In costume jewelry, glass is an umbrella term covering everything from beads to crystals to rhinestones. Though it is most often associated with beads, the material’s roots go back to the Victorian Era, when glass was used as a substitute for diamonds.

Throughout much of the 19th century, Vauxhall glass—which can be clear, colored, or backed with mirror—was fastened onto pins and earrings. In the 20th century, Italian glass beads from factories on the island of Murano company became popular in necklaces. The popularity of glass in costume jewelry waned during the middle of the century, when Bakelite bangles and Lucite Jelly Bellies were all the rage, but saw a rebirth in the 1990.


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