Vintage costume jewellery: a collector’s guide

In the past few years, Sarah Burns has become what she calls “an accidental collector” of late-20th-century costume jewellery. Among the London-based entrepreneur’s treasures – all of which cost less than £500 – are a Givenchy medallion, a Chanel necklace with discreet interlocking Cs, a Christian Dior bangle and a humdinger of a gold butterfly necklace by Kenneth Jay Lane, a version of which was worn by Carrie Bradshaw with a strapless black mini dress in an episode of Sex and the City. Burns also has a dress to match.To get more news about new jewellery design images 2021, you can visit official website.

“I grew up in the 1980s and I tend to buy the kind of pieces that were worn by supermodels on the catwalks when I was a teenager,” says Burns, who runs a marketing agency and buys all her jewellery from Cheshire-based Jennifer Gibson Jewellery. “It’s so different to the more delicate jewellery that is fashionable now. I’m just drawn to it.”

She’s not alone. In June, sales of vintage costume jewellery on the resale site Vestiaire Collective were up 142 per cent year on year. “We’re seeing a lot of interest around designs from the 1980s,” says Alice Hebrard-Lemaire, the site’s head of vintage. “Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel and Dior, particularly necklaces, earrings and brooches. Women are buying it to wear, but this type of jewellery can also be an investment. We expect that certain pieces from the ’80s and ’90s will increase in value over the next few years.” At 1stdibs – where the most sought-after jewels are by Oscar de la Renta and Chanel – prices are already rising. “A comfort level has been reached of plus-$2,000,” says Cristina Miller, its chief commercial officer.

Costume jewellery has been worn since the Georgian era, when powdered glass, or paste, was used instead of diamonds, silver and gold, but the association with fashion houses began in Paris in the 1920s. Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli commissioned non-precious jewellery for their haute-couture collections – bijoux de couture – from masters such as Maison Gripoix. Chanel was particularly vehement about faking it. “It’s disgusting to walk around with millions around the neck because one happens to be rich,” she once said. “I only like fake jewellery… because it’s provocative.” Her long chains with coloured stones, multiple strings of pearls and Byzantine crosses became house signatures.