To constitute a true parure, a set of jewelry must have at least three matching items. A set with only earrings plus a necklace, brooch, or bracelet is not considered a parure, but a demi-parure.

Deriving from the Old French verb for “to adorn,” a parure once referred to an entire wardrobe or suite of jewelry, often designed to be worn all at once. The concept has its origins in the flamboyance of Baroque and Rococo-era France, when aristocrats—men and women alike—adorned themselves with elaborate ornamentation, sky-high wigs, and makeup.

By the mid-17th century, jewelry stopped being individual works of art intended to convey personal meaning and became surface decoration, designed to convey one’s status and wealth. Women’s fashion featured plunging necklines and upward-pushed bosoms, creating décolletage begging to be decorated with sparkling jewels. Even though the French Revolution was reaction to the decadence of the royals, Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte loved to gift his wife Josephine with magnificent parures.

These wardrobes could consist of a necklace, comb, tiara, diadem, bandeau, pair of bracelets, pins, rings, chandelier or cluster stud earrings, brooch, aigrette (headdress adornment), and belt clasp. Originally the only uniting theme in a parure was the use of one or two kinds of stone. By the 19th century, however, the exact motifs were replicated in every piece of the parure. In 1878’s “The Art of Beauty,” Mary Eliza Haweis express disdain for this trend, which she blamed on industrialization.

Relatively affordable and pretty paste glass emerged in the 18th and 19th centuries as a substitute for rare gems, permitting the first costume jewelry, which was more accessible to the middle class than the real thing. During the Victorian era, it was customary for a groom to present his bride with a “corbeille de mariage,” or a casket containing at least part of the parure that her social life would require. This might contain a jeweled necklace, bandeau, tiara, cestus or girdle, armlets, bracelets, brooches, and shoe knots.

The proper Victorian lady would also have a more modest set of jewelry for daywear, usually made of plain gold. Often these types of parure would only consist of matching brooches, earrings, and a pair of bracelets—considered the respectable amount of jewelry to wear during the day. The daytime set could also include practical items like fine gold chains meant to hold eyeglasses, fans, and a châtelaine, which was worn suspended from the waistband of a dress and was designed to hold various useful objects like a watch, notebook and pencil, scissors, or a small perfume container known as a vinaigrette.

An antique parure still in its case is twice as valuable as a parure without one—the cases are often as opulent and elaborate as the jewelry they contained. It’s extremely rare to find a parure from the 18th century in good condition, while 19th-century sets are slightly more common. As costume jewelry grew in popularity in the 20th century, so did small parures and demi-parures, which is why these vintage sets are much easier to acquire.


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    

Verified Juliana Set Delizza & Elster Parure Necklace Bracelet Earrings Vintage Rare Juliana D&e Clear Jet Black Rhinestone Grand ParurePristine Signed Lisner Smokey Gray Glass Baguette Ab Rhinestone Demi Parure Lot!Vintage Set Necklace Bracelet Earring Lucite Flower Daisy Rhinestone Parure! 258Vintage Matisse Renoir Copper & Enamel Demi ParureVintage Signed Coro Blue Ab Rhinestone Necklace Bracelet Brooch Parure SetStanley Hagler N.y.c. Crystals & Poured Glass Brooch *part Of Grand Parure*Vintage Set Brooch Pin Earring Necklace Emerald Green Rhinestone Parure! 421Stanley Hagler N.y.c. Crystals & Poured Glass Necklace *part Of Grand Parure*Vtg Juliana Pretty In Pink Moonstone Rhinestone Necklace Earring Set Demi ParureVintage Lot Rhinestone Costume Jewelry Eisenberg Parure Weiss Claudette TrifariVintage Trifari Demi Parure White Cabochon Necklace Bracelet Earring Set SignedStanley Hagler N.y.c. Crystals & Poured Glass Bracelet *part Of Grand Parure*Antique Vintage Jewelry Lot 90 Pcs Bracelet Earrings Pin Pendant Necklace ParureStanley Hagler N.y.c. Crystals & Poured Glass Earrings *part Of Grand Parure*Stanley Hagler N.y.c. Necklace With 6.25" Crystal Pendant *part Of Demi Parure**trifari* Parure Woven Goldtone Choker Necklace, Bracelet & Clip Earrings Set!Outstanding Stanley Hagler Turquoise & Glass One Of A Kind Grand Parure Wow!!!!!Bogoff Rhinestone Arrowhead Necklace Bracelet Earrings Parure Vtg 1950s Signed Italy Micro Mosaic Demi Parure Set Flower Brooch Er Vintage Estate High End LotVintage Juliana D&e Clear Aurora Borealis Rhinestone Demi Parure SetVintage Sarah Coventry ~sabrina Fair~ Parure/3 Pc Set, Colorful Jelly Bean CabsPretty Pink & Clear Swarovski Crystal Demi-parure Signed, "monet"(36" Chain!!)Vintage Coro Set Baby Blue Rhinestone Choker Necklace/earrings Lot Demi ParureD&e Juliana Demi Parure In Red & Ab Set - Necklace & EarringsVintage Silvertone Rhinestone & Gray Moonstone Demi ParureSigned Bergere Vintage Set Necklace Bracelet Earring White Thermoset Parure! 257Vintage Costume Rare Moonglow Lucite Leru Bracelet Clip Earrings Demi Parure SetVintage Trifari Gold Tone 7.5" Bracelet 14.5" Choker Necklace Demi Parure SetVintage Signed Coro Rhinestone Confetti Lucite Bracelet Earrings Demi-parureCoro Thermoset Parure Necklace Bracelet EarringsVintage Unsigned Weiss Demi Parure Brooch Pin Clip Earrings Blue Rhinestone-exclDazzling Coro Demi-parure With Colorful Iris Topaz RhinestonesVintage Fuschia Blue & Ab Rhinestone Brooch Pin Clip On Earrings Set Demi ParureVintage Bracelet Earrings Demi Parure Set Amethyst Rhinestones Green Cabochons Vtg Brooch Pin Earrings Set Parure Button Celluloid Cameo Victorian 6Schiaparelli Vintage Bracelet & Earrings Demi Parure Vtg 80s 90 Givenchy Paris Ny Gold Logo Full Parure Runway Earrings Necklace PinExceptional Florenza Parure, Amethyst & Blue Stones, 3 Pc, Complete & Clean!Vintage Estate Boucher Green Glass Parure Pin Exceptional Stunning Ivana Trump Parure Double Strand Necklace Bracelet With Bezel Set CrystVintage Demi Parure- Necklace & Matching Clip On EarringsVintage Trifari Abstract Red & Clear Rhinestone Goldtone Demi-parureVintage Roget Cameo Silvertone Demi-parureFab Vintage Demi-parure Dbl. Strand Necklace Earrings Austrian Crystal BeadsVintage Full Parure Ornate Multi-stone & Faux Pearl Necklace Bracelet Earrings Fab Vintage Demi Parure Bracelet Necklace Signed Star Rhinestones & SilvertoneRare 1950 Kafin New York Full Parure Egyptian Revival Scarab Set Huge Vtg 80s Monet Couture Gold Chain Egg Runway Earrings Choker Demi Parure SetVtg Beau Jewels Enameled Flower Brooch & Earrings Demi Parure Set W/ RhinestonesVintage Costume Cameo Jewelry 8 Piece Lot Necklace, Earrings, Brooch Parure, AssStanley Hagler N.y.c. Earrings - Seed Beads & Rhinestones *part Of Demi Parure*Stunning! 2-die-4 Juliana Emerald Green & Clear Rhinestone 4 Pc ParureTrifari Fabulous Vintage Crown Signed Cab Stone Parure Vintage Hobe Necklace And Earrings Set Signed Glass Demi Parure SetVintage Minty Green 9 Strand Beaded Necklace Earring Set Demi ParureVtg Trifari Faux Angel Skin Coral Beaded Necklaces & Earring Set ~ Demi Parure!Avon Demi Parure-rhinestone& Flower Necklace W/ Matching Pierced EarringsVintage Park Lane Demi Parure Set Hematite Cab Silver Leaf Necklace & Earrings Sterling Pierced Parure Of Natural Blue Abalone Necklace, Bracelet And Earrings