Costume jewelry is jewelry that is made of less valuable materials, including base metals, glass, plastic, and synthetic stones, in place of more valuable materials such as precious metals and gemstones. Costume jewelry is usually, but not always, inexpensive, and often flashy.
Costume jewelry was popularized by Coco Chanel in the 1920's. Costume jewelry today is very much like the Costume jewelry of old - inexpensive jewelry intended to fashionable for a short period of time and then replaced with more Costume jewelry to match a new outfit or reflect the new fashion styles. Costume jewelry is not meant to be handed down through the generations, but purchased as a cheap, disposable accessory to be worn with a specific outfit.
The look of real is not important and the details are not critical in Costume jewelry. Stones are often glue set, not prong set. The stones are usually imitations, such as foil-backed crystals and rhinestones. Fashion and current trends are important and cheap prices are expected. Styles change from season to season to keep up with the current colors and trends.
Costume jewelry settings are usually plated products. Gold plate refers to items that are plated by any means with gold to a base metal, both mechanically plated or electroplated. The base metals are often either a lightweight white nickel based metal or a heavier bronze/brass based metal. The quality of the plating can vary.
Costume Jewelry that has a layer of at least 10 karat gold mechanically bonded to a base metal is called gold-filled, gold overlay or rolled gold plate. If the Costume jewelry is marked with one of these terms, the term or abbreviation should be follow by the karat quality of the gold used (for example, 14K Gold Overlay or 12K RGP). If the layer of karat gold is less than 1/20th of the total weight of the item, the marking must state the actual percentage of karat gold, such as 1/40 14K Gold Overlay.
Costume Jewelry that has a layer (at least .175 microns thick) of a minimum of 10 karat gold on a base metal by an electrolytic process is described as gold electroplate. A heavy gold electroplate is stamped HGE with the karat quality of the gold (such as 18K HGE). The terms gold flash or gold wash describe products that have an extremely thin electroplating of gold (less than .175 microns thick). This will wear away more quickly than gold-filled or gold electroplate.
Vermeil (ver-may) is a special type of gold plated product that uses a base of sterling silver (stamped with the silver mark of 925). Other Costume jewelry settings can be described and marked as pewter if they contain at least 90% tin.
Costume jewelry for special occasions is very popular, including bridal Costume jewelry and prom Costume jewelry. The white metal look is currently fashionable, accented with crystals and imitation pearls. Costume jewelry styles include necklaces, pendants, earrings, bracelets, and brooches. Often Costume jewelry is sold in matching necklace and earring sets, or as a three piece set with a matching bracelet.
Costume jewelry, while a great choice for special occasions and special outfits, is not designed for everyday wear as the materials are not made to withstand the wear and tear of frequent use. If there is damage, it often cannot be repaired, especially if the damage is a broken setting or chain since base metals cannot be soldered on like precious metals. Crystals require delicate care and should not be exposed to moisture or immersed in water as this can cause deterioration and discoloration. Gold plating eventually wears away, the amount of time depends on how often the item is worn and how thick the plating is.
When buying Wholesale Costume jewelry, buy for price, fashion, special occasions and fun.