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What is Costume Jewelry?

Jewlery and Jewelers

Costume jewelry is the jewelry that can complete an outfit without breaking the bank. This kind of jewelry is also known as fallalery, fake jewelry, junk jewelry, or fashion jewelry, and it became popular in the earlier half of the twentieth century. It is designed to not feature expensive stones and metals, but rather to decorate and ornament a fashionable outfit, or “costume.” It is disposable and often is designed to match one kind of outfits, and usually it only is in fashion for a few months.

What is Costume Jewelry?

The use of the word “costume” is not supposed to mean that these pieces are only meant for dressing up for costume parties; rather, is reflective of the origin of the inexpensive jewelry trend, when in the 1930s, outfits were called costumes.

The Great Depression totally redesigned the class structure of America, and with this new influx of inexpensive jewelry, women of nearly all socioeconomic classes were able to afford some small pieces of costume jewelry. Designers such as Coco Chanel of the Chanel fashion house played an important part of solidifying the costume jewelry trend. When the Great Depression hit the United States, fashion jewelry that was made out of rhinestones was down-graded to fit the new budget of American women, using glass to mimic the precious stones.

Today, most costume jewelry is made out of plastics, base metals, synthetic stones and gems, glass, and inexpensive string. Some styles feature leather and acrylic. The jewelry itself is often only plated with a precious metal, with the internal structure usually made of brass, vermeil, plastic, nickel, pewter, or sterling silver. It is even possible to buy materials for costume jewelry and make it at home yourself. However, you must be careful purchasing jewelry made outside of the United States since it could contain dangerous metals and materials such as lead.

Fine jewelry, unlike costume jewelry, features keepsake and collectible stones and can be regarded as an investment. The jewelry is designed to feature certain colors, shapes, sizes, and fashion trends. Some fashion jewelry is designed and manufactured in bulk and shipped throughout the world, while some is handmade and one of a kind.

Whatever the occasion or event, whether it is a fancy ball gown, or simply an everyday outfit, inexpensive costume jewelry can be a critical part of completing the look of an outfit. Since costume jewelry allows the wearer to have fun with fashion and accessories without spending too much money, it is possible to own an entire collection of inexpensive pieces that bring together many styles and trends.

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