Vintage costume jewellery collectors shouldn't shun Avon jewellery—while Avon may be better known for their cosmetics and beauty creams, their costume jewellery— particularly from the mid-1970s to the late 1990s—has become highly sought after.
Although mass production of Avon jewellery means that many pieces are easy to find, others created in smaller productions, such as collaborations with designer Kenneth Jay Lane and actress Elizabeth Taylor, are not only rare but can also fetch a pretty penny.
All values for Avon jewellery cited here are based on eBay prices.
Avon began in 1886 as a cosmetics company selling perfume door to door. By the 1960s, perfume was only one of the company's many offerings; cosmetics, bath products, housewares and gifts had been added to the catalogues. Jewellery was also offered sporadically.
In 1971, jewellery became a notable addition to the Avon catalogue and was offered during each campaign. Soon, costume jewellery would be one of the company's most popular lines.
By the 1980s, Avon's reputation for offering high-quality yet affordable costume jewellery began to attract notable designers to the line.
The value of Avon jewellery is dependent not only on the quality and vintage of the piece but more so on whether or not a "name" was attached.
"Unmarked" Avon jewellery, or jewellery that was not made in conjunction with a designer, will vary in value depending on the quality of the piece and the originality of the design. For instance, an Avon necklace in fair to good shape from the 1970s will vary in resale price depending on how unusual or how retro the design is; hence, a gold-tone Avon heart pendant will fetch less than an intricate beaded design of the same vintage and condition.
Avon jewellery made in conjunction with famous designers, whether they be jewellery designers or celebrities, often demand much higher prices.
The Elizabeth Taylor jewellery collections—undoubtedly one of the most lucrative Avon jewellery designer collaborations—was produced between 1993 and 1997. These pieces have become the most sought after—and highly valued—of the Avon costume jewellery collections.
The Elizabeth Taylor collections, which were themed around both Taylor's films and her well-known love for jewellery, featured extravagant details and a high-end feel. From the Egyptian cuff bracelet etched with hieroglyphics to the Katarina cross, these were certainly not your everyday costume jewellery pieces, and the prices, both then and now, were significantly higher than other Avon jewellery.
Jose Maria Barberra
Designer Jose Maria Barerra's late 1980s-early1990s collaboration with Avon resulted in some of the most collectable costume jewellery the company produced.
Barerra's bold yet often delicate designs translated well to costume jewellery, and as a result were in demand with Avon buyers for over a decade. Buyers are now willing to pay twice or even three times the original price for vintage Avon Barerra jewellery pieces.
Kenneth Jay Lane
The most enduring jewellery collaboration Avon has enjoyed has been with designer Kenneth Jay Lane. Lane has worked with Avon since the mid-1980s to create sophisticated yet fun costume jewellery that remains highly valuable even today.
Lane's Avon designs ran the gamut from fairly uninspired pieces that were very much of their time to inspired, timeless designs. The prices his pieces commanded when released and the prices they command now attest to that fact—ranging anywhere from under £6 ($10) for the less-striking pieces to upward of £65 ($100) for the classics.