Costume Jewelry Overview

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What is Costume Jewelry?

Costume jewelry is fun, timeless, and expressive.

Pieces defined as “Costume jewelry” are eye-catching pieces not limited by the use of precious metals and expensive materials. The term reflects the use of the word “costume” to refer to what is now called an “outfit”.

Costume jewelry has to be attractive, vibrant, bold, and elegant. Some say that the most effective costume jewelry resists the temptation to look real.

Costume Jewelry Crystal Necklace
Costume Jewelry Crystal Necklace

Development of Costume Jewelry

Fashion and jewelry are important ingredients of life.

The development of costume jewelry is inextricably linked with the history of clothing fashion, for it’s very purpose is to enhance the clothes that it accompanies, rather than to proclaim the wearer’s wealth or status.

The craft of costume jewelry originated not in the fine jewelry houses but in the fashion ateliers, where craftsmen used metal, paste, semi-precious stones, and glass. Glass was an important component of many decorative pieces and consequently the development of glass production was essential to the founding of the craft of beads in jewelry-making.

Many of the costume pieces designed during the costume jewelry hype of the 1920’s have become collector’s items, bringing prices up almost as high as gold and diamonds.

Camellia Gold Pearl Earrings
Camellia Gold Pearl Earrings

The huge popularity of costume jewelry in the 1930’s was due to many women wanting to imitate the glamour of movie stars. Ladies continued to buy costume jewelry as an inexpensive alternative to real jewelry into the twenty-first century.

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