Closet 101 Style

Designer Costume Jewelry – Worth the Price?

I have been lucky to meet some great ladies through this blog, and one (the lovely GG) brought up a topic which I myself have been thinking about lately, after seeing some gorgeous costume jewelry pieces on a recent window shopping trip through Barney’s. I thought GG’s question was quite interesting and wanted to hear reader’s thoughts on this topic (her question below, paraphrased/edited for length):

Do you think a $2,000 Chanel necklace (from it’s jewelry line) is worth the price for what’s basically fake pearls?  The $2,000 price tag is negligible, it could be $5,000, it could be $500, it’s just the fact that you could get something in a similar price range for something that is not made of glass and wire and some pretty enamel/resin. Do you think that that money is better spent on some other jewelry (VCA, Cartier, etc) that’s “real”?

 

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I have long admired Chanel costume jewelry, and have often toyed with the idea of adding one of these pearl necklaces/belts like that one above to my collection. I have mentioned in the past that I don’t particularly have a great “eye” for costume jewelry – I have a few pieces but they were all fairly inexpensive (under $100 or so) and even those don’t get the cost per wear that I would like.

For me personally, I find most designer/upscale costume jewelry to be quite expensive for the product, and that combined with my lack of confidence in selection has meant that I usually stay away from it. On the Chanel question in particular, I have always found Chanel costume jewelry to be particularly beautiful and every season there are a few breathtaking pieces. The prices though always are on the breathtaking side as well, especially since I have quite heard from quite a few friends that many pieces simply do not hold up well over moderate periods of time and use. I remember going to the Madison location with a good friend’s fiancée to shop for bridesmaid’s gifts, and when she picked up a brooch, a stone literally fell off from it. And the sales associate didn’t even bother to look surprised!

A close up of the same necklace...notice anything? (images via Fashionphile)

A close up of the same necklace…notice anything? (images via Fashionphile)

So, my personal verdict in light of my budget and second hand experiences are that designer costume jewelry are generally not worth the price…for me. I already have an ever expanding list of “fine” jewelry items that I’d like to add to my collection one day – with the high prices of costume jewelry, adding them to my shopping list would be disastrous for my budget!

Now that I covered the cons to buying luxury costume jewelry – I thought I might cover some of the pros as well. I also know quite a few people who own and collect costume jewelry (like Justin with his amazing collection, here), and who are extremely happy with their purchases. Some of these friends who are delighted with some of their designer costume pieces are the same ones I mentioned earlier, who also own Chanel pieces that have disappointed them. To me, the corresponding advice would be – when purchasing expensive costume jewelry items, test the pieces out! Make sure that the stones are secure, and that the quality is in line with the luxury price being charged.

Also, at the end of the day, just like with costume jewelry, most luxury goods out there aren’t made with particularly rare materials. Hermes bags are made out of leather, not gold dust (well at least not that I get shown). Louis Vuitton shawls are made out of silks, cottons, and cashmeres. Of course they might use a better grade of material and have fantastic craftsmanship – and when you are buying designer costume jewelry, hopefully both will be present!

My favorite piece of costume jewelry

My favorite piece of costume jewelry

Finally, while I generally not to purchase expensive costume jewelry at this point in my life, what really matters is how much you personally love an item, and the amount of utility you’ll get from a piece. If you buy a $5,000 Chanel runway piece that you a) wear all the time and/or b) receive enormous happiness from, then to me, you’ve satisfied the most important requirements! The one item that I own that might be considered a designer costume piece would be my Hermes Collier de Chien (CDC) bracelet, which I have received great wear and satisfaction from. To me, this purchase was definitely 100% worth it. And if I find more pieces like this in the future, then perhaps I will be changing my stance on costume jewelry!

All right, now that I’ve prattled on about my debating thoughts on this subject…I’d love to hear yours! How do you feel about expensive, luxury branded costume jewelry? Do you buy it, and why or why not?

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  • Groupthink7
    April 8, 2013 at 8:19 am

    Katherine, from personal experience, I think costume jewelry should be bought as cheaply as possible. I just started wearing costume jewelry from Ann Taylor and that is because I work there. To me costume jewelry was my Tiffany’s, Lois Hill, John Hardy, Scott Kay, and Judith Jacks sterling silver. I think in regards to Chanel you are paying for the name. The Louis Vuitton scarves are not worth the money. I have two made of wool and silk. The black one in which I wear all the time has ran and has little knit balls on it. As I mentioned before, luxury is not luxury anymore. You are paying for a name. I try to buy more natural jewelry and merchandise now. I love wooden jewelry, brass, sterling silver, gold, platinum, diamonds, pearls, and etc. I also like ethnic African jewelry and turquoise. I think you can find some great pieces out there that are original and look great on. Some people may beg to differ that buying jewelry from such brands mentioned in your article constitutes value and a great return on investment. I think that you can take that money and have something custom made to your liking instead of paying thousands of $$$$$$ for something that everyone else is wearing it.

    For example look at Hermes. Hermes was an exclusive brand and now you see many people wearing it rather fake or real. I ask myself if I am going to purchase something, I want to purchase it because I like it and not because someone dictates that I should have it. A lot of things that were exclusive are not so much anymore.

    • Prêt à Porter P
      April 8, 2013 at 11:16 am

      Well said. I agree about buying something because you genuinely want it not for status or because you “should.” and also I would be annoyed to spend a lot of money on something to see 7476839725 people have it–but then again there’s a difference to what’s popular on the internet (where was i when chanel bags were being handed out for free?) to what’s popular in one’s own environment (Michael kors bags)..

      Speaking of Chanel, I’m no expert but sometimes their costume jewelry is more expensive than some of their “fine” jewelry. I wear mostly cheap crap, vintage costume jewelry, or lead crystal.

      • Katherine
        April 8, 2013 at 11:57 am

        You are right on the costume being more expensive than some of the “fine” – the prices sometimes seem a bit disjointed.

    • Katherine
      April 8, 2013 at 12:06 pm

      I think Ann Taylor has some lovely costume jewelry pieces and the prices (Especially on sale) are always great. I love your take on brands/luxury and custom work. Ethnic African jewelry and turquoise sounds lovely, do you have anywhere in particular that you buy it?

      • Groupthink7
        April 9, 2013 at 7:31 am

        Sorry for the delay Katherine. I usually buy my African jewelry from around my house at this store called Global Fusion. They have a website at http://shop.globalfusiononline.com/main.sc. Also, I have collected some items from living in Japan and having a close British friend who is from Ghana and brings me things from holiday. Also, I buy jewelry from Dollybird Design. She is out of Chicago and some her items are on etsy.com I think one of a kind pieces are better to invest in because they show your individuality. Don’t get me wrong, I like luxury items, but they are becoming a little bit overrated over the years in terms of quality and the huge markup.

        • Katherine
          April 9, 2013 at 6:33 pm

          Thank you! I’ve seen Dollybird before, beautiful items 🙂 We are traveling this year so hope that I pick up some lovely pieces like yours!

      • Jenn S
        April 9, 2013 at 9:59 pm

        I personally love J.Crew costume jewelry…on sale. I typically like to try on necklaces/bangles before I purchase them and J.Crew seems to have a good variety when they have their sale. Personally, I try not to purchase items that are over $100 and I try to purchase only a handful each year that are suitable for both work and weekends. I seem to get the most cost per wear on those items.

        I also have a few Hermes bracelets and notice that I don’t wear the ones that I purchase on my own. I hate to admit this but I tend to wear the ones that my boyfriend purchases for me. Mostly because I feel guilty for not wearing something that he took the time to purchase. With many wears, I eventually get a little nick on the bracelet and it is easier for me to add it into my daily wear.

        I really believe that, no matter how much you spend on an item, as long as you love it and it is something within your budget, its a good find.

        Great post! 🙂

  • adele
    April 8, 2013 at 9:57 am

    This is a great debate. I think you can get some great designer piecesthat don’t cost the earth & my designer jewellery collection is proof of that! I’ve just posted a couple of new pieces today.
    Have a wonderful week Hun xoxo
    http://www.intotheblonde.com/

  • Kholá
    April 8, 2013 at 10:01 am

    Excellent post as I’ve wondered about this myself. Personally I won’t buy Chanel costume jewelry as I just don’t think it’s worth it. I could buy a real piece for what their costume goes for. Just my opin…..I do love me some Hermes though 🙂

  • this gorgeous life
    April 8, 2013 at 10:16 am

    Honestly i think it depends on the piece, what it’s worth to you and how much you’ll wear it. I think the Hermes CDC is a great piece and worth it, It’s well made and has stood the test of time. I also love the plain/solid Chanel necklaces/earrings without pearls/ other embellishments and Oscar de la renta jewelry – I’ve found they wear well and are long lasting especially vintage pieces.

    • Katherine
      April 8, 2013 at 12:05 pm

      OdlR has some beautiful pieces, so glad to hear that they wear well!

  • Mrs C
    April 8, 2013 at 10:30 am

    No, I don’t buy expensive costume jewelry because I hardly accessorize so I don’t see the need to buy. I do have some pieces from Tiffany’s and a pair of earrings from Chanel but they are all gift from my husband. Frankly I would rather buy a nice gold bracelet that I can wear daily.

    GREETINGS FROM DUBAI
    MRS JACK OF ALL TRADES
    http://mrsjackofalltradesdaily.blogspot.ae/

    • Katherine
      April 8, 2013 at 12:05 pm

      A gold bracelet sounds lovely 🙂

      • susan
        November 6, 2014 at 7:22 am

        If you stop paying exorbitant prices for designer costume you will be able to afford solid gold pieces. I used to pay outrageous amounts for Chanel Costume and after a few wears the faux stones were falling out of their settings. I will only buy Chanel Costume if it is a quality vintage piece, pre 1980’s. I have found that Chanel pieces made since the 1990’s are not quality pieces, I would rather wear Christian Lacroix. His jewelry is well made, at least that has been my experience.

        • Katherine
          November 7, 2014 at 2:54 pm

          Thank you for the feedback on Christian Lacroix! Will keep an eye out.

  • Aesthetic Alterations
    April 8, 2013 at 10:38 am

    I am not much of a “real” jewelry person. Most of that have been gifts (“most” being an exceptionally small number), and I will inherit part of my mother’s extensive collection of lovely diamond and precious stone pieces—nothing like VCA or Cartier, but like I said, it’s not my thing anyway. On the flip side, I love bold costume jewelry, as well as silver pieces. I’ve picked three luxury/designer brands to acquire when the desire grows too large to ignore—horn and silver from Hermès and lead crystal jewelry from Baccarat and Lalique. The quality of the pieces is fabulous—no problems at all—and they make me ridiculously happy whether they are low or high in cost.

    • Katherine
      April 8, 2013 at 11:59 am

      I have always enjoyed reading about your favorite jewelry pieces and the stories behind them! I love Baccarat jewelry as well and would love to add a piece one day. I agree with you that the price isn’t ridiculous considering the quality.

      • Groupthink7
        April 9, 2013 at 8:51 am

        I have a Baccarat red cuff bracelet. I am scared to wear it. I think it may crack.

  • Jill
    April 8, 2013 at 10:57 am

    Most of my costume jewelry is from J. Crew and I’ve been pretty happy with it. I do own some vintage costume jewelry, which I especially love, because I got the pieces for excellent prices and no one else ever owns another one like it (that I’ve come into contact with, anyway). I do have one small Chanel pendant that I got on eBay for a great price, it’s red, green and gold, with a faux pearl in the center and very subtle branding, it’s easy to miss the “CHANEL” on the side. I think it’s the only Chanel costume jewelry piece I will ever own. If I buy any expensive jewelry, it will be from Cartier. I have my eye on one of their Tank watches and can even justify the price in my mind because it will become something that can be passed down to my daughter or even a granddaughter one day. Great topic!

    • Katherine
      April 8, 2013 at 11:58 am

      A Tank watch is lovely, I’ve had mine for about a decade and it is still running strong (with some battery changes). The pendant sounds lovely!

  • Ammu
    April 8, 2013 at 11:09 am

    I love my gold and silver pieces as well as my wooden bangles and bone necklaces. But i also love costume jewelry by Marni and Mawi. My pieces from both designers are still in fantastic condition, four years after purchase. As for Chanel, I was lucky to source a vintage necklace which cost a fair bit but I would never buy their new jewelry. I don’t think the quality is as good. I also own a few costume pieces made in India by designer friends of mine. In the end I think it depends on how much use and pleasure one gets out of jewelry.

    • Katherine
      April 8, 2013 at 11:58 am

      I’ve heard the same thing about vintage Chanel costume jewelry and my mother has a piece that has worn for decades well. Costume jewelry in India always seems to be like such a better value and with such gorgeous designs as well.

  • KarenP
    April 8, 2013 at 11:23 am

    Chanel costume jewellery usually has too many logos for me. I have a couple of Hermes leather bracelets and some enamels that get some wear. Unfortunately the CDC is too popular for me now, I think jewellery should be more personal than that.

    However I definitely prefer ‘real’, I got some Annoushka pieces from my husband for a recent birthday and like them. The pearl earrings (also worn by the Duchess of Cambridge) are really lovely.

    • Katherine
      April 8, 2013 at 11:56 am

      The pearl earrings sound really lovely! You know I love my CDC and would like to add another however like you said it is too popular and there are so many fakes – I hope it dies down later and then I will see if I will add another 🙂

  • Hera
    April 8, 2013 at 11:27 am

    I share the same feelings. I love Chanel costume jewelry very much, but I got upset when either the fake pearl peels off, or the rhinestone came off and it is not a piece that I should bring it to the store and fix it that kind of thing.

    I also have super allergic skin which makes the decision easier.
    Not to mention, cartier, VCA, etc…holds its value and appreciate versus costume jewelry might be broken.. 🙁 in tears.

    • Katherine
      April 8, 2013 at 11:56 am

      Hi my friend! So nice to hear from you.. I’ve heard about the fake pearl peeling, what a disappointment!

  • Susan
    April 8, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    Hi Katherine! This is an off-topic question. I’ve never bought a luxury bag like Hermes, so I was curious, does Hermes or other luxury retailers ever offer insurance for their items (such as with fine jewelry?) Maybe this question totally reveals my newbie ignorance, but I ask because I would feel nervous owning a bag that might be worth more than my wedding ring and would feel more comfortable if I had that security. 🙂
    Thanks!

    • Katherine
      April 8, 2013 at 1:47 pm

      Hi Susan, not a newbie at all! Not to my knowledge though I think some ladies might carry an insurance rider out that covers bags, jewelry etc 🙂

      • Lauren
        April 9, 2013 at 4:09 am

        Susan brings out an interesting question. I, too am a newbie and was wondering about what percentage of the bag/jewelry price the rider would cost? Do insurance companies do one where they protect it in case of ruin(by rain, or something else)/theft/loss? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. I’ve never even thought about insurance like this! Perhaps I’ve been raised in too asian of a family.

        • Katherine
          April 9, 2013 at 6:35 pm

          You know I’m not too sure as I don’t have it either – all I know is my engagement ring which costs maybe less than 1% of it’s value to insure each year?

          • Susan L
            April 12, 2013 at 3:41 am

            Thanks 🙂 My husband is wary about buying something at that price point without some sort of theft insurance. haha. Maybe if I were to convince him that some sort of insurance exists, he would be willing to look into buying one for me. (might be wishful thinking though.. hehe)

  • Olivia
    April 8, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    I think it depends on the piece and how valuable of a role it may play in your wardrobe. I agree that on the surface, designer costume jewelry is expensive for what it is, and you are paying for the name to a large degree. Having said that, I find that selected pieces (e.g. a vintage Chanel crystal sautoir, Hermes horn or exotic leather, or even better, vintage pieces by real jewelry designers e.g. Miriam Haskell, Schiaparelli) end up being worth their price if I can wear them over and over, with a variety of outfits, from casual to more dressy.
    These give off a unique “vibe” in the wearing, that is very different from that of fine jewelry.

    I think your ombre lizard CDC is a classic, high quality and unique piece which can “make” an outfit and is the perfect example of something I would consider “worth the price”. 🙂

  • Melanie
    April 8, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    Wow, I did not know that price tag of a Chanel necklace was on something that is not even made from real pearls or gold. I sort of just assumed for that price, you’d think you get the real thing. Personally, although I love Chanel, I would not pay for that kind of money on a piece of item that won’t even stand the test of time. I’d spend my money on a cartier love bracelet instead.

    It goes to show that you should never assume that just because it’s made by a designer at designer cost means that that the item would be made with top-notch materials. Great post as usual, Katherine. =)

    -Mel

  • Sophie
    April 8, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    Great topic. I agreed I would not buy Chanel costume jewelry. It’s too expensive for what’s not real. I got a pair of Chanel pearl earrings a couple years ago and it yet has to be worn. I’m thinking of selling it. It was definitely one of my regret buys. I would rather use my money and buy real pearls from mikimoto.

    But like you say, for some people they enjoyed their costume jewelry so to them it’s worth it. Personally, I just rather spend my money on “real” jewelry and buy cheap costume jewelry from J.crew or Forever 21 🙂

    • StyleAspirations
      April 8, 2013 at 8:48 pm

      I agree with you, Katherine, that what really matters is how much one personally loves an item, and the amount of utility a person gets from a piece. I think the question of whether a $2,000 piece of costume jewelry is “worth it” particularly depends on an individual’s purchasing priorities. If the priority is to maximize one’s money by buying a piece that will retain the greatest value, then I do not believe that spending $2,000+ on costume jewelry is worth it (although Chanel does have some pieces of costume jewelry that are even cheaper). Notwithstanding the fact that one can purchase fine jewelry in the $2,000 range, I believe that costume jewelry is worth a $2,000 price if one purchases something she loves and will wear frequently. It all depends on the individual and the individual piece.

      I have tended to wear a lot of sterling silver (and turquoise) jewelry throughout the years, either antique/vintage or from Tiffany’s. I’ve also worn wooden or stone jewelry, vintage costume jewelry, pieces from more modern designers like Fallon, and jewelry from designer brands- Fendi, Valentino, and Hermes. I love costume jewelry and find that it’s a more financially accessible way to incorporate the aesthetic of a designer I love into my outfits. I also find that costume jewelry adds a bit more edge to a conservative outfit than a piece of fine jewelry. I was gifted a vintage (1980’s) Chanel costume jewelry necklace that was owned by someone famous. Though I have only worn it a handful of times, I’ve found that the necklace has stayed in excellent condition. After wearing a new Chanel 2.55 infrequently for less than 6 months after purchase, however, the gold CC hardware fell off! So I don’t think that lack of quality craftsmanship/production is something that is exclusive to “costume” jewelry. Furthermore, it seems from the comments above that the quality of craftsmanship is deteriorating. As you pointed out, Katherine, these items are not made with particularly rare materials. I tend to lust after Chanel’s costume jewelry but plan to focus more on acquiring Chanel vintage items rather than new pieces.

      While it’s disappointing to see people wearing fake/knockoff jewelry, as can be the case with Hermes, I still believe that wearing what I love, regardless of whether it is “in/out” of style or whether it is an exclusive piece or one easily found. Life is too short to worry too much about whether we are one of few wearing our accessory/piece of clothing, though I do love the distinct pleasure of wearing something unique.

      • Katherine
        April 9, 2013 at 6:39 pm

        Thank you for your thoughtful comment! I can’t believe that happened with your Chanel bag – I’ve heard of defects with the flaps but the CC’s falling off entirely seems to be another level of service lapsing. Your vintage necklace sounds beautiful (and it’s fun for me to guess who the owner was! 🙂 )

  • christine brightside
    April 9, 2013 at 3:12 am

    There a several pieces from Chanel etc that I like but I would never pay that much for “fake” jewelry, especially because some friends have been very disappointed with the quality of Chanel costume jewelry in the past. I would probably spend on costume/fashion jewelry from e.g. J Crew but to be honest I think basically it’s already too much for what you get, and I haven’t found anything yet that I really needed to have for that price tag…Luckily I am not much into jewelry apart from my engagement/wedding rings and earrings (necklaces or bracelets tend to bother me after a couple of hours *lol)… so I’d rather invest in “real” jewelry without a brand/label tag on it concerning vale/worthiness though I have to commit I tend to get weak sometimes when I see pretty costume jewelry 😉 but in the end the price tag shocks me that much and rationality mostly overwhelmes me 😀

    • Katherine
      April 9, 2013 at 6:38 pm

      Yes I am constantly eyeing costume jewelry but I try my best to stay away as well 🙂

  • ABG
    April 9, 2013 at 11:10 am

    I agree with the posters above, I own some vintage Chanel
    costume jewellery and it is still perfect after all these years, whereas some more recent pieces haven’t held as well. I bought a beautiful bracelet a few years ago and almost immediately the centre fake pearl peeled off,and a stone went missing the first time I wore it, which looks awful. They refused to take it back of repair it. I was able to have it repaired by someone else, but that concluded my CC jewellery buying experience, it is too expensive for it not to last!
    I am a big fan of Hermes accessories, and otherwise happily mix real and faux, brand or no name depending on my mood. If and when I buy costume pieces — usually necklaces, I am
    not wed to any particular vendor, it could be a department store, Ann Taylor, Mai Tai collection or a small market in the south of France, it does not matter as long as I fall in love on the spot, and that it is wearable and not too expensive! It allows me to change a bit from my staple real jewellery pieces, all of them pretty classic looking.
    Another great post, dear Katherine, and I enjoy your readers’ responses (as always).

    • Katherine
      April 9, 2013 at 6:33 pm

      Wow thank you for sharing your experience – so sad to hear and also sad that it is far from the first I have heard. Love how you describe your necklaces, you have such beautiful style 🙂

  • Marlene @ chocolatecookiesandcandies
    April 9, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    I’ve been having this dilemma for the longest time. A friend offered to buy a Chanel necklace for me at Heathrow airport but I just couldn’t go through the purchase. Seven years ago, I contemplated about the same thing and one lady steered me away saying that one should never spend that much on fake pearls. I probably would but I’ve read so many complaints about the glass pearls dropping off, the lack of after sales service at Chanel so the combination of the two scared me off.

    That said, I never have any problem with Hermes jewelry. These days, I’d rather spend that money on a VCA necklace.

    • Katherine
      April 9, 2013 at 6:32 pm

      A friend said and I agree – when VCA prices start to look reasonable (as they do compared to some Chanel jewelry) then you know you are in some scary territory!

  • Am I Out To Lunch? | Tales from the Trenches
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  • hadee
    April 12, 2013 at 10:33 am

    I love reading all the comments…I recently started designing jewelry and have begun with plated pieces BUT I’ve taken inspiration and patterns from VINTAGE jewelry as I’ve been collecting for 20 years. Costume has it’s function when you want to wear a large or substantial piece like the Hermes cuff. You almost HAVE to do such pieces in base metal otherwise it becomes prohibitively expensive. Craftmenship is key, I have my stuff manufactured in NYC to insure quality. As a designer, I love using plated metals integrated with natural materials. I have my own signiture pendant/bead that I call SAW TOOTH, which refers to the pointed edging on the American Snapping turtle(I sue to be a wildlife biologist:). I pair my Saw Tooth with sand stone, agate and jade depending upon the finish I use and it makes the pieces feel and look WONDERFUL and sexy in an organic kinda way.
    So if you can find costume that’s paired with leather or snake skin etc., it can elevate the piece

    • Katherine
      April 14, 2013 at 7:15 pm

      Thank you Hadee for providing your perspective! Your advice on costume + leather makes total sense 🙂

  • Revanche
    April 12, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    It’s a funny thing that their costume jewelry can be more expensive than the fine jewelry; I have a hard time grokking that.

    But I also feel like paying $30-60 for costume jewelry from BR and AT is too much too, mainly because I’m still trying to learn how to pair things and not having the most success with that as of yet. It’ll feel like less a waste of money if I can actually wear it well.

  • Brownie
    April 13, 2013 at 10:20 am

    I think if the costume piece is well made and you like the design, it’s worth it as some pieces last a long time if you take good care of them. However, I’ve helped repair friends Chanel pieces before and I have to say they really aren’t worth the price tag. It could just be the case that they are not as well made as before. As a hobbyist jewelry maker, I really appreciate the work that goes into handcrafting a jewelry piece and those – I would pay for (ie pieces made of silver or 14K gold fill with semi precious stones)

  • Keodi
    April 13, 2013 at 11:56 am

    I agree with the comments above, I personally don’t think it’s worth it. The quality just isn’t there anymore. With that being said, I do own a few vintage Chanel pieces and they’ve held up really well, no chipping or peeling. I love pieces from J Crew, and Nordstrom on sale, and I own some African and Turquoise jewelry I got from flee markets when I visited Paris, and Arizona. I do own some Hermes pieces a black swift CDC, a clic-clac bracelet, and some leather pieces which the cost per wear was worth it, as they held up pretty well. I sometimes mix those with my real jewelry.

    • Katherine
      April 14, 2013 at 7:08 pm

      Fascinating to hear yet another testimonial to the quality of Chanel’s vintage pieces – so sad, wonder what changed in the specific materials/production to this point? THank you for sharing your experience!

  • Ava Lon
    April 14, 2013 at 7:25 am

    Comme d’habitude, excellent post, Katherine!
    Many friends and fashionable colleagues I know really bought into the YSL (back when it was still YSL and not Saint Laurent) Arty Rings when they first released. Here is a link to one being sold at SAKS currently, that many friends own and I can attest, looks stunning on them (though they are ubiquitous):
    http://www.saksfifthavenue.com/main/ProductDetail.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524446183441&site_refer=AFF001&mid=13816&siteID=Hy3bqNL2jtQ-DniLJChYAkEpN3vBOteAdQ&LScreativeid=1&LSlinkid=10&LSoid=280518

    It, too, like the Chanel costume jewelry is predominantly fake – in that it is not manufactured with solid gold, nor real stones – yet still lovely. That said, like the photo above (gosh, I sure hope that Chanel necklace/belt wasn’t your own! It is GORGEOUS but the missing pearls are so sad! I doubt anyone would even notice it unless they were very close, but I love the charms on it! Incredibly adorable! And if it’s not your necklace, can you share where I can see or maybe read about that piece above? 🙂 ) the Arty Dots ring has had MANY issues with the glass stones falling out constantly. I have a good friend who works at Saint Laurent and she has told me that they stopped selling it at all Saint Laurent stores due to this problem and frankly I am surprised that SAKS is still carrying it.

    In respect to the question posited re: costume jewelry being worth the price, I have been (as you well know 🙂 ) thinking on this subject for some time. I have come to the conclusion that if you consider what most people are willing to spend season after season, say for something akin to the YSL Arty Ring, as a gift to yourself, but you can withhold that amount for years and instead really splurge on some costume (or real) jewelry you have been desiring for some time (ideally before the company issues a price hike) then go for it (all other financial issues being considered and in line, naturally) :-).

    I hope you are enjoying the rest of your weekend!
    Thank you for your excellent post!
    So much commentary this has generated! What a lively debate!

    Ava

    • Katherine
      April 14, 2013 at 7:05 pm

      Thank you my friend for posing such an interesting question 🙂 That is fascinating about the Arty rings. I’ve long admired them on others but never made the plunge myself. Sad to hear about the stones!

      The Chanel necklace isn’t mine – it’s from a Fashionphile auction – sad that I just had to look for a random photo of a Chanel necklace and almost immediately I found one with the stone missing!

  • Melissa
    June 16, 2013 at 3:40 am

    I have purchased a few pieces of vintage chanel jewelry on ebay-personally I think that’s the most ‘affordable” way to go-but yes one has to look at the pearl pieces quite closely, not sure why the pearls seem to develop “lines/scratches” or peel rather early in their lives. I’m ok with more of a vintage look to the plain “gold” jewelry.

    • Katherine
      June 16, 2013 at 9:02 pm

      Thanks for sharing your experience! That’s a great point that the plain “gold” pieces probably have a much better survival rate. I always see so many gorgeous items on eBay!

  • Olivia
    October 12, 2013 at 10:35 am

    Hay all, I’m wondering where I would get vintage Chanel costume jewelry valued??? I live in New York so if there’s any particular jewelers or if there’s a site that informs you? This one I have is a 64″ strand of 9mm Baroque pearls from 1981 and I’ve found a couple exact versions online that range from $1200-$1900 – would this be a good indicator? As I’m looking at selling them to a collector of vintage Chanel, I would like to give them an accurate price… Thanks!

  • Erika
    November 7, 2013 at 10:01 am

    I think vintage costume jewelry is definitely has a piece of history attached to it. I have been collecting Costume jewelry for decades now. I am selling some of the vast collections I have on, have a look at my collection on Etsy. The name is Erika’s Collectibles.

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  • lillian
    October 18, 2015 at 10:20 pm

    I have some costume jewelry I believe a couple pieces are arriginal but I haven’t gotten a clue what to look for. I have a beautiful brochure that looks like blue diamond. Is all costume jewelry marked

  • Kathryn
    December 11, 2015 at 7:55 pm

    For me it is 100% worth it. My Chanel necklaces bring me so much joy. They look beautiful and it depends and what is important to you. I think the classic pieces are timeless where I have loads of Tiffany gold jewelry form over the years that I just don’t like any more. It sits in the safe never seeing the light of day where my Chanel comes out at ever opportunity.