100 Years of Jewellery Trends

100 Years of Jewellery Trends

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 seem to get enough.  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? 

1910s Jewellery

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.

Antique 5 Stone Sapphire Ring
Pearl and Diamond Double Drop Pendant

1920s Jewellery

The roaring 20s were all about Art Deco. From antique 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 1920s jewellery. 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. 

1920s Art Deco Garnet and Diamond Pendant Necklace
Antique Diamond and Pearl Pendant

1930s Jewellery

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.

Antique Aquamarine Ring Yellow Gold
1930s White Gold Amethyst Pendant

1940s Jewellery

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 1940s jewellery of course!

Vintage Yellow Gold Bow Brooch with Diamonds
Large Diamond Bow Brooch for Sale

1950s Jewellery

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. 1950s jewellery 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.

18k White Gold Pear Cut Aquamarine Pendant
Sapphire and Citrine Spray Brooch

1960s Jewellery

The 1960s was a time of cultural upheaval. Rules were broken and conventions were challenged, and this was clearly reflected in trends within 1960s jewellery. Bohemian styles made from non-precious metals and stones were very popular, particularly those that included floral motifs.

Burmese Ruby and Gold Brooch
Vintage Emerald Brooch with Diamonds

1970s Jewellery

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.

Vintage Quartz Brooch
Antique Coral and Yellow Gold Ring

1980s Jewellery

‘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.

Pear Cut Colombian Emerald Pendant for Sale
Vintage Pink Tourmaline Necklace Gold

1990s 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.

Vintage Diamond Bracelet for Sale
3 Stone Diamond Ring 2 Carat Center Stone

2000s Jewellery

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.

Vintage Bird Brooch with Diamonds
Vintage Spray Brooch with Diamonds

2010s Onwards Jewellery

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.

The author’s views are entirely their own and may not always reflect the views of AC Silver.

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