New Delhi, Oct 3 It has always bothered me when women refer to their costume or high fashion jewelry pieces as "junk".
Style icon Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis's three strand faux pearl necklace purchased for around US $500 dollars was sold for over US $200,000 by Sotheby's at an auction. While much of its perceived value came from provenance-the woman who wore it; women of style and substance such as Diane Vreeland, Audrey Hepburn and Coco Chanel knew that costume jewellery is far from junk, it's a style statement. Investing in a beautifully made fashion accessory is like buying a good handbag - it can last you a lifetime.
Even though I am the proud granddaughter of a Mumbai based fine jeweler, I have always mixed my fine pieces with fashion jewellery, it just looks more effortless. At my own wedding my diamond bangles were combined with metal bangles. So when "India-Proud" fashion jewellery brands, Isharaya asked me to moderate a webinar with art historian, author and jewellery expert, Dr Usha Balakrishnan, one of my first questions to her was about India's cultural heritage with costume jewellery. I wanted to know why so many Indian women refer to costume jewellery as 'junk'.
"If you go back in history, jewellery in ancient times was in fact made from items we may refer to as junk such as steel, beads and feather" she said. It seems junk and not precious materials was the basis for jewellery, perhaps this explains where the term "junk jewellery stems from. Dr Usha added, "Costume is precious, Junk is important."
That is so true, yes of course fine jewellery is an investment buy-and why it was given to women at marriage times was for its economic value; it was their safety net. But in contemporary dressing, jewellery is about more than just cost, it is also about how it makes you feel. I still own the first Chanel faux pearl strand bought with money saved up from a part time job. My first boyfriend bought me a pair of Butler & Wilson faux pearl button earrings-something I kept for years and wore with as much pride as my diamond solitaires.
There is more to jewellery than adornment, status and cost-it really is about your connection to the piece, the story it tells and its craftsmanship. I have always found it very pretentious when a woman declares, "I am allergic to fake jewellery". Of course many people are allergic to certain metals and it is best for them to avoid fashion jewellery. By the way if you have a nickel allergy then even keys will give you a reaction
( With inputs from IANS )
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