If you are a fan of vintage costume jewelry, you know that it’s not just about accessorizing, it’s about collecting a piece of history. Costume jewelry is an affordable way to add sparkle to your wardrobe, but some pieces are worth much more than their weight in gold.
In this article, we will take you on a journey through time and uncover the most collectible vintage costume jewelry brands that you can find at estate liquidations and local estate sales on the weekends.
The History of Vintage Costume Jewelry
Costume jewelry originated in the 1920s as an affordable alternative to fine jewelry. With the rise of Hollywood and the fashion industry, costume jewelry became increasingly popular.
During World War II, metal shortages led to the use of alternative materials such as plastics, wood, and glass in the production of costume jewelry.
In the 1950s and 1960s, costume jewelry reached its peak in popularity, with many women opting for bold and colorful pieces that complemented their outfits.
What Makes Vintage Costume Jewelry Collectible?
Vintage costume jewelry is prized for its craftsmanship, design, and historical significance. Collectors look for pieces that are well-made and have unique designs. Some collectors focus on specific brands or designers, while others seek out pieces that are rare or have a unique story.
Vintage costume jewelry can also be a reflection of the time period in which it was made, providing a glimpse into the fashion and culture of the past.
The Most Collectible Vintage Costume Jewelry Brands
There are many vintage costume jewelry brands, but some are more collectible than others. Here are some of the most sought-after brands and designers:
Trifari is known for its high-quality and well-crafted pieces. Founded by Gustavo Trifari in 1910, Trifari produced jewelry for other companies before launching its own line in the 1920s.
Trifari pieces are known for their innovative designs and use of high-quality materials.
Coro was founded in 1901 and became one of the largest costume jewelry manufacturers in the world.
Coro produced a wide range of styles, from delicate and feminine to bold and statement-making.
Coro pieces are known for their quality craftsmanship and innovative designs.
Miriam Haskell is known for its intricate and detailed pieces. Founded in 1924 by Miriam Haskell, the company produced jewelry that was inspired by nature and featured intricate beadwork and other embellishments.
Miriam Haskell pieces are highly collectible and often feature a signature Haskell design element, such as a filigree backing or floral motif.
Schiaparelli was founded in 1927 by Elsa Schiaparelli, a fashion designer known for her avant-garde designs. Schiaparelli jewelry is bold and statement-making, often featuring unusual materials and designs.
Schiaparelli pieces are highly collectible and sought-after by collectors and fashion enthusiasts alike.
Weiss was founded in 1942 by Albert Weiss and produced high-quality costume jewelry that was known for its clarity and brilliance.
Weiss pieces often featured bright and colorful stones and were highly sought-after in the 1950s and 1960s.
Juliana/D&E is known for its bold and colorful pieces that often feature large, unfoiled stones. Juliana/D&E jewelry was produced in the 1960s and 1970s and is highly collectible due to its unique designs and use of unusual materials.
Eisenberg is known for its elegant and sophisticated pieces that often feature clear rhinestones and clean lines. Eisenberg jewelry was produced from the 1930s to the 1950s and is highly collectible due to its quality craftsmanship and classic designs.
Kramer was founded in 1943 by Louis Kramer and produced high-quality costume jewelry that was known for its elegance and sophistication. Kramer pieces often featured rhinestones and other embellishments and were highly sought-after in the 1950s and 1960s.
Hobe was founded in 1887 and produced high-quality jewelry that was known for its intricate designs and attention to detail. Hobe pieces often featured enamel and other decorative elements and were highly sought-after in the 1940s and 1950s.
Vendome was a subsidiary of Coro and produced high-quality costume jewelry that was known for its elegance and sophistication. Vendome pieces often featured intricate designs and high-quality materials and were highly sought-after in the 1950s and 1960s.
Kenneth Jay Lane
Kenneth Jay Lane is known for his bold and playful designs that often feature animal motifs and oversized stones. Lane pieces are highly collectible due to their unique designs and high-quality materials.
Chanel is known for its classic and elegant designs that often feature pearls and other high-quality materials. Chanel jewelry is highly sought-after by collectors and fashion enthusiasts alike.
Yves Saint Laurent is known for his innovative and avant-garde designs that often push the boundaries of fashion. YSL jewelry is highly collectible due to its unique designs and high-quality materials.
Christian Dior is known for his glamorous and sophisticated designs that often feature intricate beadwork and other embellishments. Dior jewelry is highly sought-after by collectors and fashion enthusiasts alike.
Tips for Collecting Vintage Costume Jewelry
If you are interested in collecting vintage costume jewelry, here are some tips to help you get started:
- Research the brands and designers that you are interested in to learn more about their history and designs.
- Look for pieces that are in good condition and have all of their original components.
- Familiarize yourself with common signs of wear and damage, such as missing stones or broken clasps.
- Keep an eye out for unique or rare pieces that may be harder to find.
- Consider attending estate sales, flea markets, and antique shops to find vintage costume jewelry.
Vintage costume jewelry is more than just an accessory, it is a piece of history. Whether you are a seasoned collector or just starting out, there are many collectible vintage costume jewelry brands to explore. From Trifari to Chanel, each brand has its own unique story to tell. By following these tips for collecting vintage costume jewelry, you can start building your own treasure trove of vintage pieces.
Vintage costume jewelry is a type of jewelry that is made of non-precious materials and was produced during a certain time period in the past. It is often characterized by its unique designs and use of materials such as glass, plastic, and rhinestones.
Vintage costume jewelry is collectible due to its historical significance, unique designs, and craftsmanship. Collectors look for pieces that are well-made and have unique designs, as well as those that reflect the time period in which they were made.
Some of the most collectible vintage costume jewelry brands include Trifari, Coro, Miriam Haskell, Schiaparelli, Weiss, Juliana/D&E, Eisenberg, Kramer, Hobe, Vendome, Kenneth Jay Lane, Chanel, YSL, and Dior.
The value of vintage costume jewelry depends on a variety of factors, including the brand, the rarity of the piece, and its condition. Look for pieces that are in good condition and have all of their original components, as well as those that are rare or have a unique story.
Yes, vintage costume jewelry can often be repaired by a professional jeweler. However, it is important to find a jeweler who is experienced in working with vintage pieces to ensure that the repair is done properly.
To care for vintage costume jewelry, avoid exposing it to water, perfume, and other harsh chemicals. Store it in a dry and cool place, and avoid exposing it to direct sunlight for long periods of time.
Vintage costume jewelry should be stored in a dry and cool place, away from direct sunlight. It is best to store it in a jewelry box or drawer with compartments to prevent pieces from getting tangled or scratched.
When buying vintage costume jewelry online, look for a reputable seller with good reviews. Ask for detailed photos and information about the piece, including its condition, any damage or repairs, and its history or provenance.
If you inherit vintage costume jewelry, it is important to have it appraised by a professional to determine its value and to ensure that it is properly insured. You can also consider selling it or adding it to your own collection if you are interested in vintage costume jewelry.