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Faux gems

Miriam Haskell Vintage Pearl Necklaces

In years gone past in Hollywood the big stars such as Joan Crawford were fans of costume jewellery necklaces. Joan Crawford was a regular client of acclaimed costume jewellery designer Miriam Haskell. Vintage Haskell necklaces are among the popular designer’s most sought-after pieces. Some necklaces have only a single strand of faux pearls. Others have multiple pearl strands in matching or different sizes and colours—from traditional white to smouldering dark brown. Even the necklace clasps are opportunities for embellishment, with rose montées, pearls, and filigree decorating the ends of the clasps.

Faux Pearl, Gemstone and Rhinestone Crystal Necklaces worn by old Hollywood stars

Famous designer Coco Chanel was another admirer of costume necklaces, providing faux-pearl and glass-bead necklaces to such stars as Elizabeth Taylor. After World War II, Christian Dior combined faux emeralds or rubies with sparkling rhinestones. Greta Garbo, Claudette Colbert, and Vivian Leigh are just some of the other influential movie stars who routinely wore sparkling costume necklaces. One particular designer whose main focus was Hollywood was Eugene Joseff. His company, Joseff of Hollywood, made stunning costume jewellery necklaces for such films as “A Star is Born” (1936), and “Casablanca” (1942). In that Alfred Hitchcock classic film Grace Kelly wore a Joseff necklace with a spectacular strand of faux diamonds.

1950's Costume Jewellery - Trifari Jewellery

By the 1950’s costume jewellery necklaces had become so admired that Mamie Eisenhower felt perfectly at ease wearing a Trifari costume jewellery necklace to the inaugural ball in 1953. To match the First Lady’s pink gown (dripping with sparkling rhinestones), Trifari’s Alfred Philippe produced an "orientique" pearl choker with matching three-strand bracelet and earrings each with eight pearls. Three sets of this jewellery were made: one for the First Lady, a second for the Smithsonian Museum, and a third for the Trifari company archives. Mrs. Eisenhower was so pleased with the result that she had Trifari make a parure of jewellery for another inaugural ball in 1957. Other very collectible vintage costume jewellery necklaces include Coro’s Vendome rhinestone-studded chokers, Elsa Schiaparelli’s bright pink lava-rock necklace collars, and StanleyHagler’s coral floral type necklaces.

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