• Emma

Key Looks in Vintage Jewellery Part 2

Following on from last week's Part 1 of Key Looks in Vintage Jewellery, this week I bring you Part 2! Here I take a deeper look at the biggest trends and influences of vintage jewellery from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.


I absolutely adore vintage jewellery in all of it's shapes and forms. It is so hard to choose my favourite era but I think it would have to be the 1960s. I just love big bold and chunky pieces as well as a bit of kitsch and Pop Art! I would love to know your favourite vintage jewellery era so drop me a comment below or over on Instagram or Facebook.


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Back to the blog, let's get started with the glitz and glamour of everything that vintage jewellery has to offer...



1950s Vintage Jewellery

Undoubtedly the most iconic jewellery look of the 1950s was pearls, whether natural, cultured or simulated. They appeared on every type of jewellery throughout the decade. Necklaces would be in single, double or even up to five or six strands. Earrings, rings, bracelets and brooches also incorporated this classic and neutral toned feature. Just like today, real pearls were more rare and expensive and would often be given as luxurious and generous gifts for debutantes and special birthdays such as 18th and 21st. Many women would have their 'best' pearls and their pearls for everyday wear.

For both costume and fine jewellery, nature remained a popular theme with designers such as Hattie Carnegie presenting beautiful floral spray and leaf shaped brooches. This was also influenced by the Scandinavian Modern movement and these designers incorporated the spiritual and elemental qualities of nature in a more abstract way.


Matching was a huge part of 1950s fashion, from twinsets to gloves, hats, shoes and bags in the same colour or design. This was also apparent in 1950s jewellery as parures became very popular. A parure is a suite of matching jewellery that is designed to be worn at the same time. This usually comprises a necklace and earrings but often a bracelet too.

There was also a surge of whimsical and kitsch jewellery in the 1950s, not least in the form of figurative brooches. Anything from a poodle or cocktail glass to the Eiffel Tower or a cigarette were created from vivid enamels and diamantes for a cute and quirky addition to any outfit.


1960s Vintage Jewellery

The 1960s was for sure a decade of fashion experimentation as the world opened up and offered more opportunities for travel and new types of materials. Following on from the Space-Age designs of the likes of Pierre Cardin, Paco Rabanne and Courrèges, plastic became a hugely popular material. Dresses were formed from links of plastic, plastic furniture was designed by Joe Columbo and plastic jewellery was a massive trend. This also tied in perfectly with the Pop Art Movement. Pop artists such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein used bright primary colours and hard edged graphics to transform the aesthetics of the era.


"Flower Power" was actually a term coined by poet Allen Ginsberg as a call to peaceful and non-violent demonstrations against the Vietnam war. This was visually represented by demonstrators and hippies wearing real flowers and then entered mainstream fashion. Geometric and Op Art effects also influenced this floral phenomenon, the Mary Quant daisy is a perfect example of this. These geometric flowers were a huge part of vintage jewellery too and one of my personal favourites!


1970s Vintage Jewellery

As protest and recession dogged the early 1970s, jewellery took a very obvious turn away from representing glitz and wealth to a much more spiritual display within the sobering global climate. The bohemian and hippie looks most definitely became mainstream with kaftans, cheesecloth, maxi skirts and natural fibre accessories being super fashionable. The absence of glittering stones and sparkling pieces forced designers to concentrate on textured surfaces and relief work in metal, the key material that dominated 1970s jewellery. As flashy jewellery was very much out of fashion, more subtle and discreet pieces had their moment. One of these was stickpins. Traditionally used as tie pins for men, women began to wear them on jacket and blazer lapels as a small but chic accent.


Silver and turquoise jewellery from Mexico and Arizona was particularly popular, especially in the first part of the era. The relationship with cultures that were considered down-trodden seemed to strike a chord with the Vietnam War generation. Cher was a huge seventies icon and is part Cherokee. She was frequently photographed wearing Native American jewellery which was a style emulated by many. Rings also changed quite dramatically with natural materials such as ivory, ebony and wood being used to create simple rings that would be worn in stacks on each hand. Crystals and quartz were also used in ring designs as well as the iconic mood stone rings that would literally change colour before your eyes!


So that completes my in-depth journey into key vintage jewellery looks throughout the decades. Politics and world events will always have an impact on fashion and I find it so interesting how this dictates zeitgeist for those iconic decade moments.


I would love to hear your thoughts and favourites and of course if you love vintage jewellery as much as I do then you can shop 24/7 for beautiful and unique pieces from our range here... Vintage Jewellery


Thank you for reading and I will see you next week!


Emma x


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