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Collecting Costume Jewellery : What's in your collection?

Posted on 07 January 2016costume jewellery collecting jewellery vintage jewellery buying jewellery


As a collector of costume jewellery, I am always interested to learn about other peoples jewellery collections. Do you follow the trends or buy for investment? Do you dispose of it after a season or two or hold on to it indefinitely? Do you buy both fine and costume jewellery, which do you wear most and why?

In my early to mid-teens I began to buy my first pieces of costume jewellery, think Mood Rings, Ying Yang and dolphin Pendants on leather cords, and cheap beads purchased from $2 shops. Sad I know, but it was the early 90's and you do have to start somewhere. In the following years I began to frequent the city Markets, finding hand-made beaded treasures with unique designs made of brass, wood and glass; it was here that my appreciation for jewellery began. I would display my pieces on a board in my room like a piece of art work. I loved it. I was inspired to make my own for a while (short lived) and even sold a few a pieces.

Remember these?

Over the next 10 years my taste in jewellery would mature, moving with the trends, purchasing from specialty jewellery and department stores. I loved the affordability of costume jewellery which suited my need to be able to wear something different each day of the week depending on my mood; it was the way I expressed myself. I owned a few pieces of fine jewellery that I had received as gifts and wore them occasionally, but I was always drawn to the costume jewellery.

By my mid-30's I had extended my collection to include vintage and pre-owned jewellery after developing a love for designer jewels from the 1960s- 80s. Classics and over-the-top statement pieces, as well as older Victorian inspired rhinestone pieces that I just love to look at. I have to admit, looking back now, I may have fallen into a trap of buying for the sake of having a collection. Don't get me wrong, I bought what I loved as well as buying for re-sale, investment and everyday wear. My collection grew, and grew, and grew. I had some beautiful pieces (most that did not see the light of day) and someday imagined in retirement that I would posses an extensive, and hopefully by then, a somewhat exclusive collection that I could perhaps display for all to see. We are not talking the fine jewels of Hollywood here, but a modest collection that would still be appreciated by many to see the changing styles of the decades and intricate designs.

My collection consisted of many Monet pieces such as this Scheherazade set from 1968

Having my website business where I could sell jewellery meant that I could on-sell the vintage designer "everyday pieces" that I had outgrown the need for. My large jewellery box, chock full of inexpensive modern pieces, remains as is for my daughter to one day rummage through for dress-ups and hopefully enjoy as much as I did. There is an old biscuit tin (yes, a biscuit tin) full of my Nanna's old jewellery that I sort through every so often, nothing of any value, I just keep them for sentimental reasons. Sadly, or perhaps for the best, I have sold most of my vintage statement pieces (mainly Monet from 1950s-70s) that I thought would always be a part of my collection. The reason? Well, if I'm honest it was somewhat out of necessity to keep up with the demand of customers. In the last five years the popularity and demand of vintage jewellery has soared and as a result I have reluctantly parted with much of my prized collection. At the time I was thinking that I would be able to find them again without too much issue; I've since discovered that these pieces are more often than not, in the hands of dealers, who are seeking top dollar for them. And rightly so. So, whilst I have disappointment in some respects, I take comfort in knowing that someone has now purchased my pieces, most likely with the intention of wearing them as opposed to sitting in a draw or safe. Or will they? Maybe another collector has bought them to have sitting in their drawer? Maybe they will be worn to a special event then put away for years to come or perhaps re-sold? I will never know. One thing is for sure, I will continue to search for those special pieces that I simply must have. My current interest is retro Givenchy from the 70s, and now that collection is now starting to grow.


Why do you buy jewellery? Is it for a collection or is it a way of expressing yourself? Do you stick to the classics or follow the trends? I'm interested to hear about it... leave your comments below.

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Comments (2)

Natalie Delmont - Vintagecuff·28 January 2016 - 10:07amThanks so much for your comments Sha, I really appreciate the feedback.


Sha·27 January 2016 - 08:11pmWow...very impressive by your words....simple, honest, very true....feel like a friend talking.....also feel like a master of vintage collection talking.....thanks for sharing your life :)


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