Costume Jewellery – Past and Present

Costume jewellery serves many purposes. It can be beautiful, stylish and an object that both the wearer and those who see it will enjoy. It can also complement a woman’s outfit and add a dash of romance and excitement to what she is wearing.

There has been jewellery for almost as long as there have been people, and this kind of ornament has been popular for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians wore it both in life and when buried in their tombs. It can be traced back through the Greek and Roman times to the beginnings of human history. Very early on, jewellery often served a dual purpose of fastening clothes and also displaying wealth. Museums often have displays of ancient jewellery and give accounts of how it was made or the purpose for which it was used. The pervasive presence of jewellery throughout history speaks to the human desire for something new and beautiful to demonstrate one’s sense of style.

While jewellery has always existed, it was only about 75 or 80 years ago that what is now called costume jewellery began to be made and worn. Very old jewellery is called antique, but there is virtually no difference between it and more modern creations.

Jewellery has been popular through the ages, including the era called Elizabethan England. In the 16th century, the art of gem cutting did not include the complex faceted cuts that are available today, but many precious and semi-precious stones were used. Hand-carved cameos were popular, and a lot of gold work was done. It was in the late 1500s that women no longer covered their hair and ears with enveloping headwear and began to wear earrings. Some began to pierce their ears to accommodate one type.

During most of the 18th and early 19th centuries, jewellery is referred to as Georgian because four King Georges ruled Great Britain during those years. Then all jewellery was made by hand and very often encompassed nature designs with flowers, leaves, birds and insects. Many pieces were enhanced with diamonds or other gemstones. This jewellery is very popular and is in demand by collectors all over the world.

What we today call Victorian jewellery was made and sold during the period of 1837-1900. It appropriately began with the coronation of Queen Victoria in 1837. The jewellery business flourished during her reign. She was reputed to love necklaces, rings and other items and to have influenced others to have similar feelings. It was also during her reign that the middle class grew and more men achieved success in business and could afford lavish gifts for their wives. Toward the end of the Victorian era of jewellery, the Art Nouveau style began in 1890 and ran until 1915. That was followed by the Edwardian style from 1901 until 1914 and Art Deco jewellery from 1920 until 1935.

At the present time, in what we might call the modern era for jewellery, brooches, necklaces, pins, rings and other such items have become more affordable. Many people, both men and women, have a collection of pieces they have accumulated. Currently the most popular types of jewellery include: necklaces, bracelets, clip on earrings, pierced earrings, brooches, hair clips and scarf rings.

When a customer enters a jewellery store, there are an almost overwhelming number of choices and a wide variety of prices. There is truly something suitable for every pocketbook. For those who don’t wish to spend a significant amount of money, earrings are a popular choice. Both clip on earrings and those for pierced ears are excellent gifts, depending on the type worn by the person who will receive them. Three popular gift items are pearl clip on earrings, semi-precious gemstone clip on earrings and Swarovski crystal clip on earrings. All three types are the classic clip on earrings that so many women enjoy.

When you are ready to make a jewellery purchase, it is important first of all to determine what the recipient would most enjoy receiving. You will also need to determine how much money you can afford to spend. Then you are ready to go shopping. Quality costume jewellery is like other quality products. It is important to consider only items that are fashionable and express a vibrant style. There are many aspects to the story of costume jewellery. Its history, the many people who have been influenced by it and the great variety that is available today. It is a fascinating story.

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