How Long has Costume Jewelry Been In Existence?
It may surprise you to know the answer but costume jewelry has been around for a long time–over 300 years specifically. Though if you think about it, it makes sense. For a long time, people haven’t been able to afford expensive jewelry yet they still want to wear the latest fashion statements.
In the 18th century, jewelers started making well-known pieces with glass, a much cheaper alternative to gold or silver. By the 19th century, semi-precious materials came into existence, making costume jewelry even more appealing to the masses.
But the real heyday for costume jewelry began mid 20th century, coinciding with the Industrial Revolution. Now, machinery could quickly reproduce cheaper jewelry at a much faster scale.
As costume jewelry continued to look better and better and reach more people, it appealed to more classes. After all, there was no shame in wearing a piece of costume jewelry since it was intended for fun, decorative purposes.
Perhaps branding came into play to reduce any stigma. Had it been called “cheap jewelry” not many would have wanted to wear it. But “costume jewelry” implies a fun, temporary wear.
So the next time you wear a piece of costume jewelry, remember: you’re in good company, historically speaking!