Diamonds are forever but Rhinestone Costume Jewelry is for Everybody! If like many visitors who have arrived on this page, you have been searching the internet for good Rhinestone Jewelry information, you are in the right place. Caring for rhinestone costume jewelry is covered here.
Costume Jewelry embellished with diamonds and precious stone wannabes grew from the desire of the common people to wear expensive looking jewelry just like what the famous actresses and royalty were wearing in their time, minus the heavy price-tag.
When you trace the modern History of Rhinestone Jewelry you soon discover that rhinestone crystals popularity began in the 1920's and steadily increased throughout 1930s - 50s. Weiss was one of the costume jewelry designers who wizened up to rhinestones and their use in women's jewelry. His early works are a showcase of prong set rhinestones in beautiful settings.
Rhinestone Costume should not be confused with Antique Paste Jewelry.
Another misnomer is sea glass. Misleading terms such as "pretty pebbles" and "Sea Glass" (which is simply little glass nuggets, tumbled courtesy of the sea) are used to describe rhinestones. Have you heard the old saying: "fore-armed is forewarned"? Well, hand made "Sea-Glass Jewelry" may be gaining in popularity among wire jewelry artists today, however "sea-glass" and "rhinestones" apart from them being sparkling, have no other relation.
The 1920s was known as the White Period because of the prevalence of colorless stones, such as diamonds, white topaz, crystals set within white metal mountings, namely platinum. If you have a vintage brooch set with clear rhinestones in white metal (often pot metal was used) chances are it was made around the 1920s.
Gradually, the white metal was accented by more dramatically colored rhinestones such as ruby, sapphire, emerald, black, amethyst and topaz.
Because vintage costume jewelry was inexpensive to produce it was produced on a massive scale. Rhinestone Costume jewelry became so popular that it was sold in upscale stores as well as the five-and-dime stores. Colorless rhinestones were cut in the brilliant style to imitate diamonds in faux diamond rings and costume jewelry.
Outrageous glamour and extravagance of style underline Rhinestone Costume.
Because of the low costs involved in production, jewelers could finally unleash and revel in their own creativity. Rhinestones afterall are a lot cheaper to buy than colored gemstones and diamonds!
Jewelers and well-recognized designers who were comfortable working with gemstones, could relax, and fashion rhinestones and other materials such as molded glass and Imitation Pearls into rhinestone costume jewelry, that was affordable.
In fact, the quality and design of these wannabe pieces, often rivaled their fine jewelry and gemstone sisters and that is one of the reasons it is so popular and hunted high and low, by vintage costume jewelry collectors today!
Rhinestone Costume jewelry designs include flowers, figurals, bows, Art Deco designs, animals and geometric designs. Clothing became the background to foreground stunning vintage costume designs.
Vintage Costume Jewelry and Rhinestone dress clips are synonymous; dress clips were worn on just about everything in the 1930s-40s, but almost totally overlooked today.
Traditionally, rhinestone dress clips were worn in the V of a neckline or the square of the neckline. They were often slipped over a cord or chain and worn as a necklace. Rhinestone dress clips were clipped onto pockets and placed onto sleeves that had been rolled up.
It may come as a surprise to some jewelry investors, that collectible costume jewelry dress clips, for example, Coro are soaring in prices. Collectible Coro dress clips can fetch very high prices and Costume Jewelry valuations are advisable as some collectible pieces of Costume Jewelry are more valuable than fine Jewelry.
Even hats were also adorned with dress clips, smooched in rhinestones. These clips could even be converted into a brooches, with ease and finesse. Simply by placing a safety pin inside a shirt or jacket, so that the pin bar of the dress clip went through the material, then one could drop the clip over the bar, and Voila! ms standard average could now convert the dress clip to a vintage Rhinestone brooch!
1. Leshner, L., Warman's Vintage Jewelry, Krause Publications, 2008, Ioloa, WI.
2. Hammond, V., All That Glitters
Return to the top of Rhinestone Costume Jewelry
Return to Antique Jewelry Investor Home Page