Check It Out: In with the old: collecting vintage costume jewelry

Vintage-inspired and antique costume jewelry never really goes out of style. If anything, it's hotter now than ever. Both avid collectors and trend-conscious fashionistas covet statement pieces of jewelry that evoke the charm and nostalgia of bygone eras.

The Newport Beach Public Library has several books that showcase the history, design and collection of costume jewelry. Immerse yourself in these opulent treasures, all available at the library.

"A Collector's Guide to Costume Jewelry: Key Styles and How to Recognize Them," by Tracy Tolkien and Henrietta Wilkinson: This lavishly illustrated volume introduces readers to the origins of costume jewelry, dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries when imitation gems and non-precious materials were first used to create "paste jewelry." Along with detailed information on how costume jewelry evolved over the years, this text also includes more than 200 high-quality photographs of necklaces, brooches, earrings, bracelets and other baubles.

"Inside the Jewelry Box, Volume 2: A Collector's Guide to Costume Jewelry," by Ann Mitchell Pitman: The author shares her passion for vintage costume jewelry in this comprehensive reference that will appeal to both buyers and sellers. In addition to almost 1,000 detailed descriptions and photographs of collectible trinkets, this catalog provides relevant websites and information about companies in the vintage costume-jewelry resale business. Nostalgia buffs will also appreciate the full-page advertisements from Harper's Bazaar, Vogue and other high-style magazines from the mid-20th century.

"Costume Jewelry," by Judith Miller: Antiques expert Miller presents more than 400 vintage designs in this handbook. Each piece of jewelry featured includes a detailed description, a value range, and an enlarged color photograph. Individual chapters portray the artistry and craftsmanship of Chanel, Schiaparelli, Christian Dior and other iconic 20th-century designers.

"Collecting Costume Jewelry 101: Basics of Starting, Building & Upgrading," by Julia Carroll: Novice collectors are given step-by-step instructions on how to identify, evaluate and sell vintage jewelry in this user-friendly guide. Because Carroll recommends that beginners start their collections with pieces from Coro, Kramer, Trifari and Weiss, she devotes an entire chapter to the work of these four designers. This indispensable resource also offers tips on pricing, cataloging, cleaning, storing and repairing jewelry.

"Vintage Jewelry Design: Classics to Collect & Wear," by Caroline Cox: Renowned fashion authority Cox chronicles more than 100 years of vintage designs in this exquisitely appointed coffee-table book. Decade by decade, the author explores how costume jewelry designers and their creations were influenced by the historical events and trends of each era. Designers and collectors alike will be inspired by the stunning photographs that celebrate the work of innovative artisans and vintage production houses.

"Rejuvenated Jewels: New Designs from Vintage Treasures," by Amy Hanna: Readers who want to recycle their damaged or unused pieces of old jewelry into fabulous new creations will be enchanted with the retro-inspired projects in this crafts guide. Hanna shares her expertise on which materials to use and where to find them, explores various jewelry-making techniques and explains how to incorporate her design ideas into fashioning a one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry.

Discover these and other gems that await you at the Newport Beach Public Library.

CHECK IT OUT is written by the staff of the Newport Beach Public Library. All titles may be reserved from home or office computers by accessing the catalog at For more information, contact the Newport Beach Public Library at (949) 717-3800, option 2.

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