Costume jewellery refers to pieces made using non-precious materials and stones. Popularised during the early 20th century, this jewellery style finds its roots much earlier. In the 1720s Georges Frederic Strass created a special leaded glass that imitated the sparkle of diamonds. Later in the 1800s, Daniel Swarovski introduced his rhinestones which imitated diamonds and the well-known Swarovski crystal was born. Coco Chanel was a primary inspiration in the rise in popularity of colourful, statement costume jewels. To this day, designers and wearers can dismiss costume jewellery as cheap imitations of the real thing, although these days designers are increasingly working with alternative materials for their pieces. Technically termed ‘costume jewellery’ these pieces have their own appeal and aesthetic, far more than an inexpensive replica of fine jewellery pieces.
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