The Jewelry of the 1970s
by Sasha t on Aug 08, 2023
The 1970s was a vibrant and transformative era that witnessed a unique fusion of cultural, social, and fashion movements. Jewelry during this period reflected the spirit of self-expression, individuality, experimentation and GLAMOR! The 1970s marked the beginning of the iconic partnership between Tiffany & Co. and Elsa Peretti, the Bulgari Serpenti collection started appearing in pop culture and the Cartier love bracelet began gracing the wrists of high-profile celebrity couples. From bold and glamorous designs to earthy and bohemian styles, the jewelry trends of the 1970s remain influential and timeless. Today, we’re going to take a look at the captivating world of 1970s jewelry, exploring its distinct characteristics, iconic pieces, and lasting impact.
Peace, Flowers, Freedom, Happiness: The Bohemian Movement
The 1970s were marked by a strong countercultural movement, and jewelry became a powerful symbol of peace, love, and unity. The iconic peace sign pendant gained popularity during this era, representing a longing for harmony and social change. Heart-shaped jewelry, flower motifs, and symbols of peace, such as doves and olive branches, were commonly worn as expressions of love and peace. These pieces embodied the spirit of the era and became timeless symbols of hope and idealism.
There’s no doubt that the 1970s embraced the bohemian spirit through the hippie subculture that was so apparent at the time. The 1970s was a time for seekers - those seeking spiritual connections, looking for something more, and often finding it in cultures outside of their own. A lot of the jewelry of this era is indicative of that - pieces inspired by Native American, African, and Eastern cultures gained popularity, symbolizing a yearning for a more authentic connection to the world around us. Jewelry emphasized natural materials like wood, bone, and feathers, often combined with colorful gemstones or beads. Layered necklaces, long pendants, and statement rings were key elements of the bohemian look.
Reflecting the growing environmental consciousness of the time, jewelry in the 1970s often embraced earthy aesthetics and natural materials. Shell necklaces, woven hemp bracelets, and leather cuffs were popular choices, incorporating elements of nature into wearable art. Gemstones like turquoise, coral, and amber were highly sought after, adding a touch of earthiness and mysticism. The raw and organic quality of these materials mirrored the connection between humans and the natural world.
Burn, Baby, Burn: The Disco Influence
On the complete opposite side of the spectrum from the bohemian counterculture was the disco era. Disco brought about a glamorous and opulent jewelry style. Inspired by the vibrant nightlife scene at iconic venues like Studio 54, disco jewelry exuded decadence and sophistication. Oversized chandelier earrings adorned with shimmering crystals or rhinestones, chunky gold chains, and large cocktail rings were the go-to accessories for disco divas. Mirror ball pendants and metallic cuffs added a touch of sparkle and drama to complete the disco-glam look. These pieces were often adorned with colorful gemstones, feathers, or glittering rhinestones to catch the light on the dance floor.
Disco style was all about pushing boundaries, and jewelry designs reflected this spirit. Statement pieces with bold, oversized elements like large gemstones, chunky metals, and intricate patterns became popular. Layering multiple necklaces, stacking rings, and mixing metals were all part of the eclectic and daring approach to jewelry.
Chains played a significant role in disco jewelry, whether as necklaces or bracelets. Gold and silver chains, often layered, were worn to achieve a luxurious and glamorous look. These chains could be worn alone or paired with pendants or charms to create personalized adornments.
What’s Old is New Again: Influences on the 1970s
Art movements such as Art Nouveau and Art Deco made a resurgence in the 1970s, influencing jewelry design. Art Nouveau-inspired pieces showcased flowing lines, intricate filigree work, and nature-inspired motifs like leaves and flowers. Art Deco-inspired jewelry featured geometric shapes, bold colors, and a sleek, streamlined aesthetic. These art movements brought a sense of nostalgia and elegance to 1970s jewelry, bridging the gap between the past and the present.
Places & Faces: Iconic Designers & Pieces from the 1970s
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis favored Van Cleef & Arpels in the 1970s. Above, she is seen talking to Mohammed Ali while wearing the brand's Manchette gold cuffs and Creole gold hoops with lunar patterns. Her second husband, Aristotle Onassis was said to have loved Van Cleef & Arpels and gifted her with pieces to suit her unique sensibilities.
Elsa Peretti’s famed partnership with Tiffany & Co. began in the 1970s and has maintained momentum ever since. Liza Minelli was not only good friends with Peretti, but a huge champion of her work as well - she especially loved the cuff bracelet, seen above.
Today we are used to seeing the Cartier Love bracelet grace the wrists of everyone from a friend to a celebrity. The 70s marked the inception of the bracelet - seen above on 70s It Girl, Ali McGraw. Rumor has it that when the bracelet launched, Cartier gifted it to many of the famous couples of the time in hopes of garnering attention and popularity. We’d say it worked!
How to Incorporate Jewelry from the 1970s into your look today
We’d be happy to help you put together a jewelry look representative of this era - just give us a call!
Otherwise, here are some tips:
Pick your pieces wisely - wear pieces that represent you and your own style! A lot of the pieces from the 1970s are fairly large, so sometimes an edit makes all the difference.
Use only one or two vintage pieces at once and don't pair them with a vintage outfit. Too many vintage jewelry and clothing items put together can look like a costume.
Adding accents of natural stones like Coral or Turquoise to your look can bring a hint of the 1970s to your current look.
At Jack Weir & Sons, we’ve spent the last 40 years traveling to Europe and all over the world, curating extraordinary estate jewels. JWS is where the old world meets the new world. Celebrate life, preHereserve history, and discover your own priceless heirloom jewel. We are extremely grateful for our clients and the ability to help people to celebrate their special moments through one-of-a-kind jewelry. To share that gratitude and our strong family values, we chose to partner with Baby2Baby. So far, we've donated $125,000. A portion of every sale goes towards children living in poverty to provide them with diapers, clothing, and all the basic necessities that every child deserves.
We offer in-person and Virtual Appointments and are happy to answer any questions about your favorite jewel.