Food for Thought about the Costume Jewelry Industry in America

Can you guess where the world’s biggest costume jewelry manufacturing centers are? I bet you would never think… is in the smallest state of the United States…..Providence, Rhode Island. Way over half of all costume jewelry is produced in Rhode Island. The jewelry industry refers to costume jewelry as being “fashion jewelry.” Within the category of fashion jewelry there are inexpensive to medium priced adornments for men, women and children.

If you were dreaming of working in a fashion jewelry manufacturing company, Rhode Island is the place to go. They have around 900 jewelry firms providing employment for lots and lots of people. I think that would be a fun job! I might just pack up and head out to Rhode Island and see what kind of jobs I can find in the fashion jewelry firms.

While working every day, a person would come in contact with thousands upon thousands of earrings, bracelets, necklaces, pins, pendants, rings, chains, and so on. Jewelry is definitely the largest manufacturing segment in Rhode Island. Just think of how many pounds of costume jewelry is shipped out of Rhode Island every week. It has to be tons and tons and a huge money making industry for Rhode Island.

Rhode Island’s costume jewelry manufacturing has been a success for at least 100 years and more. One famous man in our history to develop a process of plating base metal with gold in 1794 was “Nehemlah Dodge.” He made the discovery from his small Providence, Rhode Island shop. He obviously was a pioneer in the costume jewelry manufacturing sector. Of course after one man’s success comes more success and other companies soon popped up around Nehemlah Dodge’s factory using his same techniques.

There are costume jewelry producers in Massachusetts towns; however, nearly all of them are within 30 minutes to Providence, Rhode Island. Some of the more well-known companies are Monet and Bulova. Most of Rhode Island’s jewelry factories are small, as one might guess, due to the state being so small probably and they are family owned having usually not more than 100 employees in each firm. The Spiegel company is also in Rhode Island.

New York, New Jersey, California and Florida are some of the biggest producers of the more expensive jewelry made from precious metals and stones like diamonds and rubies…..Costume jewelry sells almost as much as the more expensive jewelry. Costume jewelry is definitely a booming industry and has been for over 20 years now. However, the U.S. is not the ones who enjoys the most benefits from costume jewelry manufacturing. As with many other products, foreign imports have prospered greatly.

It is no longer the case that costume jewelry is seen as stuff to throw away or eventually stored away in old shoe boxes. People everywhere are digging out the old costume jewelry and putting together new novelty designs using base metals, paste, jewelry glue, rhinestones, coated glass beads as well as adding these things to handbags, shoes, and clothes of all kinds. I am seeing lots of t-shirt like material tops for women almost covered in rhinestones, like on a V-neck and around the V-neck area there will be lines and lines of sparkling rhinestones.

I think it is a little hilarious how costume jewelry, once referred to as “junk jewelry” and my favorite kind, ha, ha, has gone from junk to full blown fashion stories everywhere. Everywhere you look there is some kind of story about fashion jewelry. We don’t hear too much about rubies and diamonds anymore and anyone like Marilyn Monroe singing “diamonds are a girl’s best friend.” Now it is, “rhinestones are a girl’s best friend,” and handmade dangle earrings too. There is just something addictive about beads. Just empty out a little bag of sparkling beads onto your jewelry mat and see how beautiful they really are and even more beautiful set into jewelry pieces. And I am reminded now of how the flea markets are probably flooded over with stands of handmade costume jewelry. I will have to visit some flea markets and set up a booth as well.

And if you read much at all about jewelry, you will see some of these pieces of costume jewelry are selling for as much as over $1,000 for a pair of earrings. I suppose though these prices would be more of a rarity, yet, I do believe a lot of our handmade jewelry is going to keep going in value regardless of where it is. Fake pearls set into different types of pins and earrings are selling for as much as $300 per pair in some areas. Don’t neglect the little owl charms and butterfly charms on handmade jewelry pieces you see, they might someday be worth a fortune to somebody…..

Some food for thought about the costume jewelry industry……

Written by: Connie Limon





Materials used:

2 antique copper 11×15 mm leverback earring hooks

2 antique copper 2″ Ball Pins

2 antique copper 1.5x4mm Rondelle Metal Beads

2 antique copper 8 mm Bicone Metal Beads

2 lime 6 x 12 mm Flower beads

Carmilita Earrings


Collecting Handmade Costume Jewelry Ideas

What about having a goal to collect the most “handmade” costume jewelry you most possibly can over a lifetime? I have this goal. Most likely it will be all handmade by me. I plan on finding some beautiful boxes to tuck it all away. Believe it or not, Dollar General Store usually has some beautiful boxes at Christmas. I think I will buy the largest box this Christmas 2014. Inside the box I will place the plastic containers by name of collection. I plan on keeping a diary inside the box of brief daily writings. The box will be willed to my grandsons. I have two grandsons as a heirloom to give to their children and hopefully on and on this treasure box of “Carmilita’s Handmade Jewelry” will pass through many of my generations of children.

I read a story “someplace.” Can you remember every place you read stories? I read so many stories I can’t remember them all. In this particular article though it told of a man, I suppose he was famous in some way or another. I can’t remember that detail either. He had worked in many different capacities, some within the celebrity world, and met people like Elizabeth Taylor. The article stated over about a 20 year span of collecting costume jewelry he accumulated in the thousands of pieces, had a reference library about it all that included around 70 books. I need to start keeping reference manuals with photos and details of what I was doing when the piece was created, materials used, and include this in my treasure box.

His particular story told of how women (and he met celebrities in his lifetime) chose to adorn themselves in the 19th and 20th century. I thought what a great idea! This was a man too, and we generally think a woman might be more attracted to costume jewelry, however, Elvis Presley loved his jewelry. He collected very expensive pieces. I saw on a video on You Tube where his daughter, Lisa, allowed one television personality to go into a secret room at Graceland and view some of Elvis’s collections, and I believe “jewelry” was in that particular segment, can’t remember that one exactly either.

Back to the other story though about the man who had worked among celebrities and collected thousands of pieces of costume jewelry……he said one of the things he was so interested in through his collecting of costume jewelry was the fact that it had a previous life and was still functioning in the present time. More than likely he had some very expensive pieces of costume jewelry as well with it being a lot among celebrities. I suppose truth is even the wealthiest of people sometimes prefer costume jewelry pieces over traditional jewelry! And if time goes on here on earth, all of us who create handmade costume jewelry, if we keep records of it all and samples of our collections, someone somewhere else in the future will most likely find our collections very interesting as well. Who knows that in the future antique costume jewelry may be selling for much higher prices than what we pay for each piece today. Start your handmade costume jewelry collection today and see just how much you can collect. The pieces are so inexpensive it is an easy collection to gain thousands of pieces over a lifetime. Some type of handmade vintage box would be a great place store our handmade costume jewelry collections. There are just so many ways to start and keep a nice collection either to pass down in your own family or just to tuck away for “anyone” to find later. A detailed history in the form of a diary or any kind of record book is also nice to keep in these collections. Tell your story on a daily basis and add more “happy nostalgia” to everyone with your handmade jewelry collections. If nobody else is blessed by it, I am sure your children and their children and the children after them will love to have a treasure box like this.

Happy Handmade Costume Jewelry Collecting.

Written by: Connie Limon

Carmilita Earrings



Are You Looking for the Perfect Gift for a Woman?

When special occasions roll around such as Mother’s Day, a wedding anniversary, or birthday of a special woman in your life do you suddenly go brain dead and just don’t have any idea what you should buy? You think and ponder about it and you really would like to give something very special this time around, so you think well jewelry is always a winner. However, the cost of jewelry can be sometimes staggering. Why not give a handmade jewelry gift this time instead? The variety in handmade jewelry these days is endless, and the costs are usually fairly minimum even for high quality handmade jewelry pieces. Handmade earrings, bracelet watches, bracelets, necklaces, and even complete matching sets are gorgeous gifts to give for any occasion. Handmade jewelry gifts are that one of a kind gift that you probably never gave much thought of until now.

What can you expect to find online or a craft fair in handmade jewelry? Everything you can imagine and more is being made right this very, not mass produced, but by so many different individuals, you will be sure to find a staggering variety just about anywhere you decide to shop.

Earrings come in four different categories:

Drop or dangle


Post or studs

Clip on

Where to look for handmade jewelry online: Esty and eBay would be my first recommendations, even on Amazon you will find handmade items and countless other independent sites. One simple phrase will pull up everything you will ever need to know and that phrase is: “handmade jewelry.” You might even look to find a specific jewelry artisan that can put together a custom order.

For your next gift giving decision for the special women in your life no matter what the occasion, consider a handmade jewelry piece.




Materials used:
2 silver plated French hooks
2 silver plated 8 mm crystal bead caps
2 silver plated eye pins
2 silver plated head pins
3 pink glass crackle beads 6 mm
2 Chinese porcelain 12 mm beads (painted in a Victorian rose design)

Carmilita Earrings



Advantages of Costume Jewelry Over More Traditional Jewelry

Have you thought of costume jewelry as a collection say in the same way more expensive jewelry becomes collections to those who can afford it? Costume jewelry collections is certainly a less expensive alternative with styles, designs and colors to match every outfit in your closet as well as your personality all without breaking your bank account. Costume jewelry is widely available in almost every material known to mankind, which means none of have to do without just because we are not part of the rich and famous crowds of people. Sterling silver, wood, metals, resin plastics, glass just to name a few types of materials available to us today for creating our costume jewelry designs is widely available leaving it all up to just whatever each of us can imagine and create from it all. The use of sparkling “colored” gem stones helps create a pleasing to the eyes and senses sensation giving way to an appreciation of beauty jewelry artists around the world can all relate to as well as those who purchase our handmade pieces of works of art.

At one time costume jewelry was considered “junk jewelry,” but this is not the case anymore as more and more people become obsessed with the beauty of costume jewelry art. It is now being seen more as artistic, tasteful and in good taste. The price of costume jewelry depends upon the cost of materials, but also, the appearance of each piece plays a huge part of pricing costume jewelry. The huge advantage of having more costume jewelry (a particular piece, color, shape or style for every outfit in your closet) as compared to traditional more expensive pieces of jewelry seems to be more and more the trend for many people unable to afford the high prices of traditional jewelry. We are also seeing costume jewelry, especially that made by hand artisans, is much more unique as well. It is much less likely you will show up wearing the same pair of earrings that anyone else in the crowd is wearing to any given event, whether it be in the office, the company picnics, or evening life. It is difficult to buy expensive jewelry as often as a person buys new clothes, and much more economical to purchase unique handmade costume jewelry instead. You don’t have to worry so much about loosing a $1,000 earring out of your ear while on the dance floor as you would a $15 pair instead. For many people more expensive traditional jewelry is just not a sensible or practical choice. Affordable handmade costume or fashion jewelry assures you have jewelry for every outfit and every occasion. Costume or fashion jewelry definitely reflects the wearer’s personality without checks bouncing from your bank account. I also love to find FREE shipping incentives. Don’t you just hate to pay for your earrings and then find that you have to pay an additional $5 or more just to have them delivered to your door. At Carmilita’s Handmade Jewelry, I offer FREE shipping for every purchase. Your shipping costs is within the total price you pay. There is no add-on shipping fee at the end of your check out that perhaps you never figured when you decided to purchase. I decied to offer free shipping because of my own shopping experiences. I would find a pair of earrings for $5 to $7 and then find at the check out I had to pay $6.99 just to have them delivered to me. After seeing the shipping charge, I often abandoned the choice.

Although many people still “bark” about costume jewelry being fake or imitation jewelry, it is in higher demand now in the year 2014 than ever before. With so many people out of work and the prices of everything that sustains our survival keep going up, people are just accepting there is beautiful pieces of jewelry that does not come with an expensive price tag and oftentimes is even more beautiful than the more expensive traditional jewelry. Costume or fashion jewelry definitely is also a “collector’s item.” Of course higher priced traditional jewelry still has its own buyers, costume or fashion jewelry is in demand. It is affordable, there is a wide range of styles, designs, colors, and flexibility which makes it now much more sought after than days gone by.

And there are many mass producing costume jewelry manufacturers, but why purchase a piece of jewelry “everybody else” is most likely to have the same of when you can purchase from hand jewelry artists and receive pieces that are most often just one of a kind?

As collections, handmade costume jewelry is a great choice. Most of us “collect” something we display on our desks at work or keep hidden away in orginal packaging in our closets. People spend hours upon top of hours researching, digging, looking and finding things to collect in every nook and corner imagainable. From designer bags, comic books, shoes to handmade costume jewelry, each of us have a space reserved for collecting “something.” Handmade costume jewelry is a great choice for the collector.




Materials used:

2 silver plated French earring hooks

2 silver plated headpins

2 silver plated 4mm bicone metal beads

2 pink 8×5 mm glass crystal rondelles

2 pink crazy lace agate 20 mm semiprecious puff coins

Robin’s Price is $15 (includes shipping fees)

Carmilita Earrings