Cameron Silver, Janie Bryant and More Talk Costume Jewelry

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Photo: Patrick McMullan

Decade's Cameron Silver, Vogue.com's Candy Pratts Price, Gabrielle Fialkoff, and Janie Bryant

There aren’t many things the fashion set loves more than fabulous jewelry—but who says it has to be real to pack a punch?

Wednesday night at the Crosby Street Hotel, a group of costume jewelry experts gathered for a CFDA and Miriam Haskell-sponsored panel discussion on “The Heritage, Business, and Influence of Costume Jewelry in Fashion.”

The illustrious panelists—Decades founder Cameron Silver, Vogue.com’s Candy Pratts Price, Mad Men costume designer Janie Bryant, and Haskell Jewels president Gabrielle Fialkoff—were moderated by Stellene Volandes, Town & Country’s accessories director, for a discussion that covered everything from the history of the baubles to their place in today’s fashion world.

“It’s very democratic—it fits everybody!” said Cameron Silver of costume jewelry—although the boutique owner quickly learned that just because it fits the wrist, neck, or fingers, doesn’t mean it fits the wallet.

“It’s not cheap!” he said. “That’s the amazing thing about costume jewelry. I rejected costume jewelry for the first several years [at Decades]. I thought, who wants to spend $2,000 on a glass necklace? But then I realized the power of costume jewelry. It’s a very good investment—it’s not junk!”

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Photo courtesy of Miriam Haskell

Costume jewelry from Miriam Haskell

“There’s always some sentimental attachment,” said Pratts Price, citing pieces like charm bracelets and personalized jewelry.

Bryant let Mad Men fans in on a particularly sentimental wardrobe secret: The pen necklace worn by Christina Hendricks’ character Joan was found “in a dirty little tin at the Rose Bowl [flea market]. She won’t let go of it!”

Vintage costume jewelry by the likes of Miriam Haskell, Chanel, Kenneth Jay Lane, and Yves Saint Laurent may be currently very in demand, but the panelists also discussed the costume jewelry that’s being created today. CFDA nominee for the Swarovski Award for Accessories Design Eddie Borgo’s name was brought up (although Borgo also creates fine jewelry), as well as the creations Miriam Haskell produces for brands like Marchesa.

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Photo courtesy of Miriam Haskell

Costume jewelry from Miriam Haskell

“They had created a story line, and as the jewelry experts, we helped bring their vision to fruition,” said Fialkoff, divulging that the Miss Havisham-inspired collection had to be hand-painted and then rubbed off several times to get the worn-in look.

Miriam Haskell’s biggest coup recently, though, might be a certain high-profile fan of the line—Michelle Obama, who’s been spotted in the brand’s brooches, cuffs, and earrings. Inquiring minds had to know: Does the first lady pay for her jewelry?

“She only has to pay if she keeps it,” Fialkoff said. “If she borrows it and wears it, she doesn’t have to pay.”

Check out another young brand that's delving into costume jewelry here.