The term costume jewelry came into use in the early 20th century, probably in the mid-1920s. Prior to the 1920s, jewelry had a dual purpose: adornment and as a vehicle for displaying personal or familial wealth. Though glass paste gemstones and pinchbeck could very nearly imitate the appearance of costly fine jewelry, objects made using these techniques filled the same roles as did jewelry made from gold and diamonds. In the 1920s, semi-precious and non-precious jewelery challenged this notion, suggesting that jewelry was simply another way to enhance personal appearance. The most iconic example of this mindset are the oversized, patently fake pearls worn and popularized by Gabrielle Chanel.
As the twentieth century progressed, costume jewelry continued to gain in popularity, becoming an acceptable, popular alternative to precious jewelry. One of the most celebrated costume jewelry designers of the twentieth century is Kenneth Jay Lane. Lane's fashion training began at Vogue, where he worked in the art department. He quickly switched to shoe design, working for Delman and Christian Dior Shoes. In 1961/2 Lane was working on a collection of jeweled shoes for Arnold Scassi when he "suggested making jeweled buttons to match the shoes, and even matching earrings and bangle bracelets."1 This first hand-made collection consisted of plastic bracelets and drop earrings covered with rhinestones. These first designs ultimately weren't mass-manufactured, but they began Lane's forays into jewelry design. In 1963, Lane quit designing shoes and turned full-time to jewelry.