What’s costume jewelry?

A little background on custume jewelry

The term “Costume Jewelry” started in the in the early 20th century, when it was used to compliment outfits while the more costly and precious “real jewelry” was left at home. Costume jewelry is usually made out of base metals, glass, and synthetic stones so it is inexpensive. In most cases, it is very flashy. Many stars and political figures have contributed to the rise in popularity of costume jewelry. These stars include Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Coco Channel, and Jackie Kennedy Onassis. Costume jewelry is said to have gotten its name from its place in theater productions. Today, it is a common replacement for jewelry made from precious metals and stones. Often times, the super wealthy will have replicas of their “real” jewels made into costume jewelry. They wear the fakes in place of the real items for security, both for themselves and for the jewelry. There are many different styles and types of costume jewelry, of course…the more real it looks, the more it costs. Everything from pearls to “diamond” rings can be found in costume jewelry as well as handmade jewelry. It is also very common for brides today to wear costume jewelry at their weddings in the form of pearl necklaces, sapphires, and diamond tiaras. It allows for a highly glamorous appearance without breaking the budget. Another way to have something very unique for a wedding is also wearing Handmade jewelry crafted by a skilled artisan. Costume jewelry can be handmade or mass produced.

     Probably the biggest name in costume jewelry is Kenneth Lane, who has designed jewelry for the Duchess of Windsor and Barbara Bush. Costume jewelry can be found pretty much anywhere, including jewelry boutiques and chain stores alike. The internet, of course, is a huge source to purchase costume jewelry without leaving the comfort of your home. Some costume jewelry is even plated with real gold and sterling silver to lend a more authentic appearance. Laboratory created stones are also sometimes used in the more valuable pieces. These pieces are usually passed down through generations much like its much more costly cousin. Like most things, if it is well taken care of, quality costume jewelry’s value does go up with time. There are many types of costume jewelry, including “Victorian”, “Classic”, and “Contemporary”. Older jewelry is referred to as “Estate Jewelry” or “Vintage Jewelry”, which usually leads to a higher selling price in the end. Not all costume jewelry is made from fake materials. Sometimes it is just made from less precious stones and is plated with precious metals instead of being made from them. This technique for making the jewelry not only makes it look real, it also makes it more valuable from an investment standpoint. A lot of jewelry made with birthstones is considered costume jewelry ever since the change from precious gemstones to semi-precious gem stones was made by the society that controls the sale of gemstones. If you care to do a little research, you may find that your birthstone was originally considered to be something very different than it is considered today. For example, the birthstone for August is currently the peridot, which is a grass green semi-precious stone. Originally, the birthstone for August was the ruby, which is far more rare and valuable than the peridot. I sure do like some costume jewerly. These are the first pieces of jewelry that I bought on my own 🙂
Do you like costume jewelry? where do you wear them to go?


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