Costume jewelry

Costume jewelry (also called fashion jewelry, junk jewelry, fake jewelry, or fallalery) is jewelry that is made of less valuable materials including base metals, glass, plastic, and synthetic stones, in place of more valuable materials such as precious metals and gems. Costume jewelry is usually inexpensive, and often flashy. Its main use is in fashion, as opposed to "real" (fine) jewelry which may be regarded primarily as collectibles, keepsakes, or investments.


Originally, costume or fashion jewelry was made of inexpensive simulated gemstones, such as rhinestones or lucite, set in pewter,silver, nickel or brass. Modern costume jewelry incorporates a wide range of materials. High end crystals, CZs or cubic zirconia simulated diamonds, and some semi-precious stones are used in place of precious stones. Metals include gold- or silver-plated brass, and sometimes vermeil or sterling silver. Lower-priced jewelry may still use gold plating over pewter, nickel or other metals; items made in countries outside the United States may contain lead. Some pieces incorporate plastic, acrylic, leather, or wood.


The term costume jewelry dates back to the early 20th century. It may reflect the use of the word "costume" to refer to what is now called an "outfit"; for example, a "handsome street costume of maroon brown velvet". Thus the jewelry worn with everyday fashion (costumes) grew to be known as "costume jewelry." Another theory is that the term refers to the jewelry worn in theatrical productions.


Costume jewelry has been part of culture since almost 300 years. During the 1700s cheap jewelry made with glass started getting made. After almost a century in the 1800s costume jewelry made of semi precious material came into the market. The use of semi precious material made the jewelry available in the hands of the common people. But the real golden era for the costume jewelry started in 1930s when rhinestone became popular in the European market and costume jewelry using rhinestone as the material came in demand. Costume jewelry was further made popular by various designers in the mid 19th century.

Coco Chanel greatly popularized the use of faux jewelry in her years as a fashion designer, bringing costume jewelry to life with gold and faux pearls.

Kenneth Jay Lane has since the 1960s been known for creating unique pieces for Jackie Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor, Diana Vreeland, and Audrey Hepburn. He is probably best-known for his three-strand faux pearl necklace worn by Barbara Bush to her husband's inaugural ball.

In many instances, high-end fashion jewelry has achieved a "collectible" status, and increases in value over time. There is a substantial secondary market for vintage fashion jewelry.

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