How Jewellery Trends Have Evolved Over The Decades

Jewellery styles have changed dramatically over the past century. Looking back at the jewellery trends from each decade provides a snapshot of what was in style and culturally significant during that time period. Let's take a walk down memory lane and see how jewellery fashions have evolved over the years.

1900s - 1910s: Edwardian and Art Nouveau Jewelry

The early 1900s marked the Edwardian era, named after Britain’s King Edward VII. Jewelry from this period was characterized by:

  • Light and delicate designs
  • Popular materials were platinum, diamonds, pearls, and coloured gemstones.
  • Motifs were floral and nature-inspired.

Art Nouveau jewellery was also popular. Known for its:

  • Intricate, flowing, asymmetrical shapes.
  • Influence from natural elements like flowers, insects, and curved lines.
  • Use of materials like gold, silver, enamel, glass, and gems.

1910s - 1920s: Art Deco Jewelry

After World War I, Art Deco emerged as the dominant jewellery style. It was linear, geometric, and modern. Characteristics included:

  • Sleek, straight lines and angles.
  • Stylized floral and animal motifs.
  • Influence from Egyptian, Greek, and Japanese art.
  • Popular gems were onyx, coral, jade, and diamonds.
  • Platinum and white gold were preferred over yellow gold.
  • Common motifs were sunbursts, tassels, and chevrons.

1930s - 1940s: Retro and Patriotic Jewelry

The Great Depression and World War II impacted the jewellery styles of this era:

  • Retro jewellery mimicked the Art Deco style with its abstract shapes and bright colours.
  • Patriotic jewellery with red, white, and blue gemstones surged in popularity during World War II.
  • Brooches, cocktail rings, and charm bracelets were in style.
  • Platinum was avoided due to wartime shortages. Costume jewellery flourished using substitute gems and base metals.

1950s: Gold Jewelry

Post-war prosperity influenced jewellery in the fabulous '50s:

  • Yellow gold was abundant again and widely used. Rose gold also made a comeback.
  • Common motifs were bows, hearts, birds, and nature themes.
  • Popular styles included charm bracelets and ornate cocktail rings.
  • Diamonds and precious gems were prominently featured due to their perceived glamour.

1960s - 1970s: Modernist Jewelry

Jewelry took a modern, youthful turn in these decades:

  • Modernist jewellery featured bold abstract shapes and asymmetric designs.
  • New metals like brass, copper, and silver were utilized.
  • Wood, enamel, plastic, and paper beads became statement pieces.
  • Chunky cocktail rings, cuff bracelets, and long drop earrings were on-trend.
  • Hippie-style jewellery with peace signs and pendants was prevalent in the 1970s.

1980s: Bold Jewelry

Opulent jewellery marked the 1980s with these defining characteristics:

  • Heavy gold chains, wide choker necklaces, and bracelets for men and women.
  • Large gemstone rings and cocktail rings.
  • Earrings were increasingly larger and bolder. Hoops and chandelier earrings were a hot item.
  • Colourful Swarovski crystals and enamelled jewellery provided affordable glamour.

1990s: Minimalist Jewelry

In contrast to the preceding decade, 90s jewellery veered towards simplicity:

  • Delicate gold chains with small pendants were popular, as well as slender hoop earrings.
  • Jewellery inspired by nature, motifs like dolphins and stars were prevalent.
  • Anklets, chokers, and body jewellery gained popularity.
  • Platinum jewellery increased in popularity for its understated luxury.

2000s: Bling Jewelry

The new millennium brought sparkling, ostentatious styles to the forefront:

  • Hip-hop culture influenced oversized platinum and diamond jewellery, such as large diamond earrings, chains, and grills.
  • Tennis bracelets and coloured gemstones were a hit. Pink diamonds and sapphires were especially popular.
  • Charm bracelets made a comeback, now with luxury charms in solid gold.
  • Whimsical and artsy jewellery from designers emerged as a response to mainstream bling.

2010s: Personalized and Artisanal Jewelry

Individuality ruled jewellery in the 2010s decade:

  • Mixing different metals, gemstones, and designs grew trendy. Mismatched earrings also became a fashion statement.
  • Personalized jewellery with engraved names, dates, and messages surged in popularity.
  • Artisan-made and handcrafted jewelry was widely sought after for its uniqueness.
  • Body jewellery expanded beyond just earrings and necklaces; anklets, nose rings, and ear cuffs were hot items.
  • Chokers and layered necklaces again hit peak popularity.

2020s: Sustainable and Gender-Fluid Jewelry

Current jewellery trends show a movement towards progressive values:

  • Sustainable materials like recycled metals, lab-grown diamonds, and plastics are increasingly used.
  • Unisex and gender-fluid designs are more available as gender stereotypes relax.
  • Bold colours, organic shapes, and asymmetrical earrings lead to cutting-edge trends.
  • Classic styles like tennis bracelets and necklaces are still staples but with modern twists.
  • Vintage, antique, and pre-loved jewellery has made a comeback as interest in secondhand fashion grows.

Looking over the evolution of jewellery trends provides a meaningful perspective on each era. From dainty Edwardian jewellery to flashy hip-hop bling, jewellery fashions reflect the cultural moods, events, and values of the times. It will be fascinating to see what styles define the next decade in jewellery fashion. One thing is certain - jewellery will continue to be a way for people to express their individuality and style.