Read all about Chanel’s costume jewelry to find out if it’s really worth the high price tag
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If you’ve ever watched a Chanel runway show, then you’ve definitely noticed accessories like statement pearl necklaces, CC motif earrings, and bright resin bracelets. These items, and many more, make up the Chanel Costume Jewelry collection.
In this article, we’ll walk you through everything there is to know about Chanel Costume Jewelry to help you decide if spending money on these pieces is worth it.
What is Chanel Costume Jewelry?
In contrast to Chanel’s High Jewelry and Fine Jewelry lines, its Costume Jewelry collection is made up of trendy, less expensive pieces designed to give outfits an extra oomph without a hefty price tag.
The line includes earrings, rings, brooches, bracelets, necklaces, and rings. All of these items are made using inexpensive materials like leather, ribbons, resin, glass gemstones, and non-precious metals.
Some of the most recognizable pieces of Chanel Costume Jewelry are long pearl necklaces, CC stud earrings, and camelia brooches.
These items are frequently showcased in Chanel runway shows and advertisements.
What is the History of Chanel Costume Jewelry?
Coco Chanel is responsible for introducing the idea of costume jewelry in the 1920s when she started accessorizing her outfits with fake pearls.
For her, fake pearls and other big, flashy jewelry were a way to accessorize and accentuate a look without a visible display of wealth. She went on to note that costume jewelry is not meant to provoke desire, but rather to astonish and amuse.
By the 1930s, Chanel’s costume jewelry line expanded to include all types of jewelry meant to complement the brand’s fashion. Some items of clothing even came with jewelry attached!
The affordability of these items meant that women could accessorize Chanel’s minimal clothing with layers of jewelry without having to worry about the cost or theft of real jewels.
What is Chanel Costume Jewelry Made Out Of?
The sky is the limit when it comes to the materials Chanel uses in its costume jewelry pieces.
Some examples include:
- Glass pearls
- Strass crystals
Where Is Chanel Costume Jewelry Made?
Chanel’s Costume Jewelry contains materials often used in bags and clothing (e.g. leather or fabric) so these items are made alongside other pieces in Italy and Spain.
In fact, it’s not uncommon to see handbag artisans working on Chanel’s jewelry collection as well.
Is Chanel Costume Jewelry Good Quality?
The answer to this question is…it depends.
First and foremost, it’s important to recognize that while Chanel’s Costume Jewelry is well-designed, it won’t last forever.
Factors like the materials used, how often a piece is worn, and how it’s stored all impact the longevity of a piece. Some pieces may only last for a few months, while others could last years.
Aside from this basic caveat, there are multiple reports of quality issues. For example, many costume jewelry owners report problems like metals oxidizing or tarnishing and crystals falling out.
Does Chanel Repair Costume Jewelry?
Given the quality issues mentioned above, it’s worth looking into Chanel’s repair services.
The brand offers replacements for lost or broken parts for free within the first year of purchase. Repairs can take 2 to 3 weeks because pieces are sent to Paris for repairs.
After a year, customers are responsible for the cost of repairs. That said, Chanel may refuse to fix older pieces if they no longer have the correct gem or part.
Does Chanel Costume Jewelry Have Good Resale Value?
Despite its use of inferior materials and the quality issues mentioned above, Chanel Costume Jewelry tends to do well on the secondhand market.
While this is far from a perfect comparison, it does illustrate the point that older styles are still in high demand.
If you’re looking to make money when reselling Chanel Costume Jewelry, then vintage pieces are the way to go.
That’s especially true for styles produced between 1920 and 1939, as these styles feature classics like long pearl necklaces and Art-Deco-inspired pieces.
Perhaps the most sought-after piece of costume jewelry from Chanel is the enameled Maltese-Cross cuff bracelet of 1927 by Fulco di Verdura.
Not only is this an incredibly beautiful piece, but it was also symbolic of a period during which Chanel was creating the House’s first fine jewelry collection, the Bijoux de Diamants.
Besides the Maltese Cross bracelet, items made by jewelry designers like Elsa Schiaparelli, François Hugo, and Suzanne Gripoix also perform quite well on the secondhand market.
Inspiration: How to wear Chanel Costume Jewelry
Is Chanel Costume Jewelry Worth It?
Even though you know a lot more about Chanel’s costume jewelry line, you might still be wondering if it’s worth spending your money on pieces from this collection.
As is the case with pretty much everything we discuss on Luxe Front, that decision is entirely up to you. Still, we’ll leave you with some things to think about before making your purchase.
Because Chanel’s Costume Jewelry is designed primarily for ornamentation, it’s not always the best quality, especially for how much it costs.
Reports of metal tarnishing and crystals falling out after short periods of moderate wear are common.
While Chanel may be able to repair or replace damaged parts, this can be quite a hassle given the original price tag and long repair time.
Still, if you’ve got your heart set on Chanel Costume Jewelry, our advice is to purchase jewelry without gemstones and to thoroughly inspect pieces for loose or missing parts before purchase.
Another option is to purchase pieces secondhand. They’re a bit cheaper than retail, which may make it easier to deal with the cost of repairs down the road.
All of that said, if you don’t want to deal with quality issues and hope to get a lot of use out of your jewelry, then you’re better off buying fine jewelry made out of real 18K gold and gemstones.
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