What is the course about?
Costume jewellery tends to be viewed as the poor cousin the fine jewellery but the reality is far from that. This is a
one day course that looks at the history of costume jewellery from 1600 and how the advances in materials and
technology made it so popular.
It includes social history such as the situation of women in society and their spending power, the development of
department stores and the impact of the 2nd world war on the metals and materials used in costume jewellery. It
will also look at leading designers such as Chanel, Miriam Haskell and Trifari and how they chose to use paste and
base metals for their designs instead of precious metals and fine gems. The course will include many samples of
costume jewellery for students to inspect.
What will we cover?
- The history of costume jewellery and the development of techniques in the Victorian era and 20th century.
- How to use a loupe to inspect jewellery.
- Paste gemstones and pearls plus crystal such as Swarovski.
- The materials used such as base metals, plating and enamelling.
- The construction of costume pieces such as wiring and riveting.
- The main designers of the 20th century, their signatures/marks and how to spot their work.
- Pricing of vintage jewellery.
- The difference between good and poorly-made costume jewellery and collecting it.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Articulate the development and production of costume jewellery.
- Identify materials used in costume jewellery.
- Recognise the leading designers of costume jewellery.
- Use a loupe to inspect jewellery and be able to look for and recognise maker’s marks.
- Spot the differences in the quality of a variety costume jewellery.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This course is suitable for complete beginners who are interested in jewellery as well as jewellery students, jewellery designers and makers wishing to increase their contextual and historical knowledge.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Through many jewellery samples, power point images, discussions, a quiz and hand outs. You will be taught as a group and it will not be necessary to do any work outside the class.
About your tutor:
Since 2003 Judith Crowe has been running 2 companies - as a gemstone dealer and for making bespoke jewellery. She has a BA Hons degree in Fine Art and from 1985 she worked as a studio manager/designer in graphic design. In 1990 she broke her back horse riding and then worked as a broadcast journalist and TV director at the BBC Disability Programmes Unit. From 1999 Judith retrained in silversmithing at Build and she is now teaching short courses on gemmology and jewellery at the college. She has written a book, 'The Jeweller's Directory of Gemstones', published by Quarto. Her website is www.judthcrowe.co.uk.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
No other costs. Students can bring in pieces of jewellery for identification.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Build offer a wide range of short and year-long courses in Jewellery design and making, from beginners to advanced, and for professional development.
The courses below might complement what you learned on this course:
VV606 Introduction to leather jewellery
VV122 Jewellery after work: colour
VV660 A buyer's guide to pearls: natural, cultured and imitation.
General information and advice on courses at Build is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details