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Jewelry and Designer Fragrances: Get the Latest Scoop

Accessories make the woman. There's no doubt that designer jewelry and fine fragrances can turn a plain set of clothes into a dazzling outfit. The right pair of earrings or the ideal ring makes all the difference in the world, no matter what your style. And the perfect fragrance leaves an unforgettable impression.

Before deciding on a piece of jewelry, it is important to know the difference between fine jewelry and costume jewelry. Fine jewelry is made from precious gemstones--such as diamonds, pearls, and rubies--and precious metal-- gold, silver or platinum. Fine jewelry is not just for wearing; it is also used as an investment or a collectible. Fine jewelry has lasting value, and maintains its value despite changes in style.

Costume jewelry is less expensive than fine jewelry because it is made from less valuable metals, such as pewter, nickel, stainless steel, or gold- or silver-plated brass. Semi-precious gemstones, crystals, glass, plastic, and synthetic diamonds such as zirconium replace rare precious gems. Mother-of-pearl, moonstone, coral, and turquoise are also popular in costume jewelry. Costume jewelry is designed to fit a particular style or even a particular outfit; it does not remain stylish for long, but it sometimes comes back into style as vintage jewelry.

Costume jewelry dates itself. Early costume jewelry dates back to the 1920s and 1930s, when elaborate jewelry and accessories were popular. After that, costume jewelry tended to be glamorous and elegant, with a Hollywood flair. Rhinestones and opals in more conservative styles were popular in the middle of the 20th century. Twenty-first century costume jewelry is bold and modern in style.

Body jewelry is a fairly new category of costume jewelry. Belly rings and belly bars are sweet and sexy at the same time. Toe rings make sure the smallest digits aren't left out. Talking toe ring sends an unforgettable message, whether your message is about peace, love, or something more playful. Belly belts and belly chains made with crystals, mother-of-pearl or synthetic stones use crystal-enhanced silk to attach to the waste or belly. A sterling and diamond nose stud makes a definite fashion statement.

The French fashion designer Coco Chanel played an important role in popularizing costume jewelry as well as fragrances for casual wear. She had a vision of comfortable and basic styles that were elegant in their simplicity, rather than opulent and overstated. The Chanel Company's fragrances, including the famous Chanel No. 5, are among the most well known perfumes in the world.

Of course, Chanel is not the only maker of quality fragrances. Schiaparelli, Yves Saint Laurent, Givenchy, and Estee Lauder are some of the biggest names in perfumes for women. Among the dozens of fragrances for men, Fragonard, Davidoff, Zegna, and Yves Saint Laurent are some of the better-known brands.

It goes without saying that pieces of designer jewelry, like fragrances, are not just for women. Rings, neck chains, anklets, and bracelets are available for men in both costume and fine jewelry. As with women's jewelry, styles range from simple metal bands to elaborate pieces with precious or semi-precious stones.

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