• Emma

Vintage Jewellery - The Power of the 80s

Updated: Feb 1

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – for me, the 1980s are often overlooked as the decade style forgot or the decade of the naff but I absolutely love 80s vintage!

Maybe because I was a child of the 80s my view is different from those who were adults at the time, but I just absolutely adore the sheer experimentation, colour and novelty of the era and that is represented perfectly by costume jewellery. Designers such as Vivienne Westwood, Moschino and Jean Paul Gautier really encapsulate the 1980s with it’s play on gender in fashion and it’s fearless exploration of colour, style and material.



The late eighties was also an era that saw costume jewellery from a bygone age surge in popularity and of course, in turn, value. People were looking more and more towards the gems of the past for fashion and inspiration. It was a though non-precious jewellery just came into it’s own and was valued and appreciated as an artform that was worthy of worldwide recognition. There were even jewellery designers at this time, such as Robert Sorrell, who created replicas and jewellery with a nod towards the glamour of the 30s and 40s. His large and unapologetic pieces were made from the finest and flashiest Austrian crystal and were used by Thierry Mugler for his wild and extravagant catwalk fashion shows.

In 1979, Margaret Thatcher was the first woman to ever reach the position of British Prime Minister, and this was not just politically significant but also made a huge leap in modern day gender roles and expectation. Not long after, John T Molloy published “Women: Dress for Success” which was a style guide for the new executive women of the decade. Molloy believed there were a new set of rules for the women in the workplace when it came to fashion, and this included jewellery.

Probably one of the more shocking pieces of advice to us reading this in 2017 was ‘The most useful piece of jewellery any businesswoman can wear is a wedding ring. A wedding ring announces to the world that you are there for business and nothing else’. Less said about that the better! Some of his other advice in the book included…

”If you have expensive jewellery, don’t wear it on the first meeting. Sneak up to people with it. Otherwise it will have the effect of artillery. Anything that clangs, bangs or jangles should be avoided. Dangling earrings are out ”

That may have been the way of things in the boardroom, but in the world of fashion and youth culture, the 80s was very much about dangling earrings and ALL things that clang, bang and jangle!



Cuff bracelets made comeback after the thinner more delicate bracelets of the preceding decades, and these were really thick, chunky and statement pieces. By the same token, charm bracelets were popular and the thick wrist chains adorned with all manner of novelty danglies were no longer just for the younger generation.

When it came to necklaces, crucifixes were a massive trend (particular thanks to Madonna for this) and there was also quite a trend for wearing lots of necklaces at once. Gold tended to reign over silver in the style stakes but if the 80s did anything, they did COLOUR!

That’s were plastic really came into it’s own again in the 1980s. Just look at pop stars of the time such as Cyndi Lauper, and you would see them covered in huge plastic bangles, thick plastic chains with all manner of pendants and garish earrings and rings. Loud, novelty, in your face – even neon and glow in the dark were huge. Even if this isn’t to your personal taste, it’s hard not to at least smile at the fun of it all and enjoy the nostalgia. Just a little…

At My Vintage you can find a whole host of 1980s jewellery. From vintage earrings to vintage charm bracelets, and from vintage beads to colourful hair bows. If it’s 80s then we’ve probably got it somewhere!

Come and visit our vintage shop in Darwen, Lancashire or check out our website at www.myvintage.uk