Jewelry Time Periods Part 3

Welcome back to our final installment of our jewelry time periods series. Today we are going to take a look at the jewelry from the Art Deco era, retro era, and the modern era.

ART DECO ERA (1915-1935)

jewelry from the art deco era

The manufacturing of jewelry stopped when World War I began. The difficult times brought on by war marked the end of fashions and trends that were made popular in the Edwardian era. Women needed to take on men’s roles in the workplace while they were at war, they started learning valuable skills and earning their own money. This change and winning the right to vote in 1920 lead to independence and emancipation for women. When the war ended, the “Roaring 20’s” ushered in a new attitude and the overall desire to live life to the fullest-an attitude that was reflected in the new jewelry designs.

Bold, geometric designs were most characteristic. Lines were straight and linear, gemstone shapes most often followed suit. Sapphires, rubies, and emeralds added a splash of color to otherwise diamond-centric jewelry. Black onyx and red coral were also used as an accent color.

Platinum was still the metal of choice but white gold was also popular since the cost of platinum was so high. Multiple bracelets stacked on the wrist, as well as long strands of cultured pearls, which worked beautifully with the new fashions of the day, simple, elegant and freer silhouettes. (Unrestrictive, straight fringed dresses.)


RETRO ERA (1935-1950)

Jewelry from the retro era

After the collapse of the stock market in 1929 and the subsequent Great Depression, jewelry design regained speed in the 1930’s. Hollywood and all its glamour became the influence of Retro jewelry or “Cocktail Jewelry” as it’s sometimes called. The jewelry was all about bigger, bolder, brighter. As women moved into the workforce the clothing became more subdued so the jewelry stepped up to fill the fashion void. With platinum reserved for the war effort, gold resurged in popularity, and different colors of gold were created in shades of rose and green. The Retro era is a unique fusion of past and present resulting in a wide range of designs to choose from.

The most popular gemstones seen in Retro jewelry are aquamarine, citrine, large cabochon-cut rubies and sapphires, golden beryl, peridots and tourmaline. The pieces often feature massive, emerald cut aqua marines, citrines and amethysts, accented with smaller rubies, sapphires and diamonds.


MODERN ERA (1950’s+)

Jewelry from the modern era

Post-war 1950’s was a time of great economic growth that led to the rise of the upper middle class. Jewelry from the 1950’s reflected this new prosperity by featuring an abundance of gemstones set in flashy, dramatic designs, with a focus once again on diamonds and lots of them! Now designs were more light and textural as opposed to the solid, high polished look of Retro jewelry.  Engraved finishes and braided rope accents were popular design elements. Platinum once again became the metal of choice used for diamond jewelry.  

We hope you have enjoyed our journey into the past these three weeks, we look forward to bring you more insightful content.