|Photos courtesy of The Three Graces|
Last week, I finished writing Mail Order Molly, a book in the Brides of Beckham series by Kirsten Osbourne. She invited me to contribute a novel to the series, and of course I said yes because only crazy people would say no.
Mail Order Molly takes place, in part, at a theater, and the actresses wear paste jewelry. As I wrote that part, I suddenly remembered the curiosity I'd had as a child, and I Googled. What do you know, but it wasn't made from Elmer's glue at all. (You can all laugh at me now. I did.) Paste jewelry is actually made from glass that's then laid over foil to give it that shiny, reflective look. Colored glass produced the look of colored gemstones. These stones were used heavily from the 1700s to the early 1900s, but they weren't expected to take the place of real stones - everyone knew they were fake, but they were pretty, and that was the most important thing.
Here are some other examples of the beautiful creations they came up with:
With fake jewelry being the fashion and not a faux pas, women of nearly every social standing could sparkle when they went out for the evening. Of course, the most ostentatious pieces were still used mostly by the wealthy.
I found it very interesting that no one cared if their friends knew their jewelry was fake. That's certainly different from attitudes found in other eras, where you'd die of embarrassment to be caught wearing a cubic zirconia instead of a diamond. Frankly, I've always preferred wearing fake jewelry because I don't like the possibility of something expensive being lost or stolen. I guess I'm just old-fashioned that way.