Did you know that the term costume jewellery came about in the early 20th century and use of the word "costume" refers to what is now called an "outfit"?

It is relatively inexpensive jewellery which does not contain precious stones or solid precious metals and is affordable by most people. A piece of costume jewellery may be gold plated before instead of solid gold and contain semi-precious stones instead of precious stones so it can look just as good as "the real thing". The main difference is in the price. Fine jewellery can cost so much that before costume jewellery was invented about 300 years ago only the extremely wealthy gentry could wear jewellery.

The terms "costume jewellery" and "fashion jewellery" are pretty much interchangeable nowadays. They in fact mean the same thing with fashion jewellery being a term that took off in the 1980s and costume jewellery meaning the same thing but the term was coined in the 1930s. Costume jewelry is simply the American spelling of the term.

Aside from a wedding or engagement ring who can afford "real" jewellery anyway? When costume jewellery of every colour and style is available to match every one of your outfits why would you want to?