Costume Jewelry Today is Bold and Beautiful
Story by Penny Swift
Back in the day when I was a child, my grandmother owned a costume jewelry store. It was a place I loved, with its glitzy diamanté; sparkling paste jewelry; polished, plated gold and solid silver; semi-precious and some bold precious stones; necklaces, earrings, brooches, and rings. Dress-up was a dream.
Now costume jewelry items have made a comeback, only they’re more classy and distinctive, and designer conscious, appealing to a wide spectrum of people from celebrities and heads of state, to the likes of you and me.
The main difference seems to be that unlike paste jewelry and other items from the past, today costume jewelry pieces are intended to be “non-precious” rather than imitations of precious stones and precious metals. Instead the intention is for designers to be innovative and celebratory in their approach. Bling is back, and according to Vicki Sarge, co-founder of Erickson Beamon jewelry, “This has become the decade of the major necklace”.
Says Sarge, customers like the idea of getting statement pieces that are top quality and beautiful, yet may be worn with “a casualness the fine jewelry does not allow”.
What Store Owners Say About Costume Jewelry
Erin Moscow who is head of accessories at Selfridges in London says that costume jewelry has become very popular in this world-class department store. It is selling so well that as a “run-up” to Christmas 2013, they introduced what she terms a dedicated costume jewelry “destination” in the form of glass cabinets that are glitter-lined and used to display jewelry designed by some current leading lights like Tom Binns, Shourouk and Mawi. It’s what they have called Destination Bejeweled.
According to Moscow, the pieces that are most popular are those that are very ornate, including colorful collar necklaces that can be “an extension of, or add real contrast to” outfits. Most, she says look best when worn with simple knitted tops or white shirts.
Work featured in Destination Bejeweled includes jewelry from:
- American Tom Binns, pioneer of a Dada-inspired approach to jewelry.
- Parisian Shourouk Rhaiem, whose fashion motto is “luxury and decadence”.
- British Mawi, a jewelry house that makes luxurious statement pieces that combine traditional approaches with cutting-edge contemporary style.
Natalie Kingham who is head of fashion at the international luxury fashion, Internet-based matchesfashion.com maintains that while Tom Binns, along with Shourouk, Dannijo and Lulu Frost are important in terms of contemporary collections, so too are those who create established ready-to-wear designs, like Lanvin and Oscar de la Renta.
Natalie Kingham explains that Oscar de la Renta produces a style of jewelry that is similar to tradition “paste”, which was made using heavy, highly transparent flint glass that simulates the brilliance of gemstones. But the pieces made today, she points out, are plainer and more contemporary.
Explaining her style of jewelry, the French Shourouk Rhaiem admits she has always been attracted to “bling-bling” and “the diva vibe, as seen in Tintin’s Les Bijoux de la Castafiore”. Her fabulous designs incorporate unusual mixed media including PVC, some of which is intricately embroidered, enameled stones, and even nylon climbing rope. She also adds Swarovski crystals to produce sparkle – an essential part of her vision.
Ek Thongprasert, a hugely talented Antwerp-based jeweler is another name that is being seen this season. Liberty of London was one of the first stores to carry his striking designs, because according to MD Ed Burstell, “It’s the perfect punctuation mark to the minimal fashion trend”. Well stocked with Thongprasert’s jewelry prior to the 2013 Christmas season, he said that they represented colorful, clever, fun gift options that would work for Christmas and New Year without breaking the bank.
Below Is A Selection For You