I’ve already written about Chanel costume jewellery and I’ve explained the reason why I think it’s so appealing. Chanel costume jewellery from the latest collections is lovely, but it’s nothing if compared to vintage pieces. I am a vintage lover (I’ve raided my mother’s and relatives’ closets since I was a child, especially looking for accessories and anything ’strange’ and out of fashion) and I like collecting costume jewellery  from the past, so I would be honoured and lucky to own an authentic Chanel jewel.
The greatest and most famous vintage shops often sell Chanel costume jewellery, so it was not hard to find the interesting pieces I’m going to show you in the following pics.
Decades, the famous L.A. shop, for example, has had great pieces for sale. Most of them come from the 80s: they are big pieces and carry famous Chanel symbols, such as double Cs, hearts, pearls, cages, globes, the number ‘5′ and chains.
Double Cs are probably the most renowned Chanel symbol: they are all over Chanel accessories and jewellery, so these earrings are a classic. They both have pendants with double Cs, the first have pearl buttons, while the others are made of ‘raw’ gold metal.
Another unmistakable Chanel symbol is the number ‘5′, the lucky number of the Parisian maison and the name of the most famous Chanel fragrance.
Both couple of earrings have hoop pendants: the golden earrings on the left have the number ‘5′ inscribed in circles, and the earrings on the right have simple hoops hanging from double Cs. They are in pure 80s style, big and showy, but I’m sure that nowadays they’d be perfect to make a simple outfit special.
I love these golden earrings: they have double Cs inscribed in hearts, hanging from spirals.
It would be interesting to know the reason why cages are recurring motifs in Chanel costume jewellery. The same can be said for globes, which resemble cages with their intertwining parallels and meridians. Think of the gorgeous 1992 commercial starring Vanessa Paradis in the role of a whistling bird on a swing, closed in a cage. The earrings on top are globe-shaped (some words – Coco, Rue Cambon, Paris – are written on each parallel and meridian), while the others are cage-shaped: the ‘birds’ are tiny double Cs.
Pearls are Chanel symbols as well: pearls decorate these pairs of earrings. They both have pendants hanging from round-shaped buttons with double Cs inscribed. The pendants of the first pair are round and gold, while the pendants of the second pair are pear-shaped and black.
Many women love charm bracelets because they’re funky and funny. I don’t love this type of bracelets (I’m sure I’d feel awkward with something hanging and tinkling from my wrist), but these are gorgeous. One is quite elaborate: it’s made of round chains, it has a toggle closure and round charms with silhouettes, double Cs and wheat ears. The second is sublime: the charms are button-shaped!
This charm bracelet is special for a lot of reasons: the charms are all Chanel or lucky symbols (from the left: a clover, a turtle, a quilted handbag, a cherub, a N°5 bottle, a pump and a clover), it was seen on the wrist of Carole Bouquet in a N°5 advertisement (on the other wrist she had a chain watch) and in a commercial directed by Ridley Scott .
Chains can be found anywhere in Chanel accessories (belts and the shoulder straps of the iconic 2.55 bag), so it’s not strange to find a bracelet made of chain and leather. This piece is so famous that it has inspired several modern designers: CC Skye, for example, created a double wrap chain and leather bracelet – frequently seen on Nicole Richie.
Some notable pieces are necklaces from the mid 80s – the beginning of Karl Lagerfeld’s tenure at Chanel – created by the French glass artist Gripoix. They are inspired to Byzanthine art: one works the motifs of the clover and the Malta cross, with opaque glass elements, the other has a big cross, decorated by colourful stones and a pearl, hanging from a thick chain necklace.
Several antique shops sell their vintage Chanel pieces on line, for example these lovely earrings with pearl pendants hanging from buttons with gold clovers.
Pearls, chains and leather are the elements of the big cuff bracelet in the pic below.
This is an elaborate version of the simple chain and leather bracelet we’ve just seen. The necklace is made of pearls in different sizes and is closed by a chain, a hook and a pearl.
I’ve explained why I’m not a fan of charm bracelets and I can explain why I am a fan of cuff bracelets instead. I love the way they silently stay around the wrist like a precious grasp. I always wear my trusty silver cuff bracelet on my right wrist (I’ve had it during my wedding day and the day I gave birth to my daughter Bianca, because it’s a sort of good luck object), so I could truly appreciate these two beautiful Chanel cuff bracelets, had I the chance to own one. The first has double Cs all over, while the second has the word ‘Chanel’ on a quilted base.
Before closing the post, I want to show you some Chanel advertisements from the 90s, starring Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington and Jasmeen Ghauri: costume jewellery has a great part in each outfit.
Jasmeen was wearing a classic Chanel outfit – black pleated skirt, red shirt, houndstooth jacket, lace-up ankle boots and black hat – with outstanding jewels – earrings and a big cross-shaped brooch.
In this shot she was wearing a tweed suit, yellow scarf and sweater, with a pearl and stone necklace and belt. Please note the cute 2.55 bag, with some straps for carrying a rolled magazine.
Linda Evangelista and Christy Turlington are probably the most fascinating 90s supermodels. They posed for Karl Lagerfeld in an iconic campaign: in this shot they were wearing white bathrobes (Christy even had a turban on her head) and pearl necklaces. Christy’s necklace is very simple, while Linda was wearing multistrand necklaces. Please note the white cat’s eye sunglasses and the 2.55 bag on Christy.
Sporty chic at its best! Linda Evangelista was a fashionable runner for Chanel: she wore a cashmere tracksuit and accessorized it as an evening dress, with chain and pearl belts and necklaces. This outfit is simply gorgeous and extremely modern, as it is based on the contrast between sportswear (made of cashmere!) and jewellery. The details are important too: the wristbands are made of quilted satin and are closed by double C buttons, the sunglasses are round and have ‘Chanel’ on the arms. I’m sure the round sunglasses seen on Mary-Kate Olsen in 2006 come from the same collection; they’ve also inspired the famous S5018 half-tint sunglasses, seen on Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, and on Nicole Richie.
Platinum blonde Linda Evangelista was all dressed in sheer black in this pic, with an overload of chains, pearls and double Cs around her neck, waist and wrists.
Most of Chanel motifs – black and white, bows, pearls and chains – can be found in this amazing shot: Linda and Christy are uber-chic sailors on a desert stony beach, dressed in jersey dresses, jackets and leggings, wearing an incredible amount of pearls and chains. More than a decade has passed but these images, and the accessories seen on the models, still keep their modern vibe intact.
 My favourite pieces are American rhinestone necklaces from the 50s/60s.
 In the late 70s Ridley Scott directed a beautiful series of commercials for Chanel N°5. Chanel commercials are the best, in my opinion: just think of the one directed by Baz Luhrmann, starring Nicole Kidman, or the one directed by Joe Wright, starring Keira Knightley. The one I love most was directed by the brillian Jean Paul Goude in 1990: it featured 40 different balconies of the Carlton Hotel in Cannes, with dazzling women shouting — in French — lines from a poem about egoism. As the camera cuts from one to another, the women tear at their hair, writhe in anguish and after retreating to their rooms, repeatedly fling open the balcony doors and shout “Egoiste!”.