Fashion jewelry is also known as costume jewelry. This is usually used to accompany an outfit or costume. Originally, the components of this kind of jewelry are inexpensive gemstones that are simulated such as lucite or rhinestones set in brass, nickel, or silver. In the past years of depression, an event of downgrading the rhinestones was happened and done by some manufacturers just to achieve the cost of its production. One phenomenon that is so interesting occurred in the time of World War II in which the popular type of silver, the sterling silver, was always put and added in many costume or fashionable jewelry designs.
All of it are driven by two factors: First- the main components used in base metal are all needed on the military applications or in the war time production and they placed a ban for it in the private sector; Second- the base metal was popular due to its strength to approximate the color the platinum. It all resulted in many years during which the sterling silver fashion or costume jewelry was made. Many of those are still available in some jewelry marketplace that is considered vintage. On the other side, the modern type of fashion or costume jewelry has wide variety of materials used. In place of some precious type of stones, high end crystals, semi-precious stones, and diamonds that are cubic zirconia simulated are used.
The metals include the silver or gold-plated brass and in some cases sterling or vermeil silver. Some low price jewelries still uses gold plate over nickel, pewter, or other metals. Take note that some items that are made outside the USA may contain lead.
Some of the pieces are also using acrylic, plastic, wood, or even leather. In some modern type of jewelry, Coco Chanel heavily popularized the faux jewelry through her years being a fashion designer. She brings the fashion or costume jewelry to life with faux pearls and gold. In some instances, high-end type of costume jewelry has been achieving a status of being a collectible as well as it increases its value as time goes by. In the world today, there is already some substantial market dedicated for vintage jewelry for fashion. The major collecting market is only for the signed pieces in which means pieces that have the mark of its maker. There is also a great demand for a better quality of pieces that are unsigned.