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Costume Jewelry

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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Pearl and Rhinestone Costume Jewelry
Mar 29, 10:00 AM EDT
Pearl and Rhinestone Costume Jewelry
by Eldred's
Est: $25- $75
$250 Bids
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Silver Tone Costume Earrings & Necklace
Mar 29, 10:00 AM EDT
Silver Tone Costume Earrings & Necklace
by Eldred's
Est: $25- $50
$250 Bids
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Rhinestone Bracelets & Earrings
Mar 29, 10:00 AM EDT
Rhinestone Bracelets & Earrings
by Eldred's
Est: $25- $75
$250 Bids
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Gold Tone Costume Jewelry
Mar 29, 10:00 AM EDT
Gold Tone Costume Jewelry
by Eldred's
Est: $25- $75
$250 Bids
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Christmas Holiday Costume Jewelry
Mar 29, 10:00 AM EDT
Christmas Holiday Costume Jewelry
by Eldred's
Est: $25- $50
$250 Bids
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Rhinestone Bracelets & Earrings
Mar 29, 10:00 AM EDT
Rhinestone Bracelets & Earrings
by Eldred's
Est: $25- $75
$250 Bids
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Gold Tone Costume Jewelry
Mar 29, 10:00 AM EDT
Gold Tone Costume Jewelry
by Eldred's
Est: $25- $75
$250 Bids
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Pearl and Rhinestone Costume Jewelry
Mar 29, 10:00 AM EDT
Pearl and Rhinestone Costume Jewelry
by Eldred's
Est: $25- $75
$250 Bids
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Christmas Holiday Costume Jewelry
Mar 29, 10:00 AM EDT
Christmas Holiday Costume Jewelry
by Eldred's
Est: $25- $50
$250 Bids
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Silver Tone Costume Earrings & Necklace
Mar 29, 10:00 AM EDT
Silver Tone Costume Earrings & Necklace
by Eldred's
Est: $25- $50
$250 Bids
bp parity badge
Rhinestone Bracelets & Earrings
Mar 29, 10:00 AM EDT
Rhinestone Bracelets & Earrings
by Eldred's
Est: $25- $75
$250 Bids
bp parity badge
Gold Tone Costume Jewelry
Mar 29, 10:00 AM EDT
Gold Tone Costume Jewelry
by Eldred's
Est: $25- $75
$250 Bids
bp parity badge
Pearl and Rhinestone Costume Jewelry
Mar 29, 10:00 AM EDT
Pearl and Rhinestone Costume Jewelry
by Eldred's
Est: $25- $75
$250 Bids
bp parity badge
Christmas Holiday Costume Jewelry
Mar 29, 10:00 AM EDT
Christmas Holiday Costume Jewelry
by Eldred's
Est: $25- $50
$250 Bids
bp parity badge
Silver Tone Costume Earrings & Necklace
Mar 29, 10:00 AM EDT
Silver Tone Costume Earrings & Necklace
by Eldred's
Est: $25- $50
$250 Bids
bp parity badge
Gold Tone Costume Jewelry
Mar 29, 10:00 AM EDT
Gold Tone Costume Jewelry
by Eldred's
Est: $25- $75
$250 Bids
bp parity badge
Christmas Holiday Costume Jewelry
Mar 29, 10:00 AM EDT
Christmas Holiday Costume Jewelry
by Eldred's
Est: $25- $50
$250 Bids
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Silver Tone Costume Earrings & Necklace
Mar 29, 10:00 AM EDT
Silver Tone Costume Earrings & Necklace
by Eldred's
Est: $25- $50
$250 Bids
Box Lot of Miscellaneous Costume Jewelry
Aug 11, 2:15 PM EDT
Box Lot of Miscellaneous Costume Jewelry
by Stout Auctions Toy and Train Specialists
Est: $20- $40
$1000 Bids
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Rhinestone Bracelets & Earrings
Mar 29, 10:00 AM EDT
Rhinestone Bracelets & Earrings
by Eldred's
Est: $25- $75
$250 Bids
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Pearl and Rhinestone Costume Jewelry
Mar 29, 10:00 AM EDT
Pearl and Rhinestone Costume Jewelry
by Eldred's
Est: $25- $75
$250 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Costume Jewelry


Eldred's

Eldred's

Stout Auctions Toy and Train Specialists

Stout Auctions Toy and Train Specialists