Fashion & Costume Jewelry

Costume Jewelry

Vintage costume jewelry has to be attractive, vibrant, bold, and elegant. The most effective costume jewelry resists the temptation to look real. 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.

Jewelry & Fashion

Fashion and jewelry are important ingredients of life. 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. [caption id="attachment_4507" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Chanel Gripoix Earrings Chanel Gripoix Earrings[/caption]

Costume Jewelry Production

The metal components of costume jewelry are made using two main methods - stamping and casting. Stamping is an older method that is more precise than casting, whereas casting is a process by which metal shapes are formed by pouring molten metal into a mold. For casting, stone moulds were originally hand-carved, but eventually these were replaced with clay moulds. Additionally, the most recent method now used is a wax mould made by centrifugal casting, also known as investment casting. Casting is used for both mass-production of components, as well as for the creation of limited edition pieces. There is, however, a distinct difference between costume jewelry made from mass-produced findings (stamped tin or alloy components such as chains sold by the meter, and stamped motifs for brooches, buttons, earrings and medallions and decorative filigrees) and that made from original, hand-crafted moulds. Namely, mass-produced findings inevitably produce jewelry with a standardized appearance. [caption id="attachment_6196" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Costume Jewelry Necklace Costume Jewelry Necklace[/caption] Notably, another more recent development is the injection moulding of plastics, which has changed not only the look but also the components of costume jewelry. Many of the factories that were originally involved in glass making have started to use this technique. Ever since glass (and metal) became more expensive these companies switched to plastics.

Costume Jewelry Techniques

Many manufacturers used the techniques of centrifugal casting and injection moulding of plastics to specialize in mass-produced findings and popular costume jewelry. A big number of these are based in Rhode Island (USA) which is known as the "production centre" of American costume jewelry. Centrifugal casting and injection moulding of plastics in costume jewelry is not linked specifically to fashion collections but is marketed to complement a season's general look. Another development that facilitated the development of a cheap jewelry industry is the introduction of gold-plating techniques. By the nineteenth century several firms based in Providence, Rhode Island, provided soldering, polishing and gilding techniques which were later employed by the costume jewelry industry. [caption id="attachment_5327" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Chanel Hoop Earrings Chanel Hoop Earrings[/caption]

Costume Jewelry Brands

Costume jewelry was made popular by various designers in the mid-20th century. Some of the most notable names that come to mind for vintage costume jewelry, including both high and low priced brands are Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli, Trifari, Christian Dior, Hermes, Hobé, Miriam Haskell, Monet, Iradj Moini, Kenneth Jay Lane, Yves Saint Laurent, Lawrence Vrba, and Valentino. The idea of costume jewelry is closely associated to fashion and thanks to such bond it has developed its unusual features, like the research on non-precious materials to sell the pieces at a price to enable its seasonal turnover and a continuous development, of the form to create new styles in line with the changes in trend. Today progressively more often, a costume jewelry piece may be more expensive than its real match.