If you ever heard your grandmother use the term "paste jewelry," as I did, you probably didn't really understood what it meant, but you knew from her disdainful tone that it was derogatory, something not as good as the real thing. Until a few days ago, I never realized that the term comes from the French "pate de verre" which means glass paste, and has nothing to do with fake gems being pasted to metal, which is what I'd always assumed!
I was enlightened in more ways than one by a fascinating lecture hosted by the American Society of Jewelry Historians on March 27. The lovely Deanna Farneti Cera was our guide to a very specific period of history, 1930-1950 in Paris, when 2 formidable doyennes of fashion enjoyed a fierce rivalry. Back then, couture simply meant "made to measure" and fashion shows were merely défilés of ten or so girls parading around an atelier for a select group of well-to-do clients.Read More