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My Jewels Aren’t Fake, They’re Faux

July 13, 2015

When it comes to costume jewelry, I do NOT like people using the word fake. If it were up to me, fake would be reserved for talking about boobs, tans and knock-off designer handbags. Not jewelry!

I want to return to the era when ladies of style and substance flocked to the look of luxury, the feel of high quality, the thrill of wearing gorgeous costume jewelry…without the stigma of that awful label “fake.”

Just because a piece of jewelry isn’t solid 24k gold or encrusted with D-colored flawless diamonds doesn’t mean it isn’t fabulous! There are so many beautiful pieces of wearable art out there that don’t cost a fortune! SuthinGirl rocks a lot of them!

I laugh with my mom all the time about how I compulsively out myself when someone tries to pay me a compliment. For example:

Nice Person: “You look so fresh and rested! That vacation must have agreed with you!”
Me: “Ohmygosh, thank you! I just got Botox!”
Nice Person: [grabbing my wrist] “Look at that amazing bracelet! It’s incredible! Is it a family piece?”
Me: “This? Oh wow, no! It’s costume jewelry. I bought it years ago at Ann Taylor!”
SuthinGirl’s Mom: “Quit telling people that!! Just say thank you.”

Her point being that I should smile and graciously accept the compliment. But I can’t! I love sharing a good scoop with others way too much!

My love affair with costume jewelry began when I was a little girl playing in my grandmother’s jewelry box. She’d curated an amazing collection of vintage and costume pieces dating back to the 1940s. Running my fingers over the the brushed and Florentine gold textures, enjoying the whimsical and nature-inspired designs, and watching the light catch all those beautifully colored stones in shades of pink, blue, green… I was captivated!

That sweet lady left me a gorgeous bracelet from The Metropolitan Museum’s costume jewelry collection when she passed away. I can close my eyes and see her wearing it on her elegant wrist. It was one of her signature pieces and she wore it every day. She and my mother both taught me to mix beautiful costume pieces with my “good stuff.” I do it all the time!

While there’s nothing wrong with buying your costume jewelry from the Fab 5 (Nordstrom, Neimans, Saks, Bloomies and Bergdorf), chances are you’re going to see the same or a similar piece on someone you know. Like, a lot of someones.

As for me, I prefer to wear a piece that makes others stop and take notice because it’s unique and catches their eye. They want to know if it has a story. Where did it come from? Who gave it to me? How old is it?

On a practical note, costume jewelry is the perfect travel companion since it only looks expensive. Even so, I find myself locking it up in the in-room safe just as I would my engagement ring! The only fine jewelry I bring on trips are my engagement and wedding rings and my watch, and only because I never take them off. Everything else is costume.

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Me and my honey all dressed up and headed to an event in Berlin this past spring. These are my very favorite costume earrings! I love the pave crescent moon and little dangling stars. I always receive a TON of compliments when I wear them!

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A few of my favorite costume pieces I’ve collected over the years.

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Some vintage fine jewelry pieces I’ve inherited or received as gifts.

These provide inspiration when I’m hunting for costume pieces.


WHERE TO GO FOR YOUR FAUX

Feeling inspired? Ready to shop? Yes! Let’s take a look at a few of my fave vintage-inspired, fabulous costume jewelry pieces available to purchase online.

THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART STORE

I get a thrill perusing The Metropolitan Museum’s online shop. Each piece of jewelry they carry is a replica or was inspired by real pieces in the museum. Here you’ll discover unique pieces at reasonable price points. I hardly ever get out of there without sending something my way!

greek cuff

Greek Palmette Bracelet $75

mustard herb bracelet

Cloisters Mustard Herb Bracelet $50

north african link bracelet

North African Link Bracelet $150 

If you love this, check out the North African Pendant Necklace below!

mustard herb necklace

Cloisters Mustard Herb Necklace $110

Love both of these Mustard Herb pieces but would never wear the necklace and the bracelet at the same time…too matchy-matchy. Another tip passed down from my mother and grandmother was the “less is more” idea.

A lady should only wear one statement piece at a timeSo true!

pearl earrings

Venus Earrings, Black and White $60

These are so unique having one black and one white pearl in the set. They remind me of the fabulous pair that Sophie Rhys-Jones wore when she married Prince Edward in England back in 1999.

sophie pearls

I remember swooning as I read that the prince designed the black and white pearl earrings and cross necklace she wore especially for her as a wedding gift. So romantic!

peacock earrings

Byzantine Peacock Earrings $75

african necklaceIMG_6121

North African Pendant Necklace $315

mycenan necklace

Mycenaean Ornament Necklace $165

EBAY

I love searching eBay for costume pieces.

I combine the search term “vintage” with the following key words:
Flower
Leaf
Starburst
Buckle Bracelet
Clover
Costume jewelry designers I admire:
Kenneth Jay Lane
Miriam Haskell
Trifari

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Examples of fine costume jewelry waiting to be discovered on eBay.

Each of these babies is listed for under $100 & a few are as little as $10!

KATE SPADE

As far as whimsical accessory designers go, she’s tops. She also creates lovely classic pieces like this.

kate spade dress watch 2

Pave Tiny Metro Watch $195

ANTHROPOLOGIE

You will be hard pressed to find as many unique, vintage looking accessories in one place outside of eBay. Things go on sale all the time at Anthropologie, so if you see something you love but it’s a little pricey, sit tight and check back often.

anthro pearl studs

Pearl Bud Posts $38

These little darlings bear a striking resemblance to the legendary Jean Schlumberger’s famous acorn design for Tiffany & Co. which cost $1,700. See below!

jean schlumberger acorn earrings

ANN TAYLOR

Yes, Ann Taylor!! I bought that gorgeous pearl necklace and the black cuff with crystal brooch in my picture above there years ago!

hammered collar

Hammered Collar (OUT OF STOCK)

I recently bought this on sale! I’ve been coveting collar necklaces for a couple of seasons but hesitant to pull the trigger because when I’ve tried them on in the past I’ve found that, on me, they tend to lay funny around my collarbone. This one is perfect! It sits really well thanks to the hinges and adjustable length.

textured cuff

Textured Cuff (OUT OF STOCK)

The texture of this bracelet reminds me of Aaron Henry’s designs (see below), which I love but cost a fortune. This Ann Taylor cuff has that same twig texture and golden tone at a fraction of the price.

AARON HENRY JEWELRY 

And now for some aspirational confectionary! Covet! Love! Adore! These stunners are part of luxury jewelry designer Aaron Henry’s collection. It’s fun to dream big! Why not?

aaron henry necklace 2aaron henry braceletaaron henry earrings aaron henry necklace lariat aaron henry stack aaron henry broochaaron henry rings 2


BEAUTIFUL THINGS WERE MEANT TO BE ENJOYED

Have I got you fired up about adding to or starting your own costume jewelry collection? The most important thing to remember is buy what you love! Whatever captures your heart! And wear it often. Beautiful things were meant to be enjoyed! Oh, and it’s up to you whether you share your secret with your admirers. I promise not to tell! xx


Let’s close this post with a fun little game. One of the items in the picture below is not the real deal but a beautiful costume piece. Any guesses? Comment below!

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