Costume Jewelry, Beyond June Cleaver

By Special Guest Blogger

February 10th, 2011

Today’s guest blogger is Tamara Bradshaw, a jewelry collector and regular contributor to Show & Tell.

Most women own at least a few pieces of costume jewelry, perhaps received as hand-me-downs from family members. Too often, though, these strings of faux pearls, goldtone chains, strands of glass beads, and heavy brooches remain in the jewelry box because they seem, well, boring. But you can wear ordinary pieces like these without looking like June Cleaver, Barbara Bush, or, for that matter, Hillary Clinton. Here’s how.

My inspiration came from the BSK pin shown above. The back has a hook, or safety clasp, at the top so it was designed not only to be a pin but also an enhancer. People won’t take a second look at you wearing a string of pearls paired with a pin on your sweater. But when this pin is attached directly to the pearls, as seen below, they will wonder, “Where did you get that?”

The same pin-pendant combo with a Trifari gold chain also got me thinking about what else was in my jewelry box. I found a vintage Trifari double-strand bead necklace with a Sarah Coventry cherry brooch (below, left). I call that a Cherry Pop! I also found a double-strand Aurora Borealis crystal necklace with a BSK rhinestone brooch (below, center), and my favorite is a German Lucite triple strand necklace with two jade dynasty butterfly pins (below, right).

Got the idea? This can be done with any type of collection. Maybe you collect rhinestone frogs, marcasite salamanders, or enamel flowers. Those would also look amazing when paired with other pieces! So stop reading this and go directly to your jewelry box and turn your run-of-the-mill pieces into something clever, not Cleaver.

3 comments so far

  1. Sherri Powers Says:

    I love this article, and have a very large collection of pins and brooches that can be worn like the above featured photos. Thanks so much….you made my day!!

  2. Diane Eisenman Says:

    I can’t wear jewelry but that didn’t stop me from collecting 3 suitcases full! I don’t think any of it is worth anything but I love to just look at it once and awhile!!

  3. H. FOLEY Says:

    trying to find a necklace like my mother had it was brass like serpentine with three caved female indian heads the largest one with headress type head gear and tiny hooped earings i think,, the smaller ones were like ivory white and their features were painted in black to emphasize the features the large head slid up and down on the flat brass necklace i believe it might have been some kind of plastic not ivory they were made of would appreciate any help you can she had the necklace since i can remember and i am 55 years old she was born in 1927


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