Costume jewellery has been around for many years and was originally designed to be a type of cheap, disposable jewellery. They were not precious heirloom pieces to be handed down through generations but more an embellishment to a new outfit that could easily be replaced as current fashions changed. The jewellery was made of inexpensive materials; plated metals and imitation or semi-precious gems. However, as the trends for costume jewellery increased, it did in fact become an art form of its own with highly skilled, stylish and innovative designs for a fraction of the cost of fine jewellery.
Costume jewellery comes in many different settings. The ‘invisible’ setting is considered the most sophisticated and was developed by the fine jeweller Alfred Philippe who originally worked for the highly prestigious Van Cleef and Arpels before moving to Trifari, a leading costume jewellery company in New York. The small faux stones are set so closely together than they give the appearance of one large, carved stone providing excellent imitations of precious jewellery.
‘Poured glass’ was another innovative method used; crushed glass was heated and then poured into moulds, giving dramatic results, popular with the likes of Chanel. The ancient technique of enamelling was also put to good use in costume jewellery, with powdered coloured glass or clear glass with pigments added being fired onto a metal surface, although this did create very fragile items. The cheapest method of all was gluing, which generally produced the most affordable costume jewellery available.
Costume jewellery can always be found in our Antiques and Collectables auctions, exciting lots delicately mixed between our precious stones. In auctions all over the land the interest, excitement and consequently demand for “costume” is on the increase.
Senior Valuer Michael Dowse
For more information or if you have similar items, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website