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The Making And Selling Of Costume Jewelry

If you are in the business of selling jewelry in Chicago, you are very aware of the various trends that have emerged over the centuries. While the industry is relatively new in the United States, it has been going on for centuries in Europe. While the making of jewelry has been part of human history from almost the beginning of time, the manufacturing of inexpensive costume jewelry stems from only a couple of centuries ago.

The Beginnings

The Georgian period in the 1700s saw the first appearance of jewelry that was affordable by certain sectors of society. Up until this time, only the very wealthy could afford the jewelry for sale. This was because it consisted of rare and expensive materials such as gold, silver and precious gemstones. The jewelry makers replaced the stones with glass achieving the look but reducing the cost of the pieces. However, such items were still out of reach of those who had less money to spend.

The Victorian era continued the trend towards offering less expensive copies of jewelry. Glass and paste replaced the more pricey jet and amber. Gold and silver were replaced by the more base metals of brass and copper. These pieces are more readily available than their predecessors. Credible dealers sell jewelry in Chicago of this type as antiques.

Also classified as antique jewelry are pieces from the eras that followed including:

  • Arts and Crafts period (1894- 1923) with its hand-crafted items of copper and bronze, enameled or hammered into simple designs
  • Art Nouveau (1895-1915)
  • Edwardian (1901-1910)
  • Art Deco period (1920 to 1935)
  • The Golden Age

The 1930s, however, Art Deco and beyond, saw the first mass produced costume jewelry. It became available throughout Europe and North America. Various styles reflected the times. Many mimicked the jewelry worn by famous actors and other well-known celebrities. The Great Depression meant cutting back and using items that could be used as more than one purpose. Among these was the “Coro Duette” popular in 1933.

While WWII called for various entrenchments, after and during the war, women saved up to purchase rhinestone pieces to add flash and style to their outfits. The 1950s further made available several types of materials so that everyone could afford quality-appearing costume jewelry.

Modern Costume Jewelry

Today, you can find for sell jewelry in Chicago that exemplifies the modern and/or contemporary style of costume pieces. They are composed of a variety of materials including:

  • Crystals
  • Cubic zirconia simulated diamonds
  • Semi-precious stones
  • Sterling silver
  • Gold-plated brass
  • Silver plated brass
  • Vermeil
  • Gold plated pewter
  • Gold plated nickel
  • Plastic
  • Acrylic
  • Leather
  • Wood

Some of this jewelry can be called retro or vintage. It depends upon the style and the age. Talk to professionals who sell jewelry in Chicago such as T. N. Donnelly, to learn more about the types of jewelry and their worth on the market and as collectible items.