Costume jewelry: the new powers that be?
In this turbulent, ever-changing modern world, with its hectic pace and dictating its own rules, are we trying to adapt, or going with the trend to seek the perfect solution?
The business and reality of jewelry is also changing. And among those changes, prominent is the revival of costume jewelry, especially from the big brands.
Yet, it is not about the logomania: people do not just want to see, buy and wear huge, flashy names and brand emblems, involuntarily becoming the walking billboards of brand identity.
No. They are looking for the character, for new, talented, and daring designers, and pieces that would speak for them: loudly, stylishly and individually.
What's in a name?
In the Cambridge Dictionary, costume jewelry is defined as "cheap jewelry made to look as if it is expensive".
When reduced to this simple definition, it does not sound like much.
We beg to differ.
What do we see?
Other than not being cheap (with prices ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand USD), high-end costume jewelry, designed by the creative minds of big brands, is fascinating, surprising, and inspiring, attracting bold, artistic and stylish buyers.
Recently, there has been a huge change at Bottega Veneta, providing a major space for jewelry at the frontline of its online shop.
Alongside variations of iconic, drop-shaped earrings and rings, featured on runways and worn by celebrities, you are invited into the world of jazzy, daring, borderline awkward pieces: spine earrings and necklaces; wire rings, earrings and cuffs; bolt earrings and rings, all of which look and feel as if they are tricky even to put on.
But once you dare take a chance on these glamorous eye candies, they will blend smoothly with your daily outfit and your bold personality.
Lanvin keeps adding fascinating statement pieces to their collection.
Some of their creations – Rateau rings, earrings, necklaces and bracelets, delicately featuring the mischievous, twisting cat's tail – are a tribute to the iconic cat by Armand-Albert Rateau, characterized as "the most eminent of the ensembliers, the high-style designer-decorators" by the Grove Encyclopedia of Decorative Arts.
Others are a nod to Jeanne Lanvin’s daughter Marguerite – a talented musician and singer. Minimalist and refined, they resemble the notes of music on a score.
Then there is the Mélodie line, inspired by Jeanne Lanvin's “Mélodie” dresses: an amalgamation of femininity and elegance.
Schiaparelli embraces stylistic freedom and keeps on amazing their audacious clientele with surreal and dreamlike, eerie and stunning creations.
In their anatomical collection, gilded hammered brass is shaped into semi-abstract eyes, mouths, faces, ears, noses and female busts, referencing Elsa Schiaparelli’s obsession with human body, transforming ordinary body parts into something extraordinary, adorning them with cabochons, pearls, and colorful stones.
Or take, for example, Schiaparelli's Finger Ring, divided into three segments, coordinated with the joints of the wearer’s finger. Will you dare to choose it?
What does the data say?
The research into the trends, size and growth of the global costume jewelry market claims that in 2021 its value reached USD 30.78 billion and it is expected to reach USD 47.13 billion by 2027, with a compound annual growth rate of 7.36% during 2021–2027.
The factors behind this growth, even after the COVID-19 pandemic, notorious for adding many unknown and fluctuating variables to so many industries, have been multiple.
Among these variables are the growing income, purchasing power, and fashion consciousness of buyers, especially among men, as well as intensified urbanization. After all, you are not as likely to sport a statement necklace while visiting your granny in the countryside.
Besides, designers and manufacturers have been more proactively diving into product innovations and customization (e.g. engraving names or special quotes to create a unique emotional connection with the pieces), as well as intensive promotional campaigns in social media, including influencer and celebrity endorsements, which has also added to the boost in the popularity of costume pieces.
Last, but not least, the ingredient that led to the growth in interest in costume jewelry is its cost-effectiveness and relative affordability. The considerable, sometimes unpredictable, price fluctuations for gold and precious stones makes fine jewelry unapproachable to a great many people. Meanwhile, less expensive costume jewelry, which has been revived by the creative minds of talented designers, remains a financially less burdensome and, safety-wise, less risky alternative for daily adornment.
What does the future hold?
The simplicity of having one eye-catching statement piece, which you can wear whenever you like, rather than store in a safe for special occasions, is a huge advantage of modern, high-level costume jewelry. And we can clearly see this trend gaining momentum.
Look at these pieces and let us know: what do you think?
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