Looking back into the trends of the 20th century gives us a perspective of former styles of jewelry design. But adorning ourselves with trinkets or jewels dates back centuries earlier. In fact, the word jewelry is derived from the Latin word jocale meaning plaything. A befitting title considering the many ways we’ve used and worn these beautiful accessories throughout history. Originally, the materials used in jewelry making were made from primitive resources such as shells, animals, and fish bones. Over time, this method would evolve into the use of precious metals and gems.
Let’s take a closer look at the distinctive jewelry styles of the 20th century:
Eras and Trends Through the Century
The 1900s Edwardian and Belle era of jewelry began to take shape in the United Kingdom. Top jewelers used platinum and diamonds to make beautiful and delicate filigree. Flower designs were made into rings, necklaces, and other lovely and distinct pieces. Some of the best estate jewelry finds and antique shop discoveries are pieces from this distinct and iconic era.
Much of the jewelry of the 1920s and 30s was inspired by the Art Deco era of architecture. During this time, jewelers would fashion symmetrical and geometric designs that complimented fashion trends but were the direct opposite of the Edwardian and Belle era.
The Retro Period of the1940s and 50s forced jewelry makers to be more modest in their creations and unable to afford to make such extravagant pieces. This was due to a lack of materials because of the country being at war during this time. The upside of this unfortunate circumstance pushed jewelers to become more creative. Instead of platinum, bold semi-precious stones and gold were used.
The 1960s were flooded with mod style pieces of jewelry. The mod style of the 1960s refers to unique shapes and loud colors that were exaggerated and boldly designed. Colorful beaded jewelry became quite popular as well. Some of the beaded jewelry snapped together where you could quickly create your own ring, bracelet or necklace. Also, the ever-popular mood ring was introduced, which has made quite a comeback like many of the other rare jewelry pieces do from time to time.
The 1970s followed with heavy demand for gold items. There were gold nugget rings, necklaces charms, and belts to name a few. This gold jewelry trend was considered a must-have accessory for every outfit no matter dressy or casual. This practice spilled over into the 1980s, where bulky gold chains were worn all over your body, even on your teeth. Entertainers in the music industry influenced adults and children alike to purchase real and fake gold.
There were also lighter-hearted pieces introduced at this time. The friendship bracelet was a wildly popular trend that swept the nation. It was either knitted or crocheted and was heavily sold in stores. Many people would also make their own bracelets and personalize them to match their clothing.
Between the 1990s and the year 2000, designers seemed to want to infuse different styles types together from the past with a focus on older style jewelry. The choker became extremely popular again and was made in a variety of colors and fabrics. Dangling from them were personalized charms that even lit up at night. The year 2000 spiked a trend in wearing silver jewelry. High-quality silver mimicked white gold and was much easier on the wallet. There also was a spike in more dainty pieces that were just as attractive as gold and platinum.
Jewelry and Modern Fashion
The types of jewelry trends that have come about over the centuries have truly gone through many phases throughout the centuries. The trendy truth is, you really cannot have a successful outfit without the perfect piece of jewelry to tie your look together. It’s safe to say that everyone almost everywhere in the world has at some time or another owned a piece of jewelry whether imitation or authentic. Wearing modern or rare jewelry has always had a way of making one feel that they are set apart and unique. It has become a part of our everyday lives.
The demand for great jewelry creation continues to thrive today. This art form continues to stand the test of time. No matter the state of the economy or where you stand in society as far as class, jewelry both real and imitation continues to add that extra special uniqueness to our style that makes us all feel special.