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1980s Costume Jewellery

1980s Costume Jewellery

The 1980s were a time of excess and extravagance, and nowhere was this more evident than in the world of fashion and accessories. Costume jewelry in particular underwent a transformation during this time, with designers embracing bold, colorful, and unconventional designs that reflected the spirit of the era. In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at the history and legacy of 80s costume jewelry, and explore some of the most iconic designs of the era.

The Rise of Costume Jewelry

Costume jewelry has been around for centuries, but it wasn't until the 20th century that it became a mainstream fashion accessory. In the 1980s, the popularity of costume jewelry exploded, with designers creating pieces that were both affordable and stylish. The rise of punk and new wave music also had an influence on costume jewelry design, with designers embracing a more unconventional and edgy aesthetic.

Bold and Colorful Designs

One of the defining characteristics of 80s costume jewelry was its bold and colorful designs. Designers used a wide range of materials, including plastic, resin, and enamel, to create pieces that were eye-catching and playful. Colors were often bright and neon, reflecting the vibrant and energetic spirit of the era.

Another popular trend was the use of oversized and exaggerated designs. Earrings, necklaces, and bracelets were often large and chunky, with bold shapes and textures. Animal motifs were also popular, with pieces shaped like lions, snakes, and butterflies.

Pop Culture Influences

The 1980s were also a time of pop culture dominance, and this was reflected in the world of costume jewelry. Many pieces were inspired by popular movies, TV shows, and music, with designs featuring motifs from Star Wars, Miami Vice, and Madonna. Licensed character jewelry was also popular, with pieces featuring iconic characters like Mickey Mouse and Snoopy.

Designer Brands

As costume jewelry grew in popularity, many high-end designers began to create their own lines. Chanel, for example, created a line of colorful resin and enamel jewelry that was a departure from their more traditional designs. Kenneth Jay Lane, who had been creating costume jewelry since the 1960s, continued to create bold and playful pieces that were popular with celebrities and fashion icons.


The legacy of 80s costume jewelry can be seen in the world of fashion today. The use of bold colors and oversized designs continues to be popular, and many contemporary designers take inspiration from the unconventional and playful aesthetic of the era. Vintage 80s costume jewelry is also highly sought after by collectors, with many pieces considered iconic examples of the era.

In conclusion, 80s costume jewelry was a reflection of the excess and extravagance of the era, with designers embracing bold and colorful designs that reflected the spirit of the time. The use of unconventional materials, oversized designs, and pop culture influences helped to redefine what was possible in the world of costume jewelry. Today, the legacy of 80s costume jewelry can be seen in the continuing popularity of bold and playful designs, and the enduring appeal of vintage pieces from the era.

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