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The Differences Between Costume And Antique Jewellery
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There are not many differences between pieces of jewellery that we know as antique and pieces that we think of as being costume. If we think about something that is old we refer to it as being antique and basically pieces made before the 1930’s come under this category and fashion pieces made after 1930 called costume jewellery.

The fashion for costume jewellery began in the 1930 when fashions changed and women started to have more disposable money. The fashion revelation was just beginning and woman were demanding accessories to go with different prices at prices they could afford. These pieces were not now investments passed down through the family as heirlooms and only brought out on special occasions; these were to be worn daily. These were fashion pieces and new designs would be brought out with the changing fashion seasons and new pieces would be bought and old pieces discarded. These pieces of costume jewellery started to be very popular from the 1930’s

Imitation jewellery was produced as far back as the 1700’s and these pieces called paste. For many reasons the wealthy would have replicas made of these expensive jewellery crafted from precious metals and semi-precious beads. The art of making these imitation pieces and by the 1800’s and the growth of the wealth in the middle classes there were many pieces of jewellery created from base metals instead of gold and using semi-precious stones in thee designs instead of the precious gemstones.

This is when we saw rolled gold become popular and this is where a thin layer of gold placed over a base metal and this used in the place of the precious metal. These pieces are set with lovely semi-precious stones like Rose Quartz, Tigers Eye, Onyx, Jet, Amazonite and many more and these pieces were so much more affordable and could be seen being worn by the middle classes on a daily basis where before they may only have owned a few precious pieces that were only worn on special occasions and had generally been passed down through the family.

There are different ways to date the era that these handmade pieces were made, these are the type of material that they made from and this is one of the main ways to date the piece, the style will also give you a good idea when the pieces were made. Jewellery designs that reflect the fashions of the clothes and the styles and colours that were popular at the time. An example of this is that sterling silver became very popular between the 1920’s and the 1930’s so there were many pieces of costume jewellery that had been produced in the Art Deco style that was fashion in this metal and the semi-precious stones Black Onyx, Tigers Eye and Malachite were popular in the unique jewellery designs.

As time goes by and we get to the 1950’s gold has become the choice of women but because of the war this made this metal scarce and expensive so very thin sheets of gold bonded and this metal became known as vermeil and was used widely in pieces of fashion costume jewellery.

Today the pieces that we wear on a regular basis are generally made from the same materials it is just that the designs have changed. We still like to add semi-precious beads in handmade jewellery designs. The styles still follow what fashion of clothes being sold in the high street and we still like to change our pieces of semi-precious jewellery with each changing fashion season.


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