Jewelry can convey social and economic status, suggest whether you’re single or not, and express your personality and creativity. Techniques such as jewelry casting with a mold and cloisonné, a melting technique, began in ancient times. If you’re curious how jewelry has evolved over the past century, explore trends from the past 100 years.
Jewelry Trends in the 20th Century
The 1910s: Art Nouveau
This style celebrated botanical forms with flower and leaf motifs. Pearls and diamonds were paired for an elegant monotone effect, although sapphires, garnets, and other gems were in vogue, as well. Enamel and glass were also fashionable. Jewelry casting, filigree, and milgraining (accenting with platinum beads) were popular techniques.
The 1920s: Art Deco
Art Deco design accents geometric shapes and lines. Gemstones were popular, but costume jewelry also gained popularity, making baubles more affordable. Bracelets were worn stacked and jeweled headbands became fashionable. Beading and jewelry casting were combined to form unique pieces.
The 1930s: Hollywood Glamour
Vibrant colors and bold styles were favored in this decade. Gemstones remained fashionable, and the use of white, green, and rose gold became more common. Dress clips, brooches, and elaborate earrings influenced women captivated by Hollywood movie stars.
The 1950s: Lavish & Feminine
The post-war period brought the end of metal rations and jewelry got much bigger to compensate for the shortages of the ‘40s. In addition to bold, chunky jewelry casting, classic pearls were a staple among more conservative women.
The 1960s: Bohemian
While classic pearls remained a staple, the introduction of plastic made bright colors, patterns, and bigger shapes more practical to wear and to buy. Designs were influenced by fashion and art from India, Asia, and Egypt. Stacked rings, floral motif pins and pendants, and non-precious materials became iconic in the 60s.
The 1970s & 80s: Disco Chic
Gold, leather, and plastic all were popular in these two decades. The ‘70s showcased opulent beading and geometric shapes. The ‘80s featured oversized earrings, brooches, and gold pendants and chunky plastics and cut-glass for costume jewels.
The 1990s: Sassy Subculture
The ‘90s saw the rise of body jewelry and piercings, and men became more invested in their own bling. Chokers were a popular style, and silver became more fashionable.
The 2000s: Flashy
Themes from the past re-emerged, such as the popularity of platinum, diamonds, and styles like big earrings and cocktail rings. Layered gold chains were popular for men. Rhinestones and sparkles—whether real diamonds or cubic zirconia—were a must.
The 2010s: Contemporary
Colored gemstones, platinum, and multicultural “Boho” influences are all in vogue. Pieces can be bold or understated, and there is rising demand for unique designs by individual makers as well as jewelry for men.
Metal jewelry casting remains one of the most popular techniques for making custom accessories. Frank Billanti Jewelry Casting, in New York, NY, offers jewelry manufacturing services from initial CAD design to stone cutting and metalwork in a variety of casting techniques. Visit their website to learn about their services or call (212) 221-0440 to get started with your designs.