If there’s one decade that we have to thank for today’s beautiful and affordable jewellery, it’s the 1920s. The huge changes that swept through society during this period also affected clothes and accessories and as women everywhere kissed goodbye to the long length, formal, constrictive dresses of the Edwardian era, they said hello to simpler styles. Gowns, and most importantly, accessories changed hugely during this decade and it’s no exaggeration to say that the 1920s changed jewellery forever…
Images: Top Row Left via Tumblr | Top Row Right - Heirloom Drama Cocktail Ring by Glitzy Secrets | Second Row Left - Twenties Charm Hair Band by Glitzy Secrets | Second Row Right via Flickr | Third Row Left - Statement of Deco Clip On Earrings by Glitzy Secrets | Third Row Right - Twenties Sweetheart Headpiece by Glitzy Secrets | Bottom Row Left via Tumblr | Bottom Row Right - Twenties Extravagance Hair Comb by Glitzy Secrets
In the Victorian and Edwardian ages of dressing for dinner, society balls and strict class divisions, it was important for everyone to see how wealthy you were. The 1920s rubbed out these conventions and family heirloom jewellery loaded with precious stones were consigned to the bank vault or sold as great families felt the post-war pinch. Instead, everyone wore semi-precious stones and even fake plastics and the jewellery world had to adapt.
These new materials meant that 1920s jewellery could now be produced cheaply and so designers went crazy with exuberant and extravagant styles that would have been impossibly expensive using old methods. In A Collector’s Guide To Costume Jewelry, Tracey Tolkin says that it was clear that in the 1920s “… jewelry need not act as a three dimensional bank statement and could be worn purely for its decorative qualities.”
And women certainly did use jewellery to decorate themselves. Big statement pieces were the must-haves and the art-deco colours of black, red, white and green were seen in the new collections that graced department stores and new catalogues. Instead of wearing old family pieces, women now bought their own jewels to accessorise the new bold fashions and even the way that jewellery was worn changed.
Images: Top Row Left via Tumblr | Top Row Right - Deco Drama Earrings by Glitzy Secrets | Second Row Left - Charleston Beauty Feather Headpiece (sold out) by Glitzy Secrets | Second Row Right via The Red List* | Third Row Left - Charming Ebony Hair Band by Glitzy Secrets | Third Row Right - Twenties Heiress Hair Comb by Glitzy Secrets | Bottom Row Left via Pinterest | Bottom Row Right - Gatsby Heiress Clip On Earrings by Glitzy Secrets | *unable to credit
If you’ve ever worn a long necklace with a large or single gemstone pendant, a back necklace, a dog collar style piece, long drop coloured earrings or even a stack of bracelets, then you’ve got the 1920s to thank. Rings took on geometric shapes, necklaces used new materials and stylized patterns were all the rage. In fact, if you look at a lot of modern costume jewellery, you’ll see glimpses of the 1920s in what we wear today.
We always credit Coco Chanel with the famous ‘little back dress’ but we also have her to thank for costume jewellery. Just as she did with fashion, Chanel produced accessories that appealed to the newly liberated women of the post-war world. Costume jewellery lost its ‘bad fake’ reputation thanks to Chanel and instead the new designs became covetable pieces that were loved in their own right.
Just as now, in the Roaring Twenties, costume jewellery offered a stylish and tasteful alternative to expensive pieces and it allowed women everywhere to embrace their own personal style, stamp individuality on their look and enjoy themselves. If jewellery in the 1920s could make women smile, it's wonderful to see that it has the same affect now, almost one hundred years later.
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