Contact us today +44 (0)1782 638100

What is Costume Jewellery? And How to Buy and Sell it at Auction

Debbie Porter

Got a drawer filled with tangled bracelets? Jewellery box stuffed with colourful collections of costume jewellery? You could have hidden valuable gems that sell at auction. Read on to discover what costume jewellery is, and how to sell it at auction.

What is costume jewellery?

Costume jewellery, or fashion jewellery, is often made from inexpensive gemstones or brightly coloured beads. It’s a popular type of affordable jewellery that adds colour, style and flair to an outfit.

Costume jewellery can be differentiated from fine jewellery by the type of materials used in its composition. You’ll often find costume jewellery is made from plated metal. This means that it’s not as expensive to produce, but the lifespan or quality of the piece may be impacted. But this doesn’t take away from the incredible designs and unique costume jewellery pieces available.

Costume jewellery can also be identified by the gemstones used. You won’t find natural diamond, pearls or precious stones, but rather you’ll find manufactured stones. However, there may be some pieces made up of semi-precious stones. This is where our professional identification comes into play!

If you’ve got a box of costume jewellery at home and you find yourself thinking, ‘should I take old unwanted things to charity shops or are they good enough to go to auction?’, it could perhaps be worth getting your items valued. Some people have made costly mistakes by assuming items of jewellery had little value, when in actual fact they were desirable pieces that sold well at auction.

For example, this vintage Butterscotch Amber necklace (weighing 45.2 grams) could look like costume jewellery to the untrained eye, yet it sold for a huge £220.

Is costume jewellery popular at auction?

Here are Potteries Auction, we often see delightful boxes of costume jewellery in our auctions. While some pieces can be extremely valuable, as above, other pieces are fun collectable items that bring joy to the buyer. What’s great about the costume jewellery items we sell is that, more often than not, they come in bulk boxes. You’ll be able to bid for multiple items in one go and it can feel very exciting as you explore your winning purchase.

This wonderful collection of ladies vintage costume jewellery, including Wedgwood jasperware brooch, earrings and pearls, sold for a lovely £30.

How to buy costume jewellery at auction

If you’d like to add to your costume jewellery collection, shopping at one of our auctions is a good place to start. We get lots of house clearance auction requests, and often these reveal exciting costume pieces. Check out our upcoming auctions, and get bidding online via the saleroom or Easylive.

This delightful collection of Adrian Buckley brooches sold at one of our 2021 auctions. Sold in the original boxes, these pieces are a fantastic example of the range and variety of costume pieces we sell.

How to sell costume jewellery at auction

If you have items for auction, get in touch and we can help you with a valuation. You don’t want to end up selling items on eBay or dropping them off at a charity shop, when you could have had a hassle free sale with Potteries Auction.  

Talk to our team of experts who will be able to give you an accurate auction estimate on your costume jewellery and recommend the best auction for your piece. You can join us at one of our valuation days every Tuesday. Email us for an appointment or call us on +44 (0)1782 638100 Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm. 

If you can’t come in and see us in person but would like to submit items for auction or valuation, send us an email to with details and a photograph (eg make, model, model number, measurements, condition) and one of our experts will provide information and auction estimates. Alternatively, give us a call on 01782 638100 to arrange an appointment.

1 thought on “What is Costume Jewellery? And How to Buy and Sell it at Auction”

Comments are closed.