Simple Guide to Vintage Jewelry

by Sasha t on May 03, 2021

Simple Guide to Vintage Jewelry - Jack Weir & Sons

Simple Guide to 1960s and 1970s Jewelry

Are you interested in vintage jewelry or would like to expand your collection? Consider learning more about Vintage 1960’-1970’s jewelry. The economic stability and social regime of the 1950s were swept away by a period of political questioning and rejection of the present. A younger generation was seizing the cultural reigns, and the impact was felt everywhere. People of the 1960s and ’70s had new values: modernism, free-thinking, and demand for change. Many jewelry designers were influenced by these ideas and gradually the designs became bolder and eye-catching. They expressed creativity and individuality. Femininity and elegance were no longer a priority.

In this blog post you will learn:

  • Inspiration from the Art
  • 60’s and 70’s Main Characteristics 
  • Popular Types of Jewelry 

Inspiration from the Art

Mod Designs - The term “mod” comes from the term modernist. Mod designs were all about being youthful, creative, daring, bold, and self-confident which aligned with the 60s ideology and fashions.
Pop Art - Pop Art challenged traditional values and celebrated commonplace objects and everyday life. Characterized by vibrant and bright colors, red, yellow, and blue were the prominent shades. It symbolized fashion for the masses, wearable, and affordable.
Op Art - Op Art made a grand entrance. It had geometric patterns in black and white to create an optical illusion or to play with visual perception. 1960s jewelry drew inspiration notably from these three styles.

60’s and 70’s Main Characteristics

Textured Gold - Since solid gold jewelry was already a hot trend, jewelry designers began to experiment with textures. A gritty effect dulling the shine of gold was created by fusing gold onto gold. Crumpled and hammered textures were also popular. In addition to gold, other metals were utilized during this decade.


Plastics and Perspex – The new age of consumerism and disposable products entered our society. Mass production became popular in the jewelry industry. Plastics and resins were gaining their popularity during this decade. Big dangling earrings in geometric shapes, stacks of thick or skinny bangles, colorful flower necklaces, and plastic character pins were all-new for the space age youth. The new low-cost, low-value designs of the 1960s paved the way for an entirely new approach to fashion and consumerism. Traditional and more sophisticated women continued to wear textured gold, pearls, and paste styles. 

Bold Color Combinations – The fashions of the 1960s and 1970s were provocative and expressed individuality in any way possible. Mod or pop art colors: black and white, yellow and green, and pink and red to name just a few. Jewelry designs featured bold colors, often with lurid man-made combinations paired together.
Geometric Shapes – Similar to the geometric trends of the 1920s, The Space Age influenced jewelry and fashion design, with metal designs in geometric shapes becoming popular in the ’60s and ’70s. Circles, diamonds, spirals, and hexagons were all featured in these new jewelry styles.
Popular Types of Jewelry
Statement Earrings - During this period, women wore short hair or tucked back under a thick headband. Therefore, long large earrings became extremely popular and a must-have. The ear lobes became the perfect place to sport oversized hoops or dramatic high-end earrings.
Cocktail Rings - Big cocktail rings continued to be worn in the ’60s and ’70s. Designs became even bigger, more colors, and with global influences. In the late 1960s, Indian and Middle Eastern-inspired arts influenced both fashion and jewelry. The hippie movement evolved and established new trends. 
Bangles - With the growing value of consumerism and mass production women were able to accessorize their outfits more easily and cheaper than ever before. Chunky oversized bangles in jarring color combinations were the perfect 1960s accessory, as were stacks of thin bangles cascading the entire arm.

The Bottom Line 

Mass production and consumerism crawled into American homes and influenced other countries. Jewelry became easily accessible, affordable, and disposable. Cheaper materials like Plastic, Resin, and Perspex became popular. Nevertheless, high-end jewelry was also popular, and it reflected the 60’s and 70’s ideas of freedom, resistance, individuality, and creativity. 

Simple Guide to '80s and '90s Jewelry

  Are you interested in vintage jewelry or would like to expand your collection? Consider learning more about Vintage 1980’-1990’s jewelry. The 80s were known to be bold, bright, and beautiful. Often described as the most eclectic decade in fashion, it was characterized by big hair, bold colors, and big jewelry. The ’90s are one of the most memorable fashion decades in the west, known as a time of multiculturalism and rapid advancement of technology. Due to the rise of the World Wide Web, fashion easily became more homogenous as ideas, photographs, and trends could be widely circulated. 

In this blog post you will learn:

  • Fashion Icons of the ’80s and ’90s 
  • 80’s and 90’s Main Characteristics 
  • Popular Types of Jewelry 

Fashion Icons of the 80s and 90s

One of the best ways to get a feel for the jewelry styles of the 80s is to look at the fashion icons of the time. These include:

  • Princess Diana: Her jewelry was often large and featured colorful stones. 
  • Dynasty and Dallas (television series'): The flashier the better, and jewelry often featured large pearls and big earrings. 
  • Cyndi Lauper: Beads, bangles, and bold colors everywhere made up Lauper's 80s style. 
  • Madonna: Madonna wore big sparkly jewelry, long beaded necklaces, huge earrings, and it would've been difficult to guess just how many bracelets (of all kinds, in all colors) adorned her wrists at any given time. 
  • Jennifer Aniston: 90’s sweetheart, the girl everyone wants to be. 
  • Cindy Crawford: an iconic example of the Model Obsessed Generation

80’s and 90’s Main Characteristics

’80s were bright, bold, and colorful. Styles of this era revealed women’s sexuality, freedom of choice, and expression. After Madonna’s famous music video: “Like A Virgin'', women spoke freely about their desires and commemorated it with ironic wear of catholic cross jewelry and other bold looks. As for the 1990s, despite this leaning towards grunge and casual wear, there was also still an essence of glamour. For instance, high-shine fabrics like satin, sequins, vinyl, and silk were popular amongst women and were adopted especially for clubwear. Consequently, evening jewelry like fringe necklaces, diamante collars, hair barrettes, and tennis bracelets were the perfect complement. 

Popular Types of Jewelry

Earrings - 1980s earrings were large and dramatic. Oversize hoops were a staple for any 80s woman. Clip-on earrings were popular as pierced styles were often too heavy to wear. Gold disc earrings were particularly fashionable and these complemented large gold buttons that graced jackets and suits. 


Dramatic drop earrings - The drop earrings of the ’90s were dramatically long, the longer the better. Long sparkly drop earrings were a red carpet staple. The look was championed by the biggest celebrities of the decade. 


Huge, ornate, princess di–level studs - During this time, obviously statement accessories were all the rage, but in particular, people loved oversized studs—Princess Diana wore these types of jewels all the time. Simple Studs were also very popular in the late 90s - timeless and classy, a look popular to this day.

Rings - Cocktail rings and other costume pieces were part of the 1980s and 1990’s style. These were worn both during the day and as evening wear and contributed to the overall sense of confidence and wealth that were part of the decade.


Tennis bracelets - in the '80s, the tennis bracelet rose in popularity as a bit of a status symbol. While the size of the diamonds may have changed from person to person, they all have the recognizable look. Round stones are set in the same four-prong basket setting. So, the look definitely spoke of a certain era. In the 1990's It's not about something big and flashy anymore. It's about everyday bling that feels modern but will never go out of style.


Heart-shaped collar necklaces - Remember those Tiffany's heart necklaces that fastened with a circle-and-bar? Those were and still are iconic. They represented the 90’s grunge yet with a romantic twist. 


Gothic crosses - After Madonna’s famous music video: “Like A Virgin'', women spoke freely about their desires and commemorated it with ironic wear of carholic cross jewelry and other bold looks. Gothic pieces had a huge renaissance during the '90s, as Jennifer Aniston demonstrates right here. 




Chokers, chokers, chokers of all forms and shapes. 

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