A Historical Look at Fashion Jewelry

Fashion Jewelry is also known as costume jewelry and is a popular form of jewelry around Fashion Jewelrythe world.  Fashion Jewelry is made to complement a particular costume or garment and came into being in the 1930s, intended to be a cheap way of dressing up clothes and to be fashionable for a short period of time, outdate itself and then be repurchased to fit a new fashion style. Fashion Jewelry is mainly used in fashion, unlike fine jewelry which is regarded as collectibles, keepsakes or investments.  For these reasons, Fashion Jewelry is generally made of less valuable materials.

Fashion Jewelry in Different Historical Periods

  • The Art Deco movement (1920s-1930s) was intended to combine harsh mass-production with sensitive art and design. Coco Chanel introduced Fashion Jewelry in this period as a way of completing outfits. Once the Great Depression and World War Two came about the Art Deco Movement died. Characteristics of Fashion Jewelry in the Art Deco period were;
  • Harshly geometric and symmetrical lines
  • Long pendants, bangle bracelets, cocktail rings and elaborate accessory items such as cigarette cases and holders.

Between 1935 and 1950 there was the Retro period in which designers struggled once again with the art versus mass production dilemma. This dilemma was expressed by the combination of materials such as natural materials and plastics. This period was primarily made up of American-made jewelry which led to a distinct American look. Due to the war in Europe at this time many European jewelry firms were forced to shut down. A large number of European designers moved to the U.S. as the economy there was recovering. Characteristics of Fashion Jewelry in the Retro period are as follows;

  • Glamorous, elegant and sophisticated
  • A Hollywood flair to flowers, bows and sunburst designs
  • Military influence, ballerinas, moonstones and horse motifs
  • Bakelite and other plastic jewelry

Between 1945 and 1960, following the World War, there was the Art Modern period in which jewelry designs became more understated and traditional. The big, bold style of the Retro period went out of style and the tailored styles of the 1950s and 1960s replaced them. Characteristics of Fashion Jewelry in this period include;

  • Bold and lavish
  • Large, chunky bracelets, charm bracelets, jade, opal, citrine and topaz
  • Poodle pins, Christmas tree pins and other Christmas-themed jewelry
  • Rhinestones

Today, Fashion Jewelry continues to be reinvented every season and women greatly enjoy using pieces to pull together an outfit, make a statement or just add a missing something to an outfit.

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