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Costume jewelry

Costume jewelery, art about imagination and extreme resources

The word costume jewelry is very popular today, but perhaps few know that it comes from the French term bijouterie . The word defines the work of the industry and the ornaments are made from non – precious materials or so – called fantasy, mimicking jewelry.

Furthermore, it is a very broad concept .

It also refers to contemporary ornaments that include all kinds of fashion-related accessories, including bracelets, anklets, be they made of thread or metal, necklaces, rings, earrings, handkerchiefs, headbands, wallets and bags, sun eyeglasses not prescribed and countless other items.

As it is so comprehensive, the creators of this branch work all the time on new designs and projects, so that the market does not run out.

At the same time this purpose is directed in another direction and it is the competitiveness among the designers themselves, plus the result of the work that goes into aesthetics.

Among the objects that distinguish it we find jewelry earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings, anklets and also, glasses, bags, purses, cloths, headbands, that is, all kinds of decorative objects.

Some of these accessories, as in the case of earrings or rings, usually have precious metal baths with silver, such as zamak.

Of its origin

If we start to analyze it thoroughly, costume jewelry was the origin even of jewelry. Yes, because the first men, with the need to adorn themselves and look better, were the first to make an attempt at jewelry.

They collected objects that seemed appropriate, beautiful or important to the tribe so that they could make their ornaments with them. The shells, stones or flowers were part of them.

Thanks to archaeological discoveries we are certain that from the beginning our ancestors were already adorned with jewelry of necklaces, earrings or bracelets.

Telling a bit of history, these jewels at the beginning, beyond their ornamental beauty, were also seen as objects with magical religious powers, as amulets of protection and with magical purposes, either due to their shape or the materials used to make them.

And in the middle ages, these items were only used by religious, sovereigns and merchants, becoming a symbol of authority.

In Ancient Egypt they were already used, we can mention the Atlantean ring as an example. This was given magical qualities of protection and as an amulet.

In the Middle Ages, costume jewelery was a symbol of authority , making clear the authority and power of the nobles vis-à-vis the rest of the people.

By this time there was a combination of jewelry and costume jewelery ornaments for clothing or other accessories like combs and medieval brushes.

Jewelery splendor

A lot of time had to pass for the jewelery to reach a more important place. It is said that it was in 1700 or around this year, when jewelry in Egypt began to be made with glass, which gave it much more importance.

However, it was not until almost a century later, in 1800, when costume jewelry with semi-precious materials finally entered the market.

The paths of jewelery and costume jewelery have always been intertwined since their origins.

In the annals of history it is referred that between 1910 and 1920, when Art Nouveau appeared and became popular with its abstractions, lines, flowers, snakes, butterflies, and the representation of carved women, they also became popular in the pieces of jewelry from that time like brooches and rings.

It was from that moment that jewelry became popular, designers found in this technique a way to decorate metals at less cost and that reached the masses attracted by the pieces, people who could not also pay high prices for a fine jewel.

Same style, but not same commercial value and they were not valuable, they were not considered fine jewelry.

Then came the 1940s known as the retro period: rose gold, large brooches, extravagance in the use of precious stones characterized the era and style.

Also at this time many of the enameled pieces of the 1920s fostered a new market line for costume jewelery that mimicked the fine styles of retro period jewelry.

The war made its own, during the Second World War, many people, especially women, could not buy jewelry made of precious metals, this helped much more jewelry.

If you had to be fashionable and had only a small budget, jewelry was ideal.

The Industrial Revolution in the mid-20th century gave another boost. Not only were these materials used, but they had the opportunity to spread to a wide audience, it became massive.

Although some do not appreciate it for not using metals or precious stones, jewelry is now recognized as an art.

It has evolved a lot over time. It has already lost those magical and religious qualities attributed to it and its function continues to be to decorate.

It is an industry that has grown as a logical consequence of new technologies and manufacturing processes, are also used materials with much hardier and antiallergic properties which formerly did not exist.

Its popularity is such that it has renewed the sales processes and we find it in most fashion stores and online with companies that are dedicated only to its manufacture.

Today’s designs, from vintage to modern, reflect a notable influence of styles.

Without asking permission, it is taken from all periods and the tastes of both designers and clients are revealed in the pieces.

Handmade jewelry , sample of creation and talent.

Artisan jewelry, as its name indicates, is the one that is made entirely or partially by hand . It is the industry that produces objects or decorative materials that imitate jewelry but are not made of precious materials.

The jewelers or costume jewelery therefore are those who design and make the pieces that will serve as an ornament with non-precious materials. It is a highly owned industry in Europe and a single example is sufficient.

Spain is among the top three exporters in Europe along with France and Italy. SEBIME billed associated with currently 120 million per year and offer work to 3,600 Spanish and foreign.

What are the types of costume jewelry?

Due to the great variety of jewelry materials that are found today and that did not exist in the past , for its better understanding, it is subdivided into types or classes.

They are classified by the materials used, their use, or it could even take into account the type of crimp or the type of closure that the beads have.

Types of costume jewelery according to the materials used .

In this group are those that are made with brass, wire, porcelain and precious stones. Also those that include pearls, enamels, glass paste, fabrics, zamak, plastic, murano, wood, among other materials.

Jewelery type according to use

This category groups in turn two types: those that serve to adorn the body and carried as a supplement.

Those that adorn the body include all the objects that are placed on us, be they bracelets, rings, earrings or anklets And the complementary ones that are used as decoration, forming part of handbags, wallets, hair brushes , purses and many more.

Tip or jewelery depending on the setting

It is mainly related to the so-called fine jewelry, it refers to all items that require some type of setting such as bracelets, necklaces, anklets. More specifically there are the metal eyelet linkers, the rosary knots, the wire linkers or pins.

Types according to the closure

It also applies to fine jewelry. In this group are magnetic closures, filigree, hook, tube, bayonet or sliding ball, among others.

Materials used for costume jewelery

The jewelry is made of various materials. We already mentioned some but we can reiterate them. There are brass, porcelain, wire , cloth, paper pulp, glass paste, enamels, and cultured pearls.

They can also be used to the bale, the copper and other metals, precious stones, glass, wood, resins, enamels, acids, borax, and paraffin waxes, abrasive pastes and polishing, fine silver, between or after.

The artisan jewelery is designed and created to give value to the materials that are used by themselves, a special feature of this art that a part of the industry is used to coat the pieces with metal is precious as gold, the silver, or rhodium.

So much quality in some cases that they can hardly be distinguished from a jewel.

But so that you are not mistaken when evaluating we tell you that density is a characteristic that will allow you to distinguish an imitation of a piece of jewelry because precious metals are very dense, and therefore the pieces that are made with them are, for its size, quite heavy.

Just one example to illustrate: Brass plated with gold layers 1 to 5 microns thick are often used in chain and pendant jewelry . This prevents the formation of eczema or epidermal disorders caused by allergic-type reactions.

An excellent substitute, at least in terms of density, are usually lead alloys.

What are the differences between costume jewelry and jewelry?

At this point it is very difficult to establish the differences between one and the other, although its main difference is use.

Jewelry is worn on specific occasions and jewelry is more popular, it can be worn on every occasion, in any event, whether it is more or less important.

The jewelry is a complement to your look and provides a unique touch thanks to its originality. Many of the materials used to make the jewelry are of high quality, they are very resistant and beautiful, especially for that touch that being made with the hands offers, individually, that is, handmade.

Sometimes the limits are questioned because the jewelery is a lover of silver, a metal typical of any jewel, however, we find it in a large number of objects of fine jewelery, in the silver baths that are given to other objects such as jewelry earrings, jewelry bracelets or necklaces jewelry, among others.

The originality and creativity are essential in this art, a necklace, earrings or bracelet that are drawn up by hand and with all desire is more attractive to know that each piece is unique.

Differences between costume jewelry, fine jewelry and jewelry.

When we talk about differences between jewelry, fine jewelry and jewelry, we must necessarily refer to the quality of the materials used in the manufacture of the pieces, we must talk about the metal used and the authenticity of the stones.

For jewelery, the use of so-called noble metals such as gold, platinum or silver continues to be the norm, often with Rhodium plating in their finish.

In costume jewelery, as we already know, other so-called non-precious metals are used, such as steel, brass or others known as “low melting”. Among them is Zamak , a zinc alloy with aluminum, magnesium, and copper, and pewter , a tin, copper, antimony, and lead alloy.

Similarly, another difference lies in the fact of the stones. Jewelry uses precious stones, jewelry uses imitation stones of little value and even plastic.

Between both categories is the so-called fine jewelry, which without using noble metals, does have a bath or plated in gold or silver , a thin layer of metal on other less expensive metals.

A trick of costume jewelry is this camouflage.

For example the brass is a metal widely used and some pieces painted non a less expensive metal simulating be gold, silver or platinum.

Costume jewelry, on the other hand, offers exclusive pieces, its design is unique and its value will depend on originality, on how unique it is, both from an artistic and economic point of view.
On the other hand, the pieces that are considered costume jewelery. They are produced in quantities and you can find them in various places at the same time.

The jewels are more durable, time provided by the metals used in their making. The jewelery has a limited life time, also given by the quality of the elements used to manufacture the pieces, which turn black or can cause allergies or skin irritations.

Silver and gold jewelry have designation of origin, that is, they have purity in metal, jewelry does not.

Beyond everything explained, yet many people tend to confuse the terms, but for connoisseurs of the subject or interested people, something that can help is the price.
However, even in this you must be careful, many pieces of jewelry are highly valued in the market for having been created by famous designers and this, generally increases the price, which sometimes becomes almost as high as that of a fine piece of jewelry.

The jewelery when it is handmade can be considered as a piece of jewelry, not for the quality of the materials used, but for the exclusivity of the design and for being a unique piece made by hand.

Necklaces fine jewelry, tips for use

To look better wearing fine jewelry you must keep your look simple , this will help make the accessory the center of attention in your appearance. If your necklace has only one color, you can combine your clothes with others or vice versa.

Try not to wear earrings , prefer sleepers or others attached to the lobe . Do not abuse the number of rings and bracelets each time, it is in bad taste. For example, if you take a simple necklace, then the pulser could be striking or ring statement bracelet.

Statement Jewelry

The term refers to fashion jewelry , in English it is said Statement Jewelry, something like jewelry that reaffirms something. It is the kind that attracts attention because it is related in a very personal way to each person who chooses it and it belongs to artisan jewelry or high jewelry.

Statement Necklace

Very personal necklace that shows your personality and style. It harmonizes with your presence and with the clothes you wear and generally refers to a large and striking necklace, which can go on clothing or skin, a striking handmade jewel, a unique and exclusive necklace.

It will be adorned with natural stones that can be precious or semi-precious.

Cristian Lay, the jewelry magnate in Europe.

Cristian Lay, Spanish by origin, is the first jewelry manufacturer in Europe. He lives in Jerez de los Caballeros, his native town, very close to Portugal and there he has his offices and factory.

Cristian designs, manufactures and exports to Exporta to 18 countries in Europe, America and North Africa. Items ranging from costume jewelry, jewelry, to cosmetics, clothing and shoes.

He combines this art with the care of the environment because at the same time that he directs in this type of business he also deals with gas, packaging, renewable energy, recycling and petrochemical companies.

Its market is to the old internet, it sells through catalogs to people around the world with a very simple way: contact an assistant who writes down the orders by email and is responsible for sending it after payment to the agreed address.

But Cristian lay also assures that the years have given him experience to affirm that there is nothing like direct contact with customers and that is why they invest in this type of trade.

Direct sales are successful especially in Spain, Portugal, Mexico and Japan. To have an exact idea of how accepted jewelry is, it is enough to mention that in 8 hours they make between 30 to 40 thousand pieces and in 2014 it raised 130 million euros for jewelry alone.


The craft in Germany is very informal, registration is unknown and therefore the volume of craft production. This activity is carried out mainly in rural areas, far from the cities. Also the sale in most cases is made directly to tourists or through fast delivery.

But one fact that is known is that Germany is the third largest importer in the world, with a very competitive market where quality and service guarantee prevail.

It has great competition for handicrafts with other Latin American countries such as Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Ecuador and Mexico, as well as high competition for jewelry and imitations of lesser value.

The most purchased and sold accessories are necklaces, bracelets, earrings, bags, handbags, wallets and symbolic and religious accessories.

Some of the most important spaces for artisans are fairs. Among those that take place in Germany, the TOOLWOOD, a fair for society for cultural and environmental events, stands out twice a year.

It is also fair ENVIRONMENT for decoration and design and fair INHORGENTA, which annually recreates main options of gems and technology. Finally the INTERGEM, a space for precious hinestones, the diamonds, the minerals and the joy pipelining.


The American jewelery and costume jewelery industry also has its origins in Colonial America. In United States trade artisanal sector is made up essentially small and medium enterprises clustered in New York and Rhode Island, and elsewhere with minor as California, Texas, Florida and Dakota of the South.

More products sold are the earrings, necklaces, chains olgantes, rings, bracelets, twins, pins and medals. Among the most important fairs are the Jewelers International Showcase , the New Orleans Gift & Jewelry Show , the Miami International Gift & Decorative Accessories and Show International Watch & Jewelry Guild Show .


The production of jewelery and costume jewelery has a long tradition in France that remains active despite the crisis and which has helped it to make its jewelery, costume jewelery and watch products important export products. According to studies, close to 25% of the jewelery production is destined for export.

There are several local companies that sell jewelery full of designers from around the world who come to this square. The crisis that the country is experiencing in some way has caused people to restrict consumption in many aspects, especially with products that are not considered necessary.

Despite this, costume jewelry has been favored because consumers buy this type of pieces because they are cheaper. Other strategies also help this market.

Currently clothing brands include accessory lines within their collections, it is seen in brands from all segments and even in beauty parlors this type of product increase. Some brands pay attention to young people and offer designs of medium quality, low price and very modern.

Bracelets and necklaces are the most purchased accessories and are followed by fantasy earrings. In spite of opting for jewelry, in many cases the French seek to accesories custom , unique items with extravagant designs.

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