Influences on Style During the 1920s
The 1920s was a decade of revolution in all aspects of fashion and culture; we’re likely all familiar with the chic flapper aesthetic of cropped hair, drop-waist dresses, and plunging necklines.
A major change in fashion during this period came through how it was interpreted – fashion became more of an artistic expression, a way to rebel and explore new avenues away from practicality. The 1920s represent, in many ways, the first time that women’s clothing was about expressing length and straight lines, emphasising a boyish look that emulated the struggle for women to be seen as men’s equals during this time.
The overwhelmingly popular preference for short, gamine hairstyles resulted in an equally popular increase in long, dangling earrings. These earrings often featured detailed filigree designs, making the most out of earrings as an accessory. Statement earrings became a focal point of fashion during this period.
Pendulous earrings often coated in diamonds or pearls were commonplace for special events such as weddings. Our own 1920s diamond earrings and pearl earrings are very evocative of the period, expertly representing the styles for formal occasions and everyday wear equally well.
What Earrings Were Popular in the 1920s?
If you’re wanting to know what was the most popular earring style in the 1920s, look no further than Art Deco designs. The angular cuts of gemstones and shapes involved in Art Deco design translated seamlessly to the fashionable jewellery of the time. White on white was also a very popular element of this period; where gemstones like pearls or diamonds would be set into white metals such as platinum, palladium, and white gold. In great contrast to the popular jewellery of the late Victorian and much of the Edwardian period, these 1920s Art Deco earrings appeared cutting edge and modern due to its clean brightness.
While the dangling and drop earrings we’ve mentioned were indeed exceptionally popular during the 1920s, stud earrings remained a staple feature also. Usually, these earrings would be a common shape such as a round, with a more intricate internal design that reflected the Art Deco patterns. Alternately, sometimes stud earrings were relatively plain in terms of decoration, but were shaped into a more unique aesthetic, as can be seen with the two pairs of stud earrings above.
Styles of 1920s Earrings
The Art Deco school of design ruled the 1920s. The name ‘Art Deco’ is an abbreviation from an exposition held in Paris in 1925 demonstrating art, architecture and culture from around the world called the Exposition Nationale des Art Decoratifs. This was to become the seminal artistic movement which would define the style of the era.
Another considerable influence on the style of 1920s fashion and jewellery was the archaeological discoveries made during the era. One such discovery was the tomb of Tutankhamun, arguably the most well-known pharaoh of Ancient Egypt. This discovery, as well as that of other Ancient Egyptian relics, manifested itself in jewellery design with an abundance of yellow gold, lapis lazuli, turquoise and Egyptian motifs such as scarab beetles, the eye of Horus, lotus blossoms and pyramids.
The discovery of a large diamond mine in South Africa made diamonds more affordable and plentiful, however they were marketed in such a way that they remained a sign of wealth and prosperity. Diamonds were, however plentiful, reserved for evening and formal occasions only, as it was considered uncouth and gauge to wear diamonds during the day.
Instead, semi-precious stones such as jade, turquoise, onyx and carnelian were worn for everyday use, usually in silver-coloured castings. In less expensive jewellery, zinc, silver plate or nickel would be used in place of sterling silver. Yellow gold was rarely worn except for in Egyptian reproduction jewellery of the time.
Whether they were studs or drops, the earrings of the 1920s were designed to make a statement. Geometric shapes and repeating patterns are commonly found throughout all aspects of the Art Deco period, and this aesthetic has become timeless due to its enduring style. Check out our blog to learn why we are so drawn to geometric jewellery, as this trend has been around for a long time.
The 1920s was a period of revolution in the Western world, particularly for women. For the first time, they were working jobs, earning their own money, and beginning to have significant independence as members of society detached from men. The jewellery of this era, with its bold colours, shapes, and designs, reflects this dramatic branching out. It will always be adored thanks to its connection to this significant period in time.