In prehistoric times people were already wearing jewelry. Although, these jewelry pieces were made of non-precious materials, like animal teeth and claws. Jewelry was definitely an early form of decorative art. Egypt started to make jewelry from gold, copper, and a few different gemstones around 1300 BC, The Greeks and Romans followed after. Around the year 1000, medieval jewelry became more known and there was a lot of demand for cloth and hair jewelry. 1200 was the year of gothic styles and not long after the very first diamonds were cut! At this exact time, the first engagement ring made its introduction and given to Mary of Burgundy by Emperor Maximilian I.
From 1500 up till 1800 jewelry became very popular and widespread. During this time, the baroque style made its introduction with highly ornates, and dramatic designs. 1886 was the introduction year of the Tiffany setting ring, this is a solitaire ring with six prongs and one of the most beloved engagement rings today! In the early 1900s there was an influence of Art Nouveau and Edwardian styles. These styles took care of the popularity of white gold and the introduction of the brilliant cut. The following years will be discussed in the next section, where we go in-depth to vintage jewelry.
The solitaire ring with 6 prongs from our collection at Royal Coster Diamonds.
VintageThe vintage trend started in the 1960s. During the 60s we didn't know what trend to introduce next, so we went back in time. People actually discovered some nice things and we learned to appreciate the trends that already passed in the previous years and brought them back to life. There was incredible growth in the trading of old clothing and jewelry. Although we stuck to classic jewelry from previous decades, people still wanted to add something different. Many designers experimented with designs and added just that ‘over the top’ touch. Most of the jewelry designs were eye-catchers and more special.
What is considered vintage jewelry?Vintage normally describes jewelry pieces that are between 50 and 100 years old. Therefore, more exactly, this means that jewelry from between 1920 and 1970 is vintage. Of course, there are a lot of vintage-inspired jewelry pieces. This means we use designs from the era 1920-1970 in modern-day designs. But unfortunately, we cannot call these pieces vintage. Vintage really depends on the year a jewelry piece is from. The main trends that fall under vintage are Art Deco, Retro, and Mid-Century jewelry. Let's have a look at these specific trends.
The roaring 20s introduced Art Deco. Art Deco thanks its name to the Exposition International des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, which took place in Paris in 1925. Most jewelry pieces made during the Art Deco time were made of white gold or platinum. Moreover, Art Deco didn’t go along with the most common cuts, such as the brilliant cut. The most common cuts were the cushion cut, transitional cut, and the Asscher cut. The jewelry gives a more industrial feeling and incorporates more geometric shapes.
Two kinds of art deco earrings, you can see the geometric shapes and the different cuts.
Retro jewelry pieces came about, around the late 30s and 1940s, up till the mid-1950s. Jewelry designers during that time were of course inspired by World War II. The designers worked with a lot of different gemstones, shapes, and materials. Furthermore, materials like yellow and rose gold were highly common in retro jewelry. A famous piece during this period of time was a brooch. They came in different colors and designs. A lot of them incorporate flowers. The rings were big and bold and contained large and colored gemstones. When discussing earrings, clip-ons were the most common ones. Briefly, Retro jewelry stands for Hollywood Glamour, large and attention-grabbing!
In this picture, you can see yellow gold jewelry, such as brooches and clip-ons. The large colored gemstones pop out as well.
The Mid-Century design period ranged from the 1950s to the 1960s. The ultimate elegant and feminine look came about. Of course, we think about pearls! Besides that, they used a lot of vibrant colors, floral designs, and colored gemstones. And not to forget, a lot of sparkling diamonds...
A beautiful black pearl ring surrounded by diamonds in a floral design. Women like Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn were role models and trendsetters in this period of time. Elegance, luxury, classy, and chic is how we would describe them. Beautiful yellow gold and pearl jewelry were their essentials. Mid-Century jewelry is all about being bigger, bolder, and more color. There was a lot of variety and all of the pieces were absolutely fabulous.
On the left: Audrey Hepburn and on the right, there is Grace Kelly, both women wearing stunning pearl jewelry.