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    

Vintage D&e Juliana Teal Flat Bracelet Chandelier Earrings Demi-parure Book Set!Vintage Juliana Demi Parure Necklace Collar Earrings Set Emerald Green MintVtg Sarah Cov Colorful Czech Givre Glass Rhinestone Necklace Bracelet Set ParureVintage Trifari Silvertone Blue Enamel & Rhinestone Flower ParureVintage Flower And Rhinestone Set/parure By Trifari: Necklace, Bracelet EarringsVintage Jewelry Luscious Lisner Demi Parure Brooch & Earrings Fuschia Blue GrnStunning Vintage Jomaz Parure Turquoise Green, Rhinestone Bracelet EarringsVintage Signed Trifari Choker Necklace W/ Bracelet & Earrings ParureVintage Estate Juliana D & E ? Demi Parure ~ Necklace And BraceletVintage Signed Coro Demi Parure Bracelet And Er Aurora And SilvertoneVendome Crystal Parure, Vendome Necklace, Bracelet Earrings Set, Multi StrandVintage Silver Tone Thermoset Bracelet Necklace Clip Earrings Parure Set! 4305bVintage Sarah Cov Brown Topaz Colored Demi Parure Set!! Neck/ Bracelet/ EarringsVintage Hobe Bracelet & Earrings Demi Parure Rhinestones Lucite Goldtone - Wow!Dazzling Vintg Aurora Borealis Rhinestone Brooch Demi Parure Set + BraceletVintage Mcm Matisse Copper & Red Enamel Bracelet Clipon Earrings Set Demi ParureVintage Carved Faux Coral Celluloid Rose ParureVtg Coro Caramel Brown Moonglow Lucite Thermoset Necklace & Bracelet Set ParureRetro Costume Vintage Jewlery Carnival Glass Demi Parure SetVintage Silver Tone Thermoset Necklace Bracelet Clip Earrings Parure Set!! 4304xAwesome Vintage Jewelry Demi Parure Signed Beau Jewels Brooch And Er Wow!!!Vintage Multi Color Fruit Salads Bezel Set Necklace Bracelet Earrings ParureVintage Crown Trifari Cascading Grapes Rhinestone Brooch Pin Earring Demi ParureVintage Silver Tone Cabochon Bracelet Necklace Clip Earrings Parure Set! 4305cVintage Ciner Cabochon Slide Married Demi ParureVintage Jewelry Demi Parure Brooch Earrings Lge Grn Navettes On GoldtoneVintage Sarah Coventry Demi Parure Set Green Glass Rhinestone Necklace EarringsVtg Weiss Pink Glass & Lilac Rhinestone Demi Parure Necklace & Screw Earrings Vintage Renoir Copper Double Leaf Necklace Bracelet Earrings Parure SetVintage Parure Necklace Bracelet Earrings Set Gold Toned Big Ex. Cond.Vintage Jewelry Demi Parure Stunning Brooch And Earrings Blue RhinestonesVintage Juliana D&e Delizza Bracelet Earrings Brooch Necklace Parure Set! S3861Vintage Deauville Demi Parure 3 Strand Necklace & Bracelet Crystal & Wht BeadsVintage Glass Cab Rhinestone Fruit Salad Bracelet Earrings Parure Selro SeliniVintage Antoinette 1/20 12k Gf Pink & White Rhinestone Leaf Demi ParureVintage Jewelry Demi Parure Awesome Red And Magenta Brooch And EarringsCrown Trifari Double Heart Clear Crystal Necklace Bracelet & Earrings Parure SetVintage Jewellery Parure Ab Blue Glass Necklace Bracelet Earrings Brooch Box SetOpulent Majestic Hobe' Aurora Borealis Rhinestones Demi-parureFabulous Les Bernard Demi Parure 1960's Boho Runway Lime Green Necklace EarringsVintage Demi Parure Jewelry Set Filigree Metal Rhinestone Western Germany BroochVintage Thermoset Plastic Leaf Choker Necklace Clip Back Earring Set Demi ParureSleek Vintage Crown Trifari Signed Satin And Highly Polished Gold Plated ParureVintage Art Deco Clear Rhinestone Leaf Dress Shoe Clip Buckle Set Demi ParureVintage Silver Tone Cab Necklace Bracelet Clip Earrings Parure Set!!! 4304wStunning Art Deco Emerald Cut Glass Rhinestone Bracelet Earrings Demi Parure SetPretty 12 Strand Aluminum Bracelet & Clip Earrings----demi Parure------vintageVintag Copp-tone Metal Clear Rhinestone Apple Fruit Pin & Earrings Demi-parureVintage Gold-tone Metal Molded Pink Lucite Rose Flower Pin Earrings Demi-parureKramer Signed Demi Parure - Vintage, Gold Tone, Multi-chain Necklace/earring SetBeautiful Green Crystal Rhinestone Necklace Earring Set Demi ParureVintage Blue Borealis Ab Rhinestone Floral Mold Brooch Earrings Demi Parure SetVintage Enamel Demi Parure Cabbage Rose Heart Locket W/ Chain, Screw On EarringsVintage Silver Tone Necklace Bracelet Floral Daisy Metal Jewelry Set Demi ParureVintage Signed Sarah Coventry Demi Parure Gold Tone Swirl Set Estate Lot G304Vintage Necklace Earring Set Demi Parure Golds And Ambers Fall ColorsBarrera For Avon Signed Demi Parure - Gold Tone, Pendant Necklace & Earring SetParure Of Vintage Jewellery By JewelcraftVintage Estate Rhinestone Faux Pearl Necklace Parure Brooch Earring Set!!! 6328mVintage Yellow Plastic Necklace And Clip Earrings Demi-parure!