Big enough for you? Large costume jewelry was certainly on trend in the mid-1960s. Many items, like massive acrylic flowers, were best donned during the day. Others, strictly at night. And some, such as the Jack Gilbert rhinestone collar on model Veruschka in this shot from the April 15, 1966, issue of Vogue, weren’t meant to be worn much at all.
Called “museum” or “fantasy” pieces, their primary function was to draw attention to the rest of the jeweler’s current line. “They were the kind of pieces you didn’t really intend on selling, but that would appear in fashion magazines or on the red carpet to create buzz,” says Melinda Lewis, cofounder of Costume Jewelry Collectors International and author of The Napier Co.: Defining 20th Century American Costume Jewelry. “A collection would then be created around the museum piece, with all the other pieces accentuating or playing into it.”
Very few copies of the actual piece would be made. “It almost looks like she has a sea urchin around her neck,” Lewis says. “It would be hard to wear in any situation!”