‘Fashion Jewellery’ lies in between Fine and commercial Costume Jewellery, in its own distinct camp. It is the haute couture of jewellery, typically one-of-a-kind pieces carefully crafted with great attention to detail. Unlike fine jewellery, fashion jewels are not exclusively made from precious stones and metals. Instead, fashion jewellery tends to have a dramatic flare and sculptural quality. Designers of fashion jewellery embrace non-precious materials, from plastics, wood, enamel, to base or industrial metals such as titanium, paste or synthetic gemstones and glass.
Fashion jewellery was born in 1930s Paris, with the major fashion houses beginning to produce non-precious jewellery. The most famous being Coco Chanel’s iconic ‘by-the-yard’ cultured pearl necklaces and Elsa Schiaparelli’s fantastic, surrealist buttons and brooches. These two innovative women pioneered and established a new approach to dressing for modern women, and fashion jewellery was a vital component. Fashion jewellery continued to evolve in the post war period with Christian Dior, Cristobal Balenciaga and Hubert Givenchy producing a golden age of signature fashion house jewellery.
Fashion jewellery is fundamentally intended to complement and accompany haute couture and high fashion clothes, but pieces also stand alone as highly collectable and continually popular accessories.