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History of Costume Jewellery

Updated: Jun 27

Today, costume jewellery is an inexpensive type of jewellery that is made out of a variety of materials.

Costume jewellery has been around for centuries and has been used by people all over the globe.

The history of costume jewellery can be traced back to ancient times.

In ancient times, people wore jewellery as a way to demonstrate their social status & wealth. Costume jewellery has been used to demonstrate social status throughout history due to its inexpensive nature.

Jewellery has been an important part of human culture for thousands of years.

It can be seen as a symbol of status and power, but it is also an expression of one’s personality. It can also be used to show off one's personal style or fashion sense.

The term costume jewellery was first coined in the 18th century and the term has been used to describe all kinds of decorative pieces made from non-precious materials such as plastic, glass, wood, and clay.

Costume jewellery became popular in the 19th century because it was affordable and easy to produce with new technologies such as the invention of melds and casting machines.

In the 18th century, women would wear imitation pearls to indicate they were wealthy enough to afford real pearls but couldn't afford diamonds which were expensive at the time.

It was during the 18th century that jewellers began making pieces with glass. This proved to be very affordable, aside from attractive. (See our Blog post

In the 19th century, costume jewellery made of semi-precious material came into the market. These were far more affordable and more women were able to use this type of jewellery as part of their adornment.

This affordability gave common people the chance to own costume jewellery.

However, the real golden era for costume jewellery began in the middle of the 20th century.

The new middle class wanted beautiful, but affordable jewellery.

The demand for jewellery of this type coincided with the machine age and the industrial revolution.

The revolution made the production of carefully executed replicas of admired heirloom pieces possible.

As the class structure changed, so did measures of real wealth.

Women found that they could own a small piece of costume jewellery which was affordable and complemented their own style and afforded them the opportunity to be able to wear such pieces whereas in the past they would not have been able to adorn themselves with precious stones.

The average lady could acquire and wear a considerable amount of this mass-produced jewellery that was both affordable and stylish.

In many instances, high-end fashion jewellery has achieved a "collectible" status and increased value over time.

The history of Costume Jewellery is a long and rich one. From the ancient Egyptians to the Romans, jewellers have been creating pieces of jewellery for people to wear. The following photographs are some examples of the types of jewellery our ancient antecedents were wearing and the process of making jewellery in ancient times was documented.

Evidently, costume jewellery has been in existence for as long as humans have. There has been a need for women to adorn themselves throughout the ages and it is notable that jewellery design hasn't really changed that much.

In essence the idea of the elaborate neck piece, or elegant wrist wear and pendant inspired earrings are still a part of our jewellery design today.

The materials have become ever more accessible to us today and most, if not all people, have access to some form of costume jewellery.

Whether it's an elegant piece for evening wear, or a Boho inspired necklace, earrings or necklace, there are no limits to the designs available and yet to be created.

If you love sparkle, you'll find it.

If you love strong colours, they are everywhere.

If you love the simple, feminine look, it's always available.

There's a world of jewellery available to all tastes and preferences. You can find anything you want online, there's always something available to suit your taste.

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