Pedigreed Junk—Let’s Discuss Costume Jewelry

Pedigreed Junk.  I love that term.  And actually, Pedigreed Junk was the name of an odd little antiques shop on East 85th Street between Second and Third Avenues.  And after quite a few Kamikazes’ and Stingers at a local hangout, Pedro’s, up the street from this shop, the shop became all the more intriguing.

[East 85th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues.]

It took me hours to find a photo of the store –thanks to the Museum of the City of New York.  This is from the 1940’s so Pedigreed Junk was around for a while!

But I’ve always thought that was the greatest name for a shop—because that’s what was sold there. High-end junk.  And every since then, I’ve referred to costume jewelry as pedigreed junk.

And I use that as a term of endearment.

I’m not a big jewelry person per se.  I’ve got my engagement ring and my diamond encrusted wedding band in the “good” jewelry category.  In addition, I’ve got a beautiful pearl ring and pearl drop earrings—all gifts from my husband.

My “good” stuff!!

On my right pinkie I wear a gold initial ring—a gift from an old boyfriend and a throwback to my extreme preppy days.

After 40 years, my initial faded. I’m too cheap to get the initial re-engraved! My throwback to the preppy years!

That’s it.  Every other piece of jewelry is purely costume.

The beauty of costume jewelry is that it’s fun!  You don’t have to worry about it.

You’re wearing the cheap stuff–it’s OK!!!!!

You don’t have to be ridden with anxiety over losing it or if it gets left behind on a vacation because it isn’t worth much!

Remember the fun stuff from the 1960’s?  It’ll probably cost a fortune these days! But look at all this fun!!!!!

As a young girl I loved playing with my mother’s cheap jewelry. She stored it in a deep purple velvet jewelry box—I can still smell the scent of the satin lining!

I think the one piece of costume jewelry that has always eluded me has been the charm bracelet. I’m not talking about the Pandora bracelets or any of the Alex and Ani skimpy “charm” bracelets either. What I’m talkin’ about is the clunky, gold link bracelet overstuffed and crammed with tons of charms—from life events to travels and just about anything else.

There was something so beautiful and mesmerizing about a woman’s slender wrist and listening to the clanking sound of the charms as they hit each other. It was a better sound than the popping of gum!

Just take a look at all those charms!!!  I can picture this on me and the sound of clanking charms.  Ohhhh this is beautiful!

And I never did get one of those coveted bracelets.  Now if you head to e-bay or go into a vintage jewelry shop, these bracelets are akin to the Hope Diamond in price!

Costume jewelry shouldn’t be expensive or overpriced.  It’s not real gold.  There’s many types with enamel—and that should not bring the price up sky high.

That’s why I love the cheap, cheap stuff.

My hoops—I’m a very loyal Walmart customer when it comes to my beloved hoops.  I can get an entire card of them ranging in size from small to larger.  But my favorite ones are huge!!

Walmart specials.  Best hoops ever!  And it doesn’t matter if I lose one, I’ll just run back to Walmart and spend another two bucks!

Bracelets—I’ll come across them on final clearance at J. Crew or other shops.

This little number is either from J. Crew or J. Crew Factory–but I’ve had it for quite some time and it still looks great!

Look what came in the mail the other day.  I paid less than ten dollars apiece for these “replica” bracelets of a “luxury” brand and you cannot tell the difference!  These bracelets are so well-made that I had to head back to Amazon to ask how you open the bracelet up.  (Shameless blogger plug. Go to my Amazon page if you are interested in purchasing these adorable faux luxury bangles:    ( )

“H”!  The most exclusive letter in the alphabet–it comes before “F” for fake!

After a squeeze and a swipe of the “H”, the bangle slides on and stays there securely until you take it off!

It’s so pretty and from far away it could almost pass for the real thing!

I got it in black too!

Here’s a few of my other favorite pedigreed junk pieces.

Although not the charm bracelets I’ve dreamed about, these Alex and Ani bracelets are always worn on my right wrist!

Two-dollar faux pearls from Forever 21! And I’ve had them “Forever”!

I think I paid around $15 for this bundle of adorableness at an old Lilly Pulitzer Warehouse sale some years back.  I have the matching frog earrings to match but I was too lazy to dig them out!

A J. Crew Factory final sale. I’ve been wearing this pineapple necklace quite a bit lately!

A J. Crew necklace I forgot I had. I should wear this soon!

Seriously though.  I oftentimes wonder if I was wealthy, would I splurge on expensive jewelry?  Nah.  I would rather buy wigs and travel!

How about you?  Are you an admirer of costume jewelry or the real deal?  I need to know!

Here’s a gem we all love!  Marilyn Monroe–and she sings!  About Diamonds!!!!  Her ensemble is to die for!


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About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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19 Responses to Pedigreed Junk—Let’s Discuss Costume Jewelry

  1. Debe says:

    I have my mother’s super funky and chunky from the 1960’s! I should wear it!

    Hey all did you know every Thursday at Sephora it us their weekly WOW Sale? Things that are going bye bye are heavily discounted! Thought I would pass along!!! Esp you Cathy you can find a great bargin!!!

    Also, I got my from Bloglovin email great article on 7 Beauty Secrets Parisian woman swear by!!! Interesting!!! Now I know why Cathy looks AWESOME!!!

    Great email…..thanks!!!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Debe! GET OUT!!!! OMG. I have to head to Sephora!! I’ll also have to google that Bloglovin’ post!!! THanks for the heads up! Oh man–you HAVE to get that funky chunky out of hiding and wear it!!!!!!!!!!!!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  2. Toni Soucie says:

    I have a lot of the real jewelry purchased by my husband over the years but I also have quite a selection of costume jewelry. I would say that I wear them equally. I also have a gold charm bracelet that I have been building on in recent years. I do recall my mother’s charm bracelet from the 1960’s which had so many charms which celebrated Mother’s Day, Christmas, charms with the heads of girls (2- one for me and one for my sister) and a boy’s head for my brother. She must have had 10-15 charms on that bracelet. Thanks for bringing that memory back too me.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Toni!!! You are quite welcome!! Those old charm bracelets —I hope you have your mom’s old one and can wear it well!!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  3. PresDuLac says:

    Okay, this has nothing to do with your post but have you been following the Deciem social media debacle? You would definitely not like Brandon’s latest Facebook post – he’s nuts and needs to be reined in but it probably won’t happen before it’s too late.
    People aka customers are PO’d.
    Here’s the link:

    Feel free to delete or edit my post 🙂

    • Catherine says:

      Yo. Pres! I’m not gonna delete or edit your comment. This isn’t that kind of blog!! I’m heading over to that link right now. It can’t be worse than the split of Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan! Thanks for the heads up. But I still love the brands stuff!!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

    • Catherine says:

      Go see my comment on the FB page. Holy shit. I can’t believe he said to respect Trump. I can’t even print what I feel right now. ………..Go see the comment!

      • PresDuLac says:

        I can’t find it! But it sure was entertaining looking for it, so many pissed off people.

  4. Peggy says:

    I love costume cheap jewelry! I always worry about what’s in it! Wonder if we are going to be tariffed on it?

  5. Momcat says:

    A few years ago my late aunt gave me a beautiful gold charm bracelet that she had purchased from an old friend who had inherited his cousin’s amazing jewelry collection. The actual bracelet is beautiful, I tried to wear the darned thing and nearly got carpal tunnel from it!! Yeah the lady had so much stuff attached to it, old wedding rings, old pendants, watch fobs etc. The thing must have weighed a pound!! Anyway most of the charms were 18k gold and since there were no sentimental attachments and I needed to redo my wedding set, I took it to a jeweller and had him remove all the dingle dangles (except two which I liked) had him add my sons’ baby ring and sold the gold to him to cover the cost of my new ring. Got enough money that a ring valued at 6,000.00 cost 700.00!! Yep, Brexit had caused the value of gold to go up a few days before!! So I got my gorg new custom ring and a more wearable bracelet that I truly love. I think of my aunt when I wear it, on my right wrist mixed up with my Alex and Ani’s!! I also inherited a TON of costume jewelry from her….remember those crazy clip earrings? Or the kind with the screw on backs that kill your ears? Yep got those too. The earrings with matching brooch? Very fifties!!

  6. Bobbi says:

    I’m a retired elementary art teacher. I love hand made jewelry and have collected it from my travels and arts and craft shows I’ve attended. I rarely spent over $50.00 on anything.
    I’ve never been a standard fit, long legs, short body, thick waist so clothes shopping isn’t fun for me. I try to dress creatively and wear cool earrings.
    After challenging myself to wear a different pair of earrings every day until I ran out. I went over a month! I still had some I hadn’t worn but I decided to be done.
    I bought a shadow box with a hinged door and padded back at Michaels and hang my earrings on clear push pins in that so I can see them easily when I’m getting dressed.

  7. Fiona says:

    I have a few good pieces, mostly my mum’s rings which I’m too scared to wear in case I damage/lose them. It’s costume jewellery that I wear most and I LOVE the H bracelets! I’m not normally one for buying copy stuff but they are great.
    I just ordered some Ordinary skincare, don’t know what prompted that fb comment but ….haha respect that man ?? Ain’t ever gonna happen. Xxxx

  8. jewelsofsayuri says:

    I love that picture of colorful 60s jewelry that you posted. It looks super cool

  9. Kathryn says:

    I’m a costume jewelry junkie but as I’ve grown older I’ve also started to build a collection of good/real pieces that I’m proud of and wear often. I might be a bit old fashioned but I think every woman deserves a pair of real diamond studs, pearl studs, and a good real strand of pearls. Classic.

    Unfortunately (also as I get older) I also find that the cheap stuff bothers my skin and especially earrings make my ears itch. It stinks because I have so much fun fashion jewelry that I just can’t wear for extended periods of time anymore. That doesn’t stop me from buying it though; I always say I need more jewelry like a hole in the head.

  10. debwlv says:

    I am REALLY hard on jewelry, always have been! Imagine begging your husband to NOT buy you anything nice because you know you will likely lose it or ruin it immediately! I’m not much for jewelry in general but have started to feel guilty that I don’t have much to hand down to my daughter!… I have visions of the poor thing going through my jewelry box someday and finding only an old red Santa’s nose pin that lights when you pull the string or macaroni/papier mache pins the kids made me in their Sunday School classes! I have tried to add some basic costume jewelry pieces recently but find myself rarely reaching for them—-oh well! I can always say that I am trying to be like a French woman with my few signature pieces I guess!

  11. I love my junk jewelry. My hubby likes to buy the “real” stuff, but I’ve told him, I am just as happy with the fun, junk! Ha, ha. Great post! Loved to see your pieces. – Amy

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