The evolution of fashion and love for all things beautiful has made it easier to experiment with unconventional and newer trends. Jewellery is one such element of style and fashion that has undergone its own evolution. From gold, silver, and precious stones, we have come to adapt to and love their alternatives in costume jewellery. Also known as fashion jewellery or art jewellery, these innovative accessories have become an integral part of every woman’s wardrobe. So much so that it has turned into a significant industry, one which has been growing at the speed of light. Costume jewellery is innovative, easily available, and versatile. While this may look like a rising trend, such accessories have been around since time immemorial.
How it All Started
In the early days of human civilization, women who were not privileged enough to be royalty, would use natural materials like wood, stones, shells, or beads to create jewellery and adorn themselves. Of course, there was no official term for such accessories. It was only in the 1920s, that the word ‘costume jewellery’ was first coined. While most ornamentation was made with precious metals like gold, silver, platinum etc. women also favoured creative and unique designs in fashion jewellery which were made with pearls, base metals, and other semi-precious stones. It enabled women to adopt new trends and own more varieties of accessories without investing in precious jewels or metal.
With the industrial revolution, creative artists gained more freedom and became more expressive with designs and styles. With increasing interest in instant fashion, counter culture, and celebrity styles, fashion jewellery started gaining mainstream status. With more classification of social segments, it was easier for the middle and the upper middle classes to afford royalty-like jewellery styles at much lower costs.
In the later decades, costume jewellery was made using artificial and acrylic stones, imitation gold, Bakelite, Lucite, and other alloys, which were easily mouldable into unique designs and shapes. A new generation of jewellery designers emerged with newer additions to this trend and introduced rhinestones and crystals to replace diamonds, glass, corals, amber, and quartz to replace other precious stones and so on. Thus, it reached a place where these accessories could easily replace the style and need for gold and silver jewellery and still make a fashion statement.
In recent years, there has been a significant rise in the global costume jewellery market. In India particularly, there has been an unprecedented increase in the trend with a growing customer base around the world. With fashion brands producing innovative and indigenous designs, it attracts women who want to reinvent their style statement and explore multicultural fashion.
Why Fashion Jewellery?
The reasons to wear jewellery has been pretty much the same since mankind first realized the concept of ‘looking good’. However, currently there are more practical and emotional reasons that drive the trend towards these alternatives. In a 2016 industry research, experts have predicted a radical growth in the manufacturing and design of fashion jewellery owing to the ever-evolving fashion needs of the new age consumer.
First of all, the current global market is dominated by the millennial consumer, who is more driven by the emotional need of ‘looking and feeling good’ at all times. They are in constant need of something new, something different than what their peers or predecessors wore and yet they cannot always invest in precious and expensive jewellery. Fashion jewellery fulfils that need for them.
Secondly, the sky-high prices of precious metals like gold, platinum, titanium etc. are pushing consumers away from investing in them as compared to the earlier generations. The jewellery assets that they own were mostly passed down through generations as heirlooms, are too traditional in designs and have heritage value, which they want to protect at all costs. At the same time, their fashion needs also must be fulfilled. The modern, urban woman needs an appropriate accessory to enhance her looks at work, meetings, weddings, or parties. And such needs can only be fulfilled with cheaper, yet prettier alternatives.
We see a big change in wedding trends. From destination weddings to changing bridal fashion, such events have made consumers explore a variety of looks and styles. With fashion jewellery, it is easier to have several different looks for different events at weddings and all without burning a hole through the pocket. Also, while traveling, it is much safer to carry these lightweight, cheaper versions of expensive jewellery in order to avoid hassles of international customs regulations or the risk of theft.
On a Parting Note…
Fashion jewellery is a delightful and creative blend of modern designs, traditional concepts, and affordability, without compromising on the style quotient of the millennial woman. Furthermore, as the trend appears, the future generation of women will opt for simpler and more economical fashion accessories, a trend that fashion jewellery designers are aware of and are striving to address.