The History of Costume Jewelry

Costume jewelry has a more extensive history than some people might think. It can be found in history as early as 300 years ago. The history of costume jewelry is generally divided into before and after World War II.

Before World War II

Prior to World War II, costume jewelry was predominantly worn by people who have few other options when it came to buying jewelry. It was made of materials such as semi-precious stones and inexpensive glass.

Before the war, it was usually regarded solely for a poorer class of people. Most people of wealth would snub the idea of wearing anything other than fine jewelry. When the war began, production of costume jewelry slowed because many of the materials that were used to make it could also be used in weapons. The materials were more valuable in the war than on the wrist and necks of the poor.

After World War II

After the war ended, the production of costume jewelry increased. There was a big chance in perception of the jewelry though. It was not just for the poor. Many wealthy people were now viewing it as a great way to complement their styles.

The popularity of costume jewelry was given a boost when designers began to incorporate pieces into their designs. Designers such as Chanel and Dior would use it in both their high and low end designed pieces.

A great boost to costume jewelry came from Hollywood. Actresses such as Bette Davis and Elizabeth Taylor could be seen in movies wearing the inexpensive pieces while portraying a life of glamour on the screen. For many women, this was enough to make wearing costume jewelry a good choice.

Costume jewelry was no longer regarded as “poor people” wear. This still holds true today. Many designers and jewelers make available a wide range of costume jewelry to customers on both ends of the financial spectrum.