A Buyers Guide to costume jewellery

Costume Jewellery

Costume jewellery has always been a popular gift; it becomes more popular in difficult economic times.  

The better-known makers offer better quality. “Gold” that comes off on the skin or with a fingernail is painted, and “crystal” that shatter at a touch is glass, and not very good quality.

In good costume jewellery, the stones can be artificial or semi-precious, and the metals can be base, but the pieces are often as imaginative as fine jewellery.

If you want the look of gold, make sure that the metal is electroplated with gold.

In this process, a gold solution is electrolytically fused to the base material to give the jewellery the desired colour. A similar approach is used in plating silver jewellery. Electroplated finishes are long-lasting in everyday use.

Prices have about as wide a range as any consumer product. Although most costume jewellery is sold for under $50, the cost can rise to thousands of dollars.  

Earrings are the most popular item, with necklaces and pins following in that order.

The global costume jewellery market is valued at about USD 25.2 billion. Changing lifestyle, increasing fashion consciousness and economic recession, meaning costume jewellery is the less expensive fashion option.  

Those in the “better” end of the business use the term “bridge jewellery” to describe the items that bridge the gap between less costly costume jewellery and expensive fine jewellery. The prices in this category of jewellery range in the hundreds of dollars. It is more the materials that describe the items that bridge the gap between less costly costume jewellery and expensive fine jewellery.

The semi-precious stones most often in costume jewellery are carnelian, jade, amethyst, onyx and lapis. Fake stones are typically made of plastic or paste. Rhinestone, one of the most popular artificial stones, is made of Austrian crystal or glass.

Expert Tips 

Look for Snug Stones, Tight Knots

Some tips on shopping for costume jewellery;

  • Make sure that any stones are set in prongs, not glued to the setting; a person could accidentally knock out a stone that is glued unevenly.
  • Look for hand knotting on the strands that hold simulated pearls; the knots hold each pear in place.
  • A safety closure that snaps shut is better than an open hook for keeping a necklace securely in place.
  • Do not get perfume or hair spray on costume jewellery; the alcohol in them can damage plating or change its colour; talcum could also harm the finish.

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