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Why Vintage Costume Jewellery

By Lorraine Evans
September 2005

The term Costume Jewellery can almost universally mean jewellery that is not made from precious stones. There exists great debate regarding the origins of the term, as well as the first producers of costume jewellery.

Some hail Coco Chanel as being the first to bring costume jewellery to the forefront, while others contend that costume jewellery as we recognize it today, was being produced in the late nineteenth century. What our grandmothers worn as inexpensive alternatives to fine jewellery, today has become one of the most collectable of collectables. From the simple to the outrageous there exists hundreds of genres to admire and wear.

Personal Preference
It all boils down in my opinion to personal taste and real eye appeal. Expense is out of the equation, be it expensive or cheap, if you like what you see and want that piece of jewellery I would buy it, although, I would always check the piece is still worth the value, excellent quality and all intact especially older jewellery. The decision is yours and yours only, do not worry about what others think, if you like it - buy it. I am a great believer in - everything comes from the heart and if something brings you joy, happiness, beauty and a feeling of being special go for it.

Fashion
Do you think Fashion is an important factor? It can be, however, in my personal view it is good to keep up with fashion but can be expensive, why not be an original and stand out, be bold and go for things you like and not what fashion dictates you should be like. Fashion is brilliant if you have the money and want to show off and make a statement I am a keen follower of fashion - as they say.
Great influence from Celebrities, Hollywood stars and top designers makes us follow what is hot and what is not. Fashions come and go, when you are an original you choose what is fashionable.

Quality
Yes definitely quality, a quality item can still be affordable. Jewellery manufacturers use different quality materials and quality in rhinestones is determined best by brilliance and clarity. The lead content and cut of Swarovski stones, for instance, makes them incredibly brilliant and clear. Good quality rhinestones and crystals can bring us sparkles like real diamonds, inferior ones are results of poor condition and are cloudier and less brilliant it depends what stones they used originally.

There is barely a jacket, cardigan, dress that is not festooned with glittering vintage costume jewellery on the catwalks of Paris and New York. The new-old look is one reason for the growing interest in vintage costume jewellery.

Vintage Costume Jewellery was not cheap either which was and in some cases still is produced by Elsa Schiaparelli, Coco Chanel, Vivienne Westwood and Yves St Laurent to name but a few, like their clothes, it was beyond their budget then and the new pieces produced today are still expensive. You can pick up a lovely piece of vintage jewellery by these designers for a lot less than the new designs.

In Europe costume jewellery has risen to the status of antiques. I think everyone agrees its all about condition, quality and personal taste.

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