Adorning Fashion: The History of Costume Jewellery to Modern Times

Adorning Fashion: The History of Costume Jewellery to Modern Times

Adorning Fashion: The History of Costume Jewellery to Modern Times

By Deanna Farneti Cera


Costume jewellery is commonly understood to mean fashionable yet affordable adornments made from non-precious material. Originating in mid-1700s France with the rise of the bourgeoisie, the earliest ‘costume jewellery’ mimicked delicate jewellery styles. Since then, costume jewellery has constantly been evolving. From Victorian sentimentalism to the mass-produced ornaments available today, costume jewellery has developed into an art form in its own right. 

A comprehensive study of its history is long overdue. Flush with expert information, identification tips and historical anecdotes, Adorning Fashion explores the development of costume jewellery across the past four centuries. The styles of each era – Victorian, Edwardian, Arts & Crafts, Jugendstil, Art Nouveau, and each decade of the twentieth century – are given individual attention. Production methods are also explained in depth. Alloys and gilded electroplating can mimic silver and gold. At the same time, the refraction index of treated glass can be mistaken for a diamond to the untrained eye. 

Adorning Fashion discusses the contributions of a remarkable roster of designers and innovators, including Kokichi Mikimoto, Arthur L. Liberty, Carlo Giuliano, René Lalique, Elizabeth Bonté, the Castellani brothers, Jean Fouquet, Jean Després, Fulco di Verdura, Jean Schlumberger, Salvador Dalí, Miriam Haskell, Lina Baretti, Countess Cissy Zoltowska, Line Vautrin, Kenneth Jay Lane, Francisco Rebajes, Diane Love, Christian Dior, Balenciaga, Chanel, Van Cleef & Arpels, Paco Rabanne, Yves Saint Laurent, Napier, Haskell, Trifari, Brania, Bulgari, Versace and more. 


Deanna Farneti Cera has been researching and writing on the subject of vintage jewellery for over thirty years. An international expert on European and American fashion jewellery, Deanna was the curator and acting Vice Director at the Municipal Gallery of Modern Art in Bologna from 1975-1980 and has curated the exhibitions Le girlie di Hollywood – American Designers of Fashion Jewellery 1920-1960 (1987) and Jewels of Fantasy (1991). She wrote the book Bijoux (Federico Motta Editore, 2010), which was translated into Costume Jewellery (UK Edition) and Amazing Gems (US Edition). Deanna lives and works in Milan. 


Definitive, comprehensive overview of costume jewellery. Follows the evolution of costume jewellery from bourgeois France to the present day. Lavishly illustrated reference book – a must-buy for jewellery enthusiasts and fashion historians. Includes a remarkable range of designers including Lalique, Fouquet, Dior, Balenciaga, Versace and many more 700 colour images

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