It was the infamous fashion designer, Coco Chanel that popularized “faux jewelry?”
In the late 1920’s she launched a line of bold statement faux jewelry and accessories that, resembled large flowers and some animals, were well received by society. Pieces that were made to be worn as “art” rather than the norm indicators of personal wealth was so different from anything at that time and inspired other designers to create similar jewelry. One could say that she created the concept of provocative accessories that were solely meant to compliment the wardrobe.
Costume jewelry and ornamentation, of non-precious materials, has been a part of society since the ancient times. In the 18th century, jewelers made adornments with inexpensive glass, paste, and cameos, with base metals of iron, and cut steel. And it wasn’t until the 19th century, that costume jewelry was created with semi-precious materials that were far more affordable giving the average people a chance to own jewelry of any kind, for jewelry was once considered an ornament of social status and wealth and was therefore unattainable to the average woman.
The desire to own beautiful, but affordable jewelry for the new middle class of the golden era, gained demand in the 20th century. The technology of the industrial revolution or machine age, allowed the production of European inspired, Georgian or Louis style, replica costume jewelry to be easier whilst simultaneously keeping the prices lower. Women of all social status, including the working-class woman, could own a small costume adornment. Affording the average woman to acquire a considerable collection of stylish and yet very affordable mass-produced jewelry.