All That Glitters. Spectacular Costume Jewellery from the Josef Wiggers Collection

Exhibition  /  11 Jul 2021  -  21 Nov 2021
Published: 14.07.2021
Joseff Hollywood. Set: Untitled, 2021. Photo by: Sushilla Kouwen. Earclips and necklace.. Joseff Hollywood
Set: Untitled, 2021
Photo by: Sushilla Kouwen
Earclips and necklace.
© By the author. Read Copyright.

In 2016, CODA acquired a large part of the costume jewellery collection compiled by Jozef Joop Wiggers (1934-2017). Wiggers was not only a graphic designer, painter and publisher of the popular Dutch comic strip Jan, Jans en de kinderen, but also a passionate collector and keen appreciator of beautiful things. During one of his many visits to book fairs, he discovered artists’ books about costume jewellery. This marked the start of his collection and his passion for costume jewellery.
Costume jewellery becomes fashionable at the beginning of the twentieth century when designers like Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli dispel the notion that jewellery should be synonymous with gold, silver and gemstones. Coco Chanel has no qualms about combining real pearls with their synthetic counterparts. It not only reduces the price of the jewellery, but it also makes it available to a larger group of people. This turns jewellery from a status symbol into a fashion statement and a means of expression. The terms fashion jewellery and costume jewellery are often used to describe pieces of jewellery that are not made of precious metals and gemstones, but that are significant in terms of design, their intrinsic value, or because they represent a specific era.

Costume jewellery
Because costume jewellery is less about flaunting gold, pearls and gemstones, designers are free to experiment with and indulge in colour, size and form. In collaboration with her good friend Fulco di Verdura, Coco Chanel designed Maltese Cross-themed jewellery based on the ancient crusaders’ symbol. The two world wars made gemstones and diamonds rare, popularising the use of cut glass. The cut glass from Austria and Czechia was of excellent quality and in the 1950s Swarovski began to experiment with new finishes for their glass crystals. An example is the aurora borealis; a rainbow-like finish that Dior would use repeatedly in their spectacular costume jewellery.

Fashion jewellery is further popularised in the 40s and 50s thanks to Hollywood films. Wiggers’ collection includes many pieces of jewellery made by Joseff of Hollywood. With the silver screen in mind, Eugene Joseff developed ‘Russian gold’; a type of metal that did not gleam as much as real gold and was therefore more suitable for use in films. Because the stars of the silver screen were also seen wearing the Joseff of Hollywood jewellery off-screen, it became very popular among American women. Joseff researched the historical periods in which the films he contributed to were set. One of these films was the world-famous Cleopatra, starring Liz Taylor. The Egyptian motifs from this film became wildly popular. Historical influences can also be traced in contemporary jewellery design. A good example is a recent revival of fashion house Schiaparelli, led by American designer Daniel Roseberry.
Fascinated by the beauty and creativity of the designs, Joop Wiggers developed a preference for the jewellery of Chanel, Dior, Miriam Haskell and Rebajes. He attended auctions and could often be found in vintage shops and jewellery stores. Over time, this resulted in a unique private collection that gives an overview of the development of costume jewellery. All that glitters is staged in CODA Museum Apeldoorn until 21 November 2021.

About Joop Wiggers
Jozef - Joop - Wiggers (1934-2017) was the publisher of the popular Dutch comic strip Jan, Jans en de kinderen and a good friend of Jan Kruis, creator of this well-known fictional family. A creative child, Wiggers grew up in The Hague. His father worked for a printing company and Joop turned the excess paper cuttings that his father brought home into letters that he used to spell words on the floor. The family’s next-door neighbor, who was a painter, felt that the art academy would be a good place for the young, creative Joop. Joop took his advice and attended the art academy, specialising in graphic design. He met Jan Kruis in the early 60s and they both worked at advertising agency Van Maanen, where they made ad campaigns for Shell, DAF and Porsche. In the mid-sixties, Wiggers decided to leave the agency and become a freelancer. In this capacity, he created ad campaigns, illustrated children’s pages for magazines and made posters for children that he printed himself. In 1971, these posters were awarded the ‘Le prix l‘Européen de faon d’or’, which was presented to him in Monaco by princess Gracia. He spent most of his free time with his easel and paints. He and his wife Beppie are the parents of 2 sons.

From 11 July to 21 November 2021, CODA Museum presents highlights from this remarkable private collection.
Chanel. Set: Untitled, 2021. Photo by: Sushilla Kouwen. Bracelet and brooch.. Chanel
Set: Untitled, 2021
Photo by: Sushilla Kouwen
Bracelet and brooch.
© By the author. Read Copyright.
Miriam Haskell. Set: Untitled, 2021. Photo by: Sushilla Kouwen. Necklace and earclips.. Miriam Haskell
Set: Untitled, 2021
Photo by: Sushilla Kouwen
Necklace and earclips.
© By the author. Read Copyright.