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History of Fashion Jewellery
Since the masses could not afford the same grade of fine
stones and precious metals as the nobility, jewellers began to make pieces out
of glass and other less expensive materials.
With the start of the 20th Century and the Industrial
Revolution, came a new “middle” class. People worked and wanted to enjoy some
of the finer things in life. With the onset of manufacturing came mass-produced
stylish pieces. This truly created the term “fashion accessory,” and new
manufacturers sprung up all over the world, creating the industry we know
Hollywood stars, known for wearing signature pieces of
jewellery on screen and off created even more demand for replicas. As it became
obvious that these mass-produced accessories were a growing trend, designers
such as Chanel, Dior, Monet and Napier began to design specific lines of
fashion jewellery just for the masses. They began to hire movie stars to model
them in advertisements and then sell them in low-end department stores.
One of Coco Chanel’s most famous pieces is the faux pearl necklace, which
became a status symbol in the 60s, worn by such icons as Jackie O, Elizabeth
Taylor, and Audrey Hepburn. Barbara Bush even wore her famous three strand faux
pearls to her husband’s inauguration.
And with this evolution of fashion jewellery from the less
expensive copycat to fashionable must-haves, the current trend is for designers
to create original lines that are neither inexpensive or a knock-off. Many are
inspired by colour, fashion trends, and extensions of a clothing line, while
others gain inspiration from spiritual beliefs. For instance, Katie Scott
Design offers religious pieces that are uniquely designed and sold in higher
end department stores and boutiques. The pieces are constructed to make a
statement that indicates that the wearer is high-fashion, but the price point
is such that one can layer a multitude of bangles, cuffs or rings, each with a
variety of crosses, rosaries and other symbols.
It is also not unusual for consumers to shop online for
Fashion jewellery, since the issue of grade in a stone, or concern over safe
shipping of expensive pieces is replaced by finding the right look to go with
an outfit. Designers who want to provide line extensions can offer specialty lines
at discount prices without compromising their higher end collections.
As the Fashion jewellery industry evolves, it is clear that
what was once something called “junk” or “Grandma’s old stuff” has moved front
and centre as a fashion staple.