Costume jewellery has been part of our culture for hundreds of years and the trend for people wanting to own beautiful but affordable jewellery still continues today. Another popular name for costume jewellery is fashion jewellery. However, there has been some discussion as to whether ‘fashion jewellery’ is an appropriate term to use and is more suited to classify ‘real’ or ‘fine’ jewellery. As a consequence there is some confusion as to the correct term to use when referring to cheap jewellery, with the most common question being ‘ is there a difference between costume jewellery and fashion jewellery?”
There are two lines of thought on this. Some use the terms ‘fashion jewellery’ and ‘costume jewellery’ interchangeable because they believe they relate to the same product. They say jewellery, such as necklaces, rings, broaches, earrings and bracelets, can be called either fashion or costume if it’s made up of inexpensive, non-precious materials. Typically, these items are made from base metals, gold tone or silver tone with acrylic, glass, plastic, synthetic or semi-precious stones. The ‘diamonds’ will be made from diamante or cubic zirconium and pearls can be made from glass or plastic.
As to which term is used is purely down to preference. A fashion conscious teenager, for example, may prefer to say ‘fashion jewellery’ whereas the more mature woman could say ‘costume jewellery’. Either way they surmount to the same thing.
However, there are those who disagree and believe fashion jewellery and costume jewellery are completely different. They say ‘costume jewellery’ should only be used in reference to fake jewellery, where the gold and diamonds are not real and so on. Whereas ‘fashion jewellery’, on the other hand, is the sort of thing you would see in fashion magazines, such as Vogue, Marie Claire and Tatler and it can be ‘real’.
This type of jewellery is often made by top designers such as Chanel, Marc Jacobs and Thomas Sabo. Where fashion is very much at the forefront, it will be of a much higher quality and may use real gold, silver, diamonds and pearls etc…it will also be much more expensive.
Furthermore, these designers are so revered that their creations will often be seen as setting the fashion trend rather than following it. And in a few months time, you will probably see copies of their designs trickling down through the high street. Of course, silver will be replaced by base metal and diamonds will be replaced with diamante until the final item will look similar to the original but at a fraction of the quality and a fraction of the price too!
What is confusing with this train of thought, is a bracelet made up of precious material will be classified as fashion jewellery, but can be compared with an identical style bracelet made up of non-precious material – but will be classified as costume jewellery. An example of this is the Pandora bracelet than you would buy from a jewellers and the Pandora ‘style’ bracelets that you would buy from the high street. So basically you have two bracelets that look almost identical but with different classifications!