make statements and really make a fashion statement they have remained in style for decades. Certainly, fades come and go, but lapel pins stay strong.
Quality is relative. Pins are made the same way regardless of which pin company you use. There are different types of pins, different processes, different tastes but little of that has to do with price.
Cheappins has built its reputation on providing quality pins for less. Our name may say cheap, but quality is still something we demand.