Friday, 28 October 2011

Costume Jewellery made in China ...

Seahorse Watch  £10
Hi Readers, we tried out Old Spitalfields Market on Tuesday, and came away a bit disillusioned.

Yet again the popularity of costume jewellery made in China overwhelms everything else.

I have even started to stock some myself.  I'm not a purist about selling specifically vintage jewellery, although the real stuff is by far my favourite and incomparable.  I doubt whether Chinese costume jewellery made now will survive 30 years or more.  I never see any jewellery 'Made in Hong Kong' that was manufactured in the 50s, 60s and 70s. 

At the end of the day it's 'what peeps want'.  I stock a few medium to high quality pieces made in China,  and I have to say they really are attractive, and I'm sure I'll be down to the Chinese wholesaler for Christmas stock as it's just so popular. 

Costume jewellery made in China is affordable, the better jewellery is well made, and can be rather beautiful too.  In these tough economic times it really is 'what peeps want'.

I'd love to think that we could manufacture this kind of jewellery here in Britain,  but of course it doesn't make economic sense, we don't have human rights issues, but that's another story.

What do you think about costume jewellery made in China?

Friday, 21 October 2011

Vintage Costume Jewellery, the 1980s ...

Vintage 1980s Christian Dior Earrings £65
The 1980's are currently the most recent 'vintage' decade, vintage being defined as 20-75 years old.

1980's vintage costume jewellery is easy to find and quite luxurious. The pieces of the time were bold and fake gold!  Necklaces tended to be fairly short, around 46cm, and many earrings were still clip-ons.

Christian Dior produced beautiful quality gold-plated items, some with imitation pearls and swarovski crystals.  It was the beginning of bling.

Perhaps the British trailblazer of them all were Butler & Wilson.  Always well made, incorporating fantastic designs and high quality materials such as rhinestones and pearls, Butler & Wilson costume jewellery has always been sought after, and were at their height in the 1980's.  I have a pair of Butler & Wilson earrings and they are absolutely gorgeous.  Look for the B&W mark for authenticity.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Getting started with vintage costume jewellery ...

Vintage Napier Cleopatra Necklace  £39
What I really love about vintage costume jewellery is that it is so well-made, available and affordable.  There are always such exciting pieces to be discovered at local antique/vintage markets!

Most vintage costume jewellery is unsigned, but with experience it is fairly easy to identify a piece.  If the jewellery is signed, it makes research alot easier.  There are many sources of information, but I find the Illusion Jewels website most useful.  It is an American site absolutely packed with facts about researching costume jewellery, including an indispensable A to Z of jewellery marks and signatures, http://www.illusionjewels.com/costumejewelrymarks.html.

A couple of tips.  Pat pending dates a piece to pre-1955.  In 1955 the American copyright law was amended to allow jewellery to be copyrighted, and jewellery companies began to use the copyright symbol (a c in a circle).    

For an excellent solid background read the gorgeous book 'Costume Jewellery' by Judith Miller, which features many vintage collectable pieces.

By the way vintage is defined as 20-75 years old.  Anything older is antique, and younger 10-20 years old is retro.

Fun, glamour and style... the fascinating world of costume jewellery.

Costume Jewellery (DK Collector's Guides)  Buy from Amazon UK
Costume Jewelry (DK Collector's Guides)  Buy from Amazon USA