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Costume jewelry, trinkets, fashion jewelry, junk jewelry, fake jewelry, or fallalery is jewelry manufactured as ornamentation to complement a particular fashionable costume or garment as opposed to "real" (fine) jewelry which may be regarded primarily as collectibles, keepsakes, or investments.
The term costume jewelry dates back to the early 20th century. It reflects the use of the word "costume" to refer to what is now called an "outfit".
Originally, costume or fashion jewelry was made of inexpensive simulated gemstones, such as rhinestones or lucite, set in pewter, silver, nickel, or brass. During the depression years, rhinestones were even down-graded by some manufacturers to meet the cost of production.
During the World War II era, sterling silver was often incorporated into costume jewelry designs primarily because:
This resulted in a number of years during which sterling silver costume jewelry was produced and some can still be found in today's vintage jewelry marketplace.
Modern costume jewelry incorporates a wide range of materials. High end crystals, cubic zirconia simulated diamonds, and some semi-precious stones are used in place of precious stones. Metals include gold- or silver-plated brass, and sometimes vermeil or sterling silver. Lower-priced jewelry may still use gold plating over pewter, nickel or other metals; items made in countries outside the United States may contain lead. Some pieces incorporate plastic, acrylic, leather, or wood.
Costume jewelry can be characterized by the period in history in which it was made.
The Art Deco movement was an attempt to combine the harshness of mass production with the sensitivity of art and design. It was during this period that Coco Chanel introduced costume jewelry to complete the costume. The Art Deco movement died with the onset of the Great Depression and the outbreak of World War II.
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