Favourite Fakes

It was during the eighteenth century that manufacturers began producing costume jewellery using rhinestones, coloured glass, crystals or cubic zirconia in place of gemstones. Until then jewellery had been the prerogative of the wealthy.  But it was much later, during the 1920s, that costume jewellery really came into its own gaining credibility as the big fashion houses – Chanel and Schiaparelli – began to produce their own pieces. Using relatively inexpensive gemstones, glass or plastic ‘gems’, costume jewellery is still hugely popular. Whilst the higher end products plate base metals in silver or gold to give the effect of being genuine precious metal, cheaper versions usually use nickel. In 2013 the costume jewellery market in the UK was £500 million whilst the market for the ‘real stuff’ reached over £3 billion!

I have always loved costume jewellery. That’s not to say that I don’t like the real thing (really, I do) but I like quite chunky pieces and to buy items in the size I like would cost serious money.  My mother had very few gold pieces and she left those to my daughter; only her silver brooches and pearls were passed on to me. I too have only a few real pieces of jewellery  but I do however love my collection of fake adornments, especially earrings. Unfortunately none came from the aforementioned, iconic houses!

To think that in 1901 Vogue reported the wearing of earrings as ‘semi -barbaric’! The early 1920s marked a change in fashion (especially in hemlines and shoes) and adornments became much more acceptable, and as hair became shorter, the exposed ears were calling out for some sort of decoration. I always wear earrings but have no time for dainty little versions – they are just not me.  I like something more substantial. Since my ears are not pierced (they once were but the kind of earrings I like are too heavy),  it’s always a challenge to find nice clip-ons. Gradually, however, I have managed to build up a decent sized collection, some modern and some from antique/junk shops (cotton wool buds soaked in surgical spirit followed by warm soapy water and a tiny jewellery brush, in case you thinking yuk)!

One of my favourite pairs is the amber glass one in the first picture above.  Just above them are some with green and amber stones. To the left of those are crystal stones which change colour depending on the light, and they grey paste ones are my newest, a Christmas present. The collection of well-travelled diamante ones are taken on cruises – the perfect occasion to wear them.

Pearl-style earrings are a staple – I wear them a lot, just as I do the plain, gold coloured ones.  And yes, my earrings are kept in the inner from a box of biscuits – it fits the drawer perfectly!








  1. You have a fabulous collection of earrings, Eloise. I must confess I have pierced ears but with three holes in each ear! The first was done (much to my father’s horror) when I was fifteen, the other two much later. The only jewellery we were allowed at school were sleepers. I have an allergy to any jewellery that isn’t gold or silver. I never wear yellow gold, only white. I rarely wear more than one pair of earrings now, although three pairs of graduated pearl studs look quite fetching, in my opinion. Enjoyed the history that you shared with us – thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I did have my ears pierced but when my eldest was a tiny baby he managed to catch his little finger in a sleeper and my ear tore slightly. I let it close up and never had them re-done. I like the sound of the three pearls.

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  2. I’m with the sort of teardrops too. But overall I like the whole lot! It’s lovely to have and wear jewellaery that we love and which defines something about us. I still have a few beautiful pieces from fifty years ago that my mother gave me.

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  3. I love ear-rings and they are the only jewellery I wear now when I go out, don’t wear them indoors. I started out with clip-ons, but as they were considered old fashioned and I no longer wore them, gave them away. After having my ears pierced I bought the ones with studs, had lots of those including silver and some gold ones my husband brought back from the Middle East when he worked there. Now, as I can’t wear the stud ones any more I’m onto the ones that just ‘hook’ in and have quite a few of those.

    My jewellery box is full of brooches, rings, small necklaces and I have some bracelets somewhere, but I only wear ear-rings. Don’t feel dressed without them.

    I like your collection of ear-rings and you’re right those ‘diamante’ ones are just right for a cruise.

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    • Glad to find another earring fan! I feel ‘unfinished’ if I don’t wear them, though I do give myself a break when at home not expecting anyone (like now)!


  4. Oh, what lovely earrings, Eloise! I don’t have pierced ears either! Thus there are two of us in the country without pierced ears! I used to wear clip-ons, but I just found every pair too painful and now don’t wear them, although I love earrings. I often think the nicest of earrings are just plain pearl studs, large or small.
    Margaret P

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    • Oh Margaret, 9 times out of 10 they pinch and I have to very carefully ease the metal apart just a tad. You would think my ears were fat!! That usually does the trick but sometimes they break. .


  5. I think that my favourite of your gorgeous earrings are the teardrop ones with the dark crystal border, but I think they are all gorgeous and you have amazing taste.


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