The Long Lexicon: Defining Fashion, Bridge, and Costume Jewelry

The jeweler’s role has certainly changed over the past 150 years, not just in fine-tuning a store’s merchandise mix, but in defining—and redefining—how merchandise is classified and understood by consumers. Here, we examine the oft-changing—and ­ever-confusing—lexicon for costume/­fashion, bridge, demi-fine, and fine jewelry, and highlight the ways JCK has helped jewelers navigate the shifting boundaries between categories throughout the decades. Costume/Fashion Jewelry Defined as jewelry made from materials such as base metal, glass, and synthetic gems, costume jewelry was born out of demand for fine jewelry by those who couldn’t afford the real thing (see Guy de Maupassant’s classic 1884 story, “The Necklace,” for a perfect example of how women with more style than means adorned

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