Interesting tidbits about costume jewelry

Also known as Fashion Jewelry, it was originally made of inexpensive materials, which included simulated gemstones as rhinestones or Lucite. With the passage of time, however, materials used have included high end crystals, cubic zirconium simulated diamonds, and semiprecious stones. These materials are many times set in pewter, nickel, brass, and silver.
Although costume jewelry came into focus early in the 20th century, there are at least three periods that define the characteristics that were common at the time.

  • Art Deco Period– 1920s to 1930s

    Coco Channel is credited with introducing costume jewelry which was meant to compliment the costume; the Art Deco movement started its descent with the Great Depression, and the start of World War II. Some characteristics of the jewelry of this period included harshly geometric and symmetrical themes, long pendants, bangle bracelets, and elaborate accessory items like cigarette cases and holders.

  • Retro Period– 1935 to 1950

    In this period, the artisan aspect moved away towards mass production. The use of plastic was introduced over natural materials and the American look became more prevalent given that many designers came from Europe to escape the poor economic conditions that Europe was struggling with.

  • Art Modern Period– 1945 to 1960

    After the second Word War, costume jewelry became more traditional in its design. The styles of the 1950s and 1960s had an influencing effect on the look of the jewelry produced at the time. The newer look included more lavish and bolder lines, large, chunky pieces, like charm bracelets and pins. This gave way to “Body Jewelry”.

What Makes Costume Jewelry Interesting?

Most people have a taste for costume jewelry, whether they choose to wear it or not. Some may like the idea of keeping it as an heirloom, and to pass it from one generation to the next. Even though in the mind of some, jewelry can be perceived as expensive, that is not necessarily so. Many pieces exist that are affordable to just about all levels of society. Luckily fashion jewelry is available from so many outlets, and competition is so great, that pricing is kept at very affordable levels. When it comes to selecting the specific piece of jewelry that one is interested in, there are many factors that influence the selection: Gender, for one, determines the specific piece, although many pieces can be worn by either men or women. Age too is a guide to find that special piece for a potential wearer: a necklace with large pearls would probably not often be seen on a high school teen. Likewise, a large pendant in the shape of a political image would probably look out of place on a well groomed gentleman.

Be that as it may, there is definitely a large range of combinations that can be made with the right selection, and the right selection is best made by the ultimate wearer, or someone intimately close to that wearer.  A specific event, such as a birthday or a wedding, or a graduation, is in many cases a key determinant in making that selection.

What is the right selection?

Selecting the right piece of jewelry is definitely a big, expansive topic, but could probably be narrowed if one considers that we all have different tastes. Depending on the type of person we are, the selection could range from something simple and restrained to something extravagant and ostentatious. Identifying the best selection will normally take careful thought and probably a bit of time. Another consideration will be the budget available to the buyer. Not all have the ability to obtain any piece if money comes into play.

So what’s a starting point?

A starting point can easily be the examination of different catalogs where jewelry is advertised. Most advertisers make it a point of displaying their merchandise in the best possible light. A lot of people are naturally be attracted to certain styles and of course, most people have an awareness of their financial capacity. But this is only a starting point. Today, the ability of merchants to promote a product, jewelry included, is widespread. Changing technologies have greatly advanced the potential for sellers to advertise and sell their wares. And of course, Google seems to be the biggest promotion tool; a simple search for jewelry will produce innumerable suggestions. Add to that search engines as Bing, Yahoo,, and many others. Starting many not be an issue, rather, knowing when or where to stop.

And, is there a suggestion in all of this?

Even though this article is meant to be somewhat informative, the hope is that it will generate enough interest to create a discussion. I would love to hear from readers whether there is interest in expanding on the topic. I for one wouldn’t mind learning from those with more experience that I have. If anything, my suggestion would be that you leave a comment, or that you make your own suggestion abut the focus that this discussion ought to take.  In the meantime, please take a look at the question as to what makes jewelry appealing, and add your own opinion as you see fit. 

Please leave me a note, if this topic is of interest to you, or if you care to add any comment at all.

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