Friday, 12 April 2013

Costume Jewellery - Desirable Paste and Glass

Diamonds are the business aren't they? I can't ever imagine a woman opening up a black velvet lined box seeing some sparkly gems and saying, "what did you buy these for, what were you thinking"?
Liz Taylor had her share and then some. I must say of all the images I have seen of her wearing various knockout jewels, my favourite is this 'home' film of her receiving this set from her then husband Mike Todd, the love of her life.

Costume jewellery can be pretty amazing too and vintage bling can often be better than the 'real' thing in terms of quality of workmanship and materials. The designs were often more innovative than their precious counterparts which in many cases relied on the intrinsic value of materials used for desirability.

The Duchess of Windsor enjoyed wearing both faux and genuine pieces. I suspect that the very fact she was wearing something made it look like the real McCoy, and if it wasn't it would immediately become very fashionable and go up in value anyway by association. Win win situation.

This was also true for Butler and Wilson, their jewellery was favoured by Diana, Princess of Wales.

These little fellows are the only Butler and Wilson I own. I saw them in Vogue magazine, many years ago and had to have them. You can't see from my bad photo but they are covered in pave diamante and are very sweet. My ardent feminism at that time obviously didn't stretch to cover accessories.

Just the name of Schiaparelli sounds so romantic and of it's time a big name in the couture world from the early 1920s, her fashion house trained Givenchy and Cardin. Her main sources of inspiration for her fabulous jewellery pieces were the forms of nature and Surrealism, which really appeals to me but her signature colour was shocking pink. I much prefer the subtlety of these pale green and pink Lucite earrings and brooch set.

I'm not really a costume jewellery 'collector', I don't have the funds, but sometimes things catch my eye. Just recently these Ruby Slipper earrings were a must buy after seeing the real thing at the V&A Hollywood Costume exhibition.

And this very 1980s( Elizabethan revival?) brooch designed by Monty Don no less, has been with me for many a moon.


  1. ~ Great picture of Elizabeth and her diamonds! Such an icon....I loved your jewellery ~ most especially the ruby slippers! WOW! Every girl should have a pair...I'm a vintage jewellery kind of gal, myself and own pieces from my great Gran and grandma and dear Mum!I do treasure the pieces and really only wear for special occasions... I had forgotten that Monty had designed jewellery....In the eighties! I think I read his book, just recently! Thanks for an interesting post...with 'Twinkles' *** Maria x

  2. Interesting to see some of Monty Don's work - I should imagine it could be very collectable as his output must have been limited.

  3. I agree - I knew Monty & his wife designed jewellery in a previous life, but hadn't a clue what it looked like. Very interesting post & Liz looking lovelier than I've ever seen her before.

  4. Very interesting post. It is very clever how the top picture moves

    1. I know, she's mesmerising or is it the gems :)
      Jean x

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  7. Your collection is beautiful and I love all your different containers -

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