The word “bling” wasn't added to the Merriam Webster dictionary until 2006, but the concept has been familiar to costume jewelry designers for decades. One of their favorite expressions of bling was the necklace, which is perhaps the showiest of all jewelry forms, thanks to the way it puts its bright baubles and sparkling effects front and center.

Hollywood stars such as Joan Crawford were hip to costume jewelry necklaces early on—she was a regular client of acclaimed costume jeweler Miriam Haskell. Vintage Haskell necklaces are among the designer’s most sought-after pieces. Some have only a single strand of faux pearls. Others have multiple strands in matching or different sizes and hues—from traditional white to smoldering dark brown. Even the clasps are opportunities for embellishment, with pearls, rose montées, and filigree decorating their ends.

Legendary designer Coco Chanel was another fan of costume necklaces, providing faux-pearl and glass-bead necklaces to such stars as Katherine Hepburn and a very young Elizabeth Taylor. After World War II, Christian Dior combined faux rubies or emeralds with sparkling rhinestones. Greta Garbo, Claudette Colbert, and Vivian Leigh are just a few of the other influential movie stars who routinely wore costume necklaces.

One designer whose main focus was Hollywood was Eugene Joseff. His company, Joseff of Hollywood, designed stunning costume jewelry necklaces for such films as “A Star is Born” (1936), “Casablanca” (1942), and “To Catch a Thief” (1955). In that Alfred Hitchcock classic, Grace Kelly wore a Joseff necklace with a spectacular strand of fake diamonds.

Indeed, by the 1950s, costume jewelry necklaces had become so respectable that Mamie Eisenhower felt perfectly comfortable wearing Trifari costume jewelry to the 1953 inaugural ball.

To match the First Lady’s pink satin gown (dripping with 2,000 rhinestones), Trifari’s Alfred Philippe designed an "orientique" pearl choker with matching three-stranded bracelet and earrings, each laden with eight pearls. Three sets were made: one for the First Lady, a second for the Smithsonian, and a third for the Trifari archives. Mrs. Eisenhower was so pleased with the ensemble that she had Trifari make jewelry for her second inaugural ball in 1957.

Other collectible vintage costume jewelry necklaces include Coro’s Vendome rhinestone-studded chokers, Elsa Schiaparelli’s “shocking pink” lava-rock collars, and Stanley Hagler’s faux coral floral necklaces.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Researching Costume Jewelry

Researching Costume Jewelry

Jewelry lovers, venture through this amazing database of vintage jewelry articles, catalogs, and brochures, as well… [read review or visit site]

Emerald City Vintage Costume Jewelry

Emerald City Vintage Costume Jewelry

It looks like we're not in Kansas anymore with Elizabeth Rowlands' site on vintage costume jewelry from the 1940s a… [read review or visit site]

Morning Glory Antiques and Jewelry

Morning Glory Antiques and Jewelry

Jewelry collectors, feast your eyes on this internet gem! It's a goldmine of jewelry information featuring all styl… [read review or visit site]

All About Jewels Dictionary

All About Jewels Dictionary

This incredible reference dictionary on jewelry, from Enchantedlearning.com, is both beautiful and comprehensive. S… [read review or visit site]

Cathy Gordon's Jewelry Gallery

Cathy Gordon's Jewelry Gallery

With its vast galleries featuring clear images of jewelry and style, this site really covers it all! Divided up by … [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Most watched eBay auctions    

Antique Art Deco Germany Sterling Silver Marcasite Hematite Pendant NecklaceVtg Chinese Filigree Carved Carnelian Bead Pendant Necklace Dangle Earrings SetVtg 1960s Signed Boucher Goldtone Persian Turquoise Glass Rhinestone NecklaceVtg 1940s Victorian Revival Peking Amethyst Glass Rhinestone Goldtone NecklaceVintage Karl Lagerfeld Paris Signed Runway Goldtone Mesh Gripoix Pearl NecklaceVtg Art Deco Alexandrite Open Back Openback Crystal Glass NecklaceUnusual Antique Art Deco Egyptian Revival Carved Celluloid Galalith NecklaceGorgeous Vintage Antique Art Deco Peacock Foil Venetian Glass Bead NecklaceRare Vintage Kenneth Jay Lane Crystal Rhinestone Headlight Collar Bib NecklaceVtg Art Deco Signed Czech Glass Bezel Set Open Back Crystal 47” NecklaceVintage Art Deco Czech Vauxhall Glass Emerald Green NecklaceAntique Art Deco Neiger Brothers Uranium Art Glass Bead NecklaceVintage Art Deco Venetian Moretti Millefiori Glass Bead NecklaceVtg 1960s Modernist Brutalist Glass Pendant Choker Silver Tone NecklaceVintage Antique Art Deco 1930s Iris Rainbow Venetian Glass Crystal Bead NecklaceVintage Impossible To Find 80's Heavy Signed Fendi Glass Pearl Sautoir NecklaceVintage Art Deco Silver Filigree Enamel Flower Lapis Glass NecklaceBeautiful Iridescent Foil Bohemian Glass Bead Art Deco Necklace For RestringingAntique Vintage Bohemian Garnet NecklaceChanel Gold Plated Cc Logos Coin Charm Vintage Chain Necklace Pendant #964aVintage* Signed Crown Trifari * Crown Jewels Necklace & Brooch Set W Glass CabsRare Antique Victorian Silver & Genuine Scarab Beetle Bib NecklaceVtg Original By Robert Gold Plate Mesh Turquoise Coral Pink Art Glass NecklaceImpossible To Find Vintage Signed Graziano Jeweled Mogul Pearl Snake NecklaceVintage Art Deco Rhodium Plate Rhinestone Emerald Green Givre Art Glass NecklaceChanel Gold Plated Cc Logos Medal Charm Vintage Chain Necklace Pendant #927aVintage Antique Art Deco Millefiori Venetian Italian Glass Bead Long NecklaceVintage Art Deco Czech Egyptian Revival Neiger Scarab Flower Glass Bead NecklaceVintage Art Deco Carved Apple Juice Bakelite Pendant NecklaceOversized Vintage Givenchy Paris 80's Ruby Gripoix Glass Runway NecklaceVtg 1920-30's Art Deco "czech" Lapis Art Glass Enamel Gilded Filigree NecklaceAntique Banded Agate Bead NecklaceVintage Retro Art Deco Cherry Amber Bakelite Beads Necklace 28.8gStunning Ruby & Diamond Rhinestone Necklace *hattie Carnegie* Designer Jewelry, Wow Signed Ora Vintage Ralph Singer Set Necklace Bracelet Pink Rhinestone T169Museum Quality Vintage 70's Unsigned Ciner Emerald Eye Runway Panther NecklaceAntique Vintage Victorian Gold Filled Enamel Locket Watch Fob Chain NecklaceVery Good Antique Victorian Genuine Whitby Jet Necklace For Restoration.Vtg 1920-30's Art Deco Czech Peridot Green Glass Enamel Gilded Filigree NecklaceStanley Hagler Gorgeous Bright Orange Glass Bead Rhinestone NecklaceAntique 1918 Delicate Filigree Art Deco Necklace Patent 1257158Art Deco Hand Knotted Cherry Amber Bakelite Beaded Necklace 20.5"Roger Jean Pierre France Extremely Rare Emerald Green & Ice Rhinestone NecklaceGerda Lynggaard Monies 30 Strand Carved Horn Bead Wood Vintage Couture NecklaceVintage 3-strand Graduated Blue Venetian Wedding Cake Glass Bead Choker NecklaceExquisite Brand Vintage Necklace & Matching Brooch - N29Museum Quality 1980's Signed Escada Authentic Fuchsia Floating Pearl NecklacePretty Vintage 1950's; Finely Hand Crafted Glass Daisy Flowers & Beads: NecklaceVintage Massive Runway Lucite Hearts Ysl - Yves Saint Laurent NecklaceFormer Iradj Designer Signed C&d Semi Precious Topaz & Agate Runway NecklaceVintage Ciner Emerald Green Crystal & Rhinestone Necklace & Earrings SetVintage Venetian Art Deco Matched Millefiori Aventurine Glass Bead NecklaceVtg 80s Christian Dior Couture Mogul Jewel 4" Maltese Cross 36" Sautoir NecklaceOver The Top Courreges Pairs Emerald Green & Faux Pearl Runway NecklaceVintage Purple Bezel Set Swarovski Crystal Unsigned Necklace 36"Chanel Gold Plated Cc Imitation Pearl Vintage Necklace Pendant Choker #948aVintage Art Deco Egyptian Revival Enamel Face Necklace Locket, Marked NrVintage Beautiful Signed Goldette Amethyst Bezel Set Glass St Necklace/chokerGorgeous Vintage Antique Bohemian Red Garnet Stone Drop Bead Pendant NecklaceVintage Victorian Revival 1950’s - 60’s Garnet Glass Flower Pendant Necklace