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Costume Jewelry - General

Before the 20th century, women wore jewelry made of precious and semi-precious stones largely to show off the wealth of their husbands. The term “costume jewelry,” born in the 1920s, introduced a significant change in that way of thinking. New non-precious materials became more widely available with industrialization, and women began to wear jewelry as a means of expressing themselves creatively and stylishly.

The concept of fashionable costume jewelry truly took off when Coco Chanel introduced bold “statement” accessories in the late 1920s. The “Golden Age” of costume jewelry took place from the late ‘30s to mid ‘50s. Bakelite, a hard plastic material invented in 1907, became popular in the ‘30s and ‘40s as an inexpensive material for beads and bangles.

In 1941, Pell Jewelry Company was founded, and its costume jewelry products were sold in lower-end department stores like Sears and J.C. Penney. Then, in the late ‘40s, high-end designers like Dior started creating costume jewelry pieces, finally able to creatively steer away from restrictive fine jewelry and appeal to a wider audience with more affordable pieces. In the ‘50s, there was a high demand for “parures,” or sets of at least three matching pieces.


Quick Facts

  • While widely popularized in the 1930s, the concept of costume jewelry has actually been around since the 17th century, when jewelers started making pieces out of inexpensive glass
  • Makes of costume jewelry didn’t intend for pieces to be passed down through the generations – it was considered fashionable for a short time and a woman would by a new piece when she bought a new outfit
  • Kenneth Jay Lane was widely known in the 1960s for creating faux jewelry for Jackie Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor, and Audrey Hepburn

Recommended Items at Auction

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Costume jewellery-necklace
Apr 25, 11:00 AM CEST
Costume jewellery-necklace
by Henry's Auktionshaus
Est: €110- €440
€801 Bid
FASHION JEWELRY
Jan 17, 1:00 PM CST
FASHION JEWELRY
by Col. Christie Hatman, Auctioneer
Est: $0- $0
$101 Bid
COLLECTION OF COSTUME JEWELRY EAGLE PINS
May 07, 10:00 AM EDT
COLLECTION OF COSTUME JEWELRY EAGLE PINS
by Hindman
Est: $500- $700
$2501 Bid
FASHION JEWELRY NECKLACE
Jan 16, 1:00 PM CST
FASHION JEWELRY NECKLACE
by Col. Christie Hatman, Auctioneer
Est: $0- $0
$101 Bid
Carnelian & Onyx Beaded Costume Jewelry Necklace
May 07, 12:00 PM EDT
Carnelian & Onyx Beaded Costume Jewelry Necklace
by Akiba Galleries
Est: $25- $250
$251 Bid
Gold Tone Costume Necklaces (14)
Apr 26, 8:30 AM EDT
Gold Tone Costume Necklaces (14)
by Keystone Auctions LLC
Est: $25- $75
$251 Bid
A SILVER COSTUME PEARL NECKLACE. 32 grams. Largest 38 cm long.
Apr 24, 10:00 AM BST
A SILVER COSTUME PEARL NECKLACE. 32 grams. Largest 38 cm long.
by Hannam's Auctioneers
Est: £20- £30
£100 Bids
Large Lot of Costume Necklaces
Apr 26, 8:30 AM EDT
Large Lot of Costume Necklaces
by Keystone Auctions LLC
Est: $25- $125
$250 Bids
Vintage Bangle Bracelets (15+)
Apr 26, 8:30 AM EDT
Vintage Bangle Bracelets (15+)
by Keystone Auctions LLC
Est: $25- $75
$250 Bids
Silver Tone & Gold Tone Costume Bracelets
Apr 26, 8:30 AM EDT
Silver Tone & Gold Tone Costume Bracelets
by Keystone Auctions LLC
Est: $25- $75
$250 Bids
Radiant cut gemstone fashion jewelry ring.Size: 8.756.97 ct
Apr 30, 2:00 PM PDT
Radiant cut gemstone fashion jewelry ring.Size: 8.756.97 ct
by Clars Auctions
Est: $600- $900
$3000 Bids
Gemstone fashion jewelry band ring.Size: 6.252.24 ct
Apr 30, 2:00 PM PDT
Gemstone fashion jewelry band ring.Size: 6.252.24 ct
by Clars Auctions
Est: $400- $600
$2000 Bids
Gemstone fashion jewelry ring.Size: 6.75Main stone 0.55"h x 0.43"w (1.4 x 1.1 cm)
Apr 30, 2:00 PM PDT
Gemstone fashion jewelry ring.Size: 6.75Main stone 0.55"h x 0.43"w (1.4 x 1.1 cm)
by Clars Auctions
Est: $400- $600
$2000 Bids
Oval cut ruby-red gemstone fashion jewelry ring.Size: 7.52.51 ct
Apr 30, 2:00 PM PDT
Oval cut ruby-red gemstone fashion jewelry ring.Size: 7.52.51 ct
by Clars Auctions
Est: $500- $900
$2500 Bids
BABYLONE PARIS costume jewellery-necklace
Apr 26, 12:00 PM CEST
BABYLONE PARIS costume jewellery-necklace
by Henry's Auktionshaus
Est: €50- €200
€400 Bids
Silver Tone Costume Necklaces (16)
Apr 26, 8:30 AM EDT
Silver Tone Costume Necklaces (16)
by Keystone Auctions LLC
Est: $25- $75
$250 Bids
Costume Jewelry Necklaces (20)
Apr 26, 8:30 AM EDT
Costume Jewelry Necklaces (20)
by Keystone Auctions LLC
Est: $25- $125
$250 Bids
Emerald cut gemstone fashion jewelry ring.Size: 9.52.6.5 ct
Apr 30, 2:00 PM PDT
Emerald cut gemstone fashion jewelry ring.Size: 9.52.6.5 ct
by Clars Auctions
Est: $400- $600
$2000 Bids
Gemstone fashion jewelry band ring.Size 7
Apr 30, 2:00 PM PDT
Gemstone fashion jewelry band ring.Size 7
by Clars Auctions
Est: $400- $600
$2000 Bids
Double Strand Chunky Intertwined Hoop Pendant, 34", Silver Tone, Signed Treat NL
May 12, 6:00 PM EDT
Double Strand Chunky Intertwined Hoop Pendant, 34", Silver Tone, Signed Treat NL
by Maria's Vintage & Estate Treasures
Est: $40- $60
$300 Bids
Vintage Costume Warrior Necklace, 32", Unisex, Turquoise & Bone Colored Beads, Black Suede
May 12, 6:00 PM EDT
Vintage Costume Warrior Necklace, 32", Unisex, Turquoise & Bone Colored Beads, Black Suede
by Maria's Vintage & Estate Treasures
Est: $40- $60
$300 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Costume Jewelry - General


Col. Christie Hatman, Auctioneer

Col. Christie Hatman, Auctioneer

Keystone Auctions LLC

Keystone Auctions LLC

Lion and Unicorn

Lion and Unicorn

Clars Auctions

Clars Auctions