Fashion Jewelry or Costume Jewelry?

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costume and fashion jewelryWhile trying to stay in tune with the current trend, you require a lot of things and jewelry is an extremely important factor. But you may be confused about fashion jewelry and costume jewelry, regarding whether there is any difference between the two, and if it is, what!

Actually fashion jewelry and costume jewelry are basically the same but they belong to different time periods. They share similarities in purpose and construction, but some subtle differences too.


Both fashion and costume jewelry provide consumers the same advantage of affordable accessories. These two categories mimic the look of finer pieces by making use of less expensive materials. Fine jewelry can be high-priced because it makes use of precious metals and gemstones which are pretty valuable. Fashion and costume jewelry substitute these materials with plated metals and fake gemstones. Some common materials utilized in the making of fashion and costume jewelry are:

Metals – Plated metals, Pewter, Aluminum, Nickel

Gems – Non-precious gemstones, Rhinestones, Colored glass, Plastic or acrylic beads

Advantage of Fashion and Costume Jewelry

By using fashion and costume jewelry, consumers can look fashionable and trendy while maintaining a budget. Wearing jewelry pieces made of solid gold, diamonds and other precious gemstones to coordinate with various outfits can be very expensive, but fashion and costume jewelry can imitate the look of fine jewelry while costing significantly less. Thus users can wear different pieces everyday for pretty low prices.

vintage imitation hairpin

An Effective Imitation  

An expert jeweler can find out the difference between authentic fine jewelry and fashion and costume jewelry. But average consumer cannot. Cheaper metals like pewter and nickel are duller in appearance than solid gold, platinum and silver which emit a luminescent glow which attracts eyes. So, to bring the same shine in the cheaper metals, designers plate them with a small amount of gold or silver. The brilliance and facets of real gemstones are a bit more difficult to imitate, but glass blowers achieve that by replicating color and shape of the precious stones. Sometimes semi-precious gems are also used in mid-grade jewelry to keep the prices low while maintaining the beauty. Plastic and acrylic beads imitate the looks of pearls at low cost with shiny coatings.

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Rhinestones in Fashion and Costume Jewelry

If you wonder what rhinestones are, you might be surprised to know that these are rock crystals, the backs of which are coated with metal flakes to imitate the look of diamonds. This was one of the first methods of diamond imitation. They were named so, because they used to be collected from Europe’s River Rhine. If the construction is accurate, some rhinestones even sparkle exactly like real diamonds under certain lighting conditions. Rhinestone jewelry became so popular that a term diamante was coined to categorize those pieces.

rhinestone jewelry


Though many times fashion and costume jewelry refer to same pieces, there are some slight differences between the two.

Costume Jewelry

Costume jewelry got popularized in the 30s. They were brought into use because wearing real jewelry pieces was too risky due to the possibilities of loss, theft and damage. By wearing faux jewelry for everyday use the risk ended and at the same time, women could expand their collection for versatility without spending a fortune. Gradually costume jewelry became popular with commoners too who couldn’t afford real jewelry. The term “costume jewelry” came into use because of its common use in theatrical plays with costumes, where wearing real jewelry was not feasible on stage. Previously made to coordinate with only one outfit, costume jewelry pieces began to be created to suit various outfits of common wearers.

costume jewelry

Fashion Jewelry

Fashion jewelry is just an evolution of costume jewelry and became popular in the 80s. The term “fashion jewelry” incorporates fun styles. These pieces are worn to dress up outfits and adopt current trends. The styles of fashion jewelry constantly change, while costume jewelry embraces timeless pieces that are considered antique or vintage.

fashion jewelry

So, when you want to look elegant and classy, you can sport costume jewelry, while for looking playful, you can choose to wear fashion jewelry and both of them offer you the desired looks at low prices, so that you can bring versatility to your persona which is the biggest advantage of both these jewelry types.

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