Jewelry used to update clothing, status


Many folks – ladies and some gentlemen alike – develop a sense of renewal by utilizing jewelry of several forms with their previous worn attire.

This concept was employed by catalog companies, like Sears and Roebuck, Montgomery Ward and Spiegel during the early ’30s when the big depression was beginning.

The early 1930 catalog featured fewer suits and dresses than the previous years plus lower prices than the late 1920s. Their costume jewelry section was, however, enlarged in the early 1930s.

Sales pitches. Ads stated that a new dress may cost two or three dollars, however the old attire could be revitalized by the wearer and would appear more dressed by a new 56 inch length of unbreakable imitation pearls for less than 30 cents.

The sales pitch emphasized costume jewelry more than new clothing. Ads stated that genuine cut and pressed crystal and rock crystal was the smartest and quite attractive in their jewelry creations, the sparkle of cut rock crystal so closely resembled diamonds glitter that only close examination revealed the difference.

Due to the fact more customers were quite limited in variety expenses the real stones, whether pyrite (marcasite) or rock crystal well faceted, set in silver mountings were affordable.

Jewels. Also more ladies were influenced by Hollywood’s adorned actresses and such flashy appearance gave glamour to local damsels in the evening.

This new costume jewelry also was quite large, more prominent and heavier than previous fashion eras.

The long drooping rectangular earrings and necklaces were very much the vogue now named the Art Deco era. These elaborate cut crystal, marcasite and silver mountings about 15 inches long cost over $4.

Marcasite was quite easily available and possesses a bright gold hue, so it is quite suitable for sparkling costume jewelry, and crystals were very small to about one-quarter of an inch in diameter.

Marcasite is found encircling other natural minerals. Chrysoprase, with a fine jade green hue, or black onyx perhaps also carnelian with its bright orange tint was used. This latter would contrast too strongly with the gold color marcasite and would not be attractive to contrasting colored stones.

Older designs. If perhaps the reader has the opportunity to view ads from the early 1930s, the term used by some was “modernistic.” This is actually the Art Deco material.

Not all costume jewelry during this era was created in the modernistic fashion, the older designs of the early 1900s was also available.

These older designs were updated some however. Natural gold coloring was enhanced with a fine trace of black enameling outlining the incised designs, thusly it was hoped to bring about a more expensive appearance compared to similar pieces without the black enameling.

These new revivals of antique jewelry possessed certain qualities that readily separated them from earlier Victorian jewelry however.

Rhinestones increased in popularity during this era. Sears and Roebuck took the lead by advertising rhinestones as a necessary useful costume accessory to be worn any time of the day in all seasons.

These pieces were forerunners of jewelry mountings utilizing white platinum metal treated with rhodium to retard tarnishing.

Artificial desire. Some advertisements tend to lead some customers into beliefs that create an artificial desire.

Sears and Roebuck’s catalog in 1936 and 1937 stated “nothing adds to the costume more than a rhinestone accessory.”

True Rhinestone has a glitter and sparkle closely resembling a genuine diamond whether it is set in a brooch, bracelet, earrings, belt buckle or any other dressy accessory.

Clips were quite popular due to their use as a dress adornment, attached to a hat or even a purse. These were often quite large compared to previous era similar jewelry, a plus in their sales was that these clips were not very expensive and even plain types served its purpose as well as expensive types.

Fashions are usually started by some well known individual, a historical event, even a national tragedy. When King Tuts tomb was discovered many Egyptian motifs became popular.

Due to the economy crunch in the 1930s, rings followed the trend of lessening diamond mountings. Some were enhanced by surrounding smaller stones with less expensive stones so a larger than reality was accomplished.

Wedding rings. Instead of small diamonds set in the circumference of the wedding ring, a single stone was placed across the top.

During the 1920s, ladies pulled their hair back baring more neck and their ears for jewelry to adorn. All types of such accessories became available, including pendant earrings, fancy combs, barrettes, long necklaces and hair clips.

Jewelry has been adorning men and women since the beginning of recorded history. Some wore their only wealth, others vanity dictated.


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