The middle of the last century is a time when increased attention was paid to jewelry. The golden age of Hollywood has created many striking looks that cannot be imagined without luxurious jewelry with diamonds and natural pearls. These are the roles of Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly and other film stars of that time. At the same time, the 1950s was also the heyday of costume jewelry. The emergence of new materials and the post-war devastation led to the emergence of a new format of jewelry: affordable, unusual, bright.
History of appearance
The Second World War forced the majority of society to forget about fashion for a long time. But by the early 1950s, the fashion industry began to slowly revive. Society was tired of austerity and hardship: it wanted a holiday. A new design direction was proposed by Christian Dior, who released the Corolle collection in 1947 with a pronounced waistline and wide skirts.
This silhouette became dominant over the next decade. The recovery of the jewelry market was longer: many families lost their roof over their heads, were forced to look for new ways to earn money, or simply could not afford to spend money on jewelry. Development went along with changes in social, political and cultural trends. The new style was formed under the influence of Parisian fashion, Hollywood films: it dictated variety and femininity.
The 1950s jewelry design was dominated by floral motifs and easily recognizable symbols:
When depicting flowers, the masters started from the style of the Victorian era. They created roses, tulips, poppies and sunflowers from metal and stone. At the same time, motifs reflecting the onset of the atomic era began to appear in the design: bizarre images of explosions, stars, geometric shapes, atoms and electrons, as well as sun rays and constellations.
Types of jewelry
In the 1950s, parures came into fashion ready-made sets of jewelry. Women wore earrings and rings, necklaces and bracelets with identical designs. Certain types of jewelry were also popular.
1950s earrings with an abundance of decor. Jewelry targeted at the wealthy consumer was decorated with diamonds and natural pearls.
These earrings are impossible not to notice: they attract attention just like bright lipstick. Massive decorations were equally striking. They were decorated with bright colors, large artificial stones and rhinestones.
1950s necklaces are massive, bold and with a variety of embellishments. They were created to match the earrings, and it was not a shame to wear such jewelry in pairs. Today, a vintage necklace from the middle of the last century can refresh any outfit and give it a touch of completeness.
New Look bracelets are dazzling, multi-layered, bright. They were decorated with natural or artificial stones along their entire length, turning them into a thin shiny ribbon. Bracelets were worn not only as a separate piece of jewelry, but also as a set with earrings and necklaces of the same design.
The brooch became one of the main everyday adornments in the 1950s. It was used to complete any look, fixing it on a jacket, headdress, scarf or bag. Brooches from this period are glamorous and at the same time versatile, suitable for any look. They were decorated with fancy mosaics, enamel designs and rhinestones.
1950s jewelry fashion is a cult of pearls. Its popularity was influenced by Audrey Hepburn, who embodied timeless classic elegance in her films. Pearl thread was the perfect complement to a little black dress or formal suit. Pearls have been used to create drop earrings, multi-row necklaces and bracelets.
The colors were varied: not only white, but also cream, coffee and gray pearls were worn. Debeers jewelers announced that the era of diamonds is coming, proclaiming the motto “Diamonds are forever”. They were able to convince the whole world that this stone is a real symbol of love, durable and reliable. Small diamonds have become popular, which were previously not in demand. To create jewelry, semi-precious stones were also used: turquoise; corals; amber.
Platinum has ceased to be considered the main precious metal: its reserves have significantly decreased, since they were used for military purposes. Jewelers began to turn to white and yellow gold more often. Later, this trend continued.
In the 1950s, rhinestones came into fashion. They created a sophisticated, elegant look, perfectly complementing evening and cocktail dresses. Rhinestones reflected the glamor of the era and were present everywhere, from earrings to cuff bracelets. Artificial jewelry materials from the middle of the last century are lucite and bakelite. They looked modern, in keeping with the spirit of the era.
How to wear vintage jewelry today
Vintage from the 50s is combined with different styles: classic, glamorous or ironic. Use jewelry that matches your chosen direction. While the New Look style has similarities, it has many faces. Wear vintage clothing in neutral solid colors.
Ditch the pre-made jewelry sets that were popular in the 1950s. Instead, choose 1-2 bright details to create accents. Avoid pathos by pairing vintage jewelry with modern fabrics and loose fit to keep the look out of date. For example, a spectacular brooch will perfectly complement a denim jacket or a military-style jacket.