A lot has changed over the past 100 years. However, one thing that remains the same is society’s obsession with jewellery. From bangles to brooches, we can’t get enough of it. Jewellery has always been used by individuals to express a unique sense of personality and style. However it is also the perfect demonstration of how trends change over the years. From diamond encrusted pieces in the 1940s to boho styles of the 70s, style icons have always inspired popular trends. But what have the past 100 years of jewellery trends looked like? Let’s find out!
The Art Nouveau style was still the height of fashion in the 1910s. This naturalistic approach to jewellery first appeared as a response to widespread industrial boom. Designers rejected this by taking jewellery ‘back to nature’. Floral decorations and curved lines that mimicked the look of leaves were the markers of this period. Gemstones such as pearls and sapphires were incredibly popular at this time, and well suited to the often pastel tones of this jewellery. The antique peridot necklace (pictured below) is a wonderful example of a stylish piece of jewellery from this period. With its combination of natural tones and spiralled metal, it is the definition of Art Nouveau.
The roaring 20s were all about Art Deco. From jewellery to architecture to interior design, there wasn’t an aspect of society that wasn’t somewhat influenced by this trend. Clean lines, bright colours and geometric designs were the epitome of glamour, luxury and wealth in this period. These bold designs perfectly captured the decade’s spirit of fun and frivolity. Designers such as Coco Chanel were undoubtedly the trendsetters of the 1920s. Such celebrities would often be seen at parties adorned in costume jewellery, bedazzled headwear and layers of geometric pendants. These decadent looks were aspirational for those enjoying the post war boom. More money to spend meant more lavish accessories for all. Just think of the Great Gatsby, and the stunning jewels that Tiffany provided for this!
More was more in the 1930s. Starts such as Joan Crawford took Hollywood glamour to new heights, and jewellery trends reflected this. Colourful, contrasting pieces made of highly polished golds allowed everyone to feel like a film star. Amethyst and aquamarine were the stones of choice at this time. They paired wonderfully with the rose gold metals that were trendy in the 30s. Three dimensional jewellery was also incredibly popular during this period. This innovative style involved stepped designs, such as the one featured on the antique aquamarine ring below.
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend- or at least they were in the 1940s! Inspired by Marilyn Monroe, women at time fawned over sparkly diamond pieces that were the epitome of glamour. Fashionistas in the 30s preferred a more cohesive jewellery arrangement to those of prior decades. They dressed in diamonds from head to toe, with matching sets creating a classic look. This polished style was enhanced by sweet motifs such as ribbons and bows, which added to the theme of elegance and glamour that really defined the 40s. The antique bow brooch below would have been the perfect addition to any look at this time- paired with more diamond jewellery of course!
Ultra-feminine glamour was the defining feature of the 1950s. Trends at this time were inspired by celebrities such as Jayne Mansfield, an actress and pin-up girl. Jewellery in the 1930s was rather lavish in comparison to the trends of previous decades. Dramatic, unusual designs were all the rage; see the stunning vintage sapphire ring below. Diamonds were still relatively popular; however they featured on extravagant pieces unlike those seen before. Platinum saw a resurgence in popularity in this decade, as it provided the perfect backdrop to the quirky designs that reigned supreme.
The 1960s was a time of cultural upheaval. Rules were broken and conventions were challenged, and this was clearly reflected in jewellery trends. Bohemian styles made from non-precious metals and stones were very popular, particularly those that included floral motifs. The vintage turquoise brooch pictured below is a stunning example of the trends of this time. As well as highlighting the 60s fascination with all things floral, it also includes a nod to an unlikely fashion influence; Jackie Kennedy. The first lady inspired many jewellery trends across the 60s, from brooches such as this to costume pieces and cocktail rings.
Jewellery trends in the 1970s were flamboyant and fabulous. People weren’t afraid to make bold choices, and this resulted in a theme of fun throughout the decade. Gemstones such as quartz and coral became popular, inspired by cultural influences that were shaping other aspects of this period. Going for gold was a key trend in the 70s- the chunkier the better. Statement pieces such as this vintage gold bracelet helped trendsetters to stand out from the crowd. This ostentatious attitude was somewhat ushered in by the disco movement- the daring jewellery choices made at this time were all to make wearers shine on the dancefloor.
‘Bigger is better’ was an attitude that embodied all aspects of the 1980s. Hair, clothes, jewellery- all of it was big, and all of it was bold. Cultural icons such as Madonna and Prince promoted neon colours, bright patters and edgy designs. This was reflected in jewellery of the time too. Other stars, such as Heather Locklear, can be credited with popularising the oversized jewellery trend that came to be a defining feature of the 80s. Large layered necklaces and ostentatious earrings were very trendy- who cares about clashing? Anything went in the 80s, and this made for a very fun decade in jewellery.
Jewellery trends in the 1990s were a real medley of vintage influences. This decade embraced attributes from other time periods to form a look that was feminine yet edgy. Chokers are undoubtedly one of the most iconic styles of this time. Body jewellery was also very fashionable- although this was pulled off to varying extents of success! Celebrities such as David Beckham heavily influenced trends of this time. Throughout the 90s, he paved the way for the growing market of men’s jewellery by sporting accessories such as rings, necklaces and an engagement ring.
Jewellery trends in the 2000s were all about the bling. Popular styles at this time included large hoops, layered chain necklaces and personalised jewellery- if you were lucky enough to find a piece with your name on it! Cooler toned metals such as white gold and platinum were in style. These created a modern feel that juxtaposed with the then ‘outdated’ yellow gold looks of prior decades. Jewellery for everyday wear replaced occasion pieces such as brooches in people’s affections. This contemporary necklace would have been a common example of jewellery in the 2000s, as people embraced convenience in all aspects of life.
These days, anything goes when it comes to jewellery trends. Celebrities and designers are becoming more experimental and innovative with jewellery looks, with more emphasis being placed on personal style than popular fashion. Jewellery is also becoming far more inclusive. Recent awards events have seen men pushing boundaries and wearing pieces such as brooches– and looking fabulous while doing it! This being said, we are still very influenced by trends of the past. This sapphire ring is dated circa 2010, however certainly looks vintage inspired. I suppose class never goes out of style!
Do you have a favourite era of jewellery? Let us know below!
Alice Wilson – Digital Assistant (Social Media)
After completing a degree in English Literature in 2018 Alice joined the AC Silver as a Digital Assistant. Alice is responsible for keeping our social media accounts fun and fresh for you all. In addition she will also entertain you on our blog with some creative posts.