Vintage Costume Jewellery – A Guide

Vintage costume jewellery is unique; it’s a concept that arose in the 1920s to cater for fashionable women who couldn’t afford fine jewellery in gold, silver or expensive gemstones. Regardless of the fact costume jewellery is instead made from materials such as glass, crystals, pearls and gold or silver coated metals, it can be just as, if not more exquisite than fine jewellery. The materials used to make costume jewellery are often more versatile than those used to make fine jewellery, so vintage designers can be much more exciting and dramatic when it comes to costume jewellery! Here are few examples of original vintage costume jewellery and reproduction costume jewellery:  


Chanel costume jewellery in the 20s and 30s was distinctively art-deco in style. You can often identify a piece of Chanel simply by the oversized, chunky styles, stars, heavy amounts of gold, and pearls. The above image shows examples of vintage brooches, cuff bracelets and art-deco chokers. The bracelet however, is not amethyst as you might think, it’s actually poured purple glass in a baroque style frame.


Balenciaga is another very famous vintage costume jewellery designer, it is a Spanish fashion house that has been going since 1914, but the jewellery designs were most noted in the 50s and 60s when some very elaborate and magnificent pieces were being made. The cross in the above picture was made in the 60s, and Balenciaga was always influenced by such things as the Spanish Renaissance.


Trifari is one of the most infamous vintage costume jewellery houses, which often produced quirky, kitsch designs designed to be worn with cocktail dresses. The main features were oversized glass stones with a nature theme often depicting sea life, birds and insects – in fact, Trifari jewellery is almost candy-like in appearance! The designers behind Trifari costume jewellery would even create pieces so big, they could be used as art displays in the home. Be sure to check out some of our original vintage costume jewellery too!

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