Mom’s (and Grandma’s) Favorite Jewelry: What they wore, decade by decade

Lucite bracelet

Mother’s Day brings up memories of hand-made gifts, lovingly kept for years. But I also have memories of my mother’s favorite jewelry, worn for every event and family occasion. I’m sure you have the same memories—maybe you’re now the proud owner of these heirloom pieces.

Trends change throughout the years; here’s a look at what our mothers and grandmothers were wearing (or at least yearning for) each decade (with thanks to the Daily Star.)

Art deco pendant

20s—“Art deco”: Clean, geometric lines; pearls and diamonds were popular as white-gold replaced platinum; clip-on earrings made their appearance.

  • 30s—“Hollywood glamour”: New materials, like plastic and Lucite took the spotlight. The depression created a rush on rhinestones in emerald cuts and filigree brooches.
  • 40s—“Glamour and diamonds”: The “Diamonds are forever” campaign spurred a new popularity of the gemstone. Gold was big, as were elegant flowing ribbons and bows.
  • Classic pearls

    50s—“Ultra-feminine glamour”: Women went wild for matched jewelry sets, as well as for a single strand of pearls (think of all those TV mothers doing housework in pearls!). Lucite, gold-toned jewelry, and brooches were fashion staples.

  • 60s psychedelic

    60s—“Functionality and practicality”: Big, bold chunky pieces, stacked rings and bangles ruled, as psychedelic colors matched the hippie movement. Layered necklaces, handmade pieces, and plastic brooches and rings were all the rage.

  • 70s—“Subdued but bold”: Beads and large golden earrings were popular as the disco movement brought in flamboyant pieces.
  • 80s—“Big and beautiful”: Broad shoulder pads and big hair met their match in oversized chains and earrings.
  • 90s—“Fun and feisty”: Chokers were popular and silver was the metal of choice.
  • 2000s—”Flashy and bold”: Rhinestones, large hoop earrings, and layered chain necklaces were seen everywhere, and piles of diamonds made the new century sparkle.

Happy Mother’s Day to one and all. And if you get some beautiful sparklies for the holiday—or if you’ve inherited jewelry from any of these decades, let me appraise it for you so you can protect it.

Brilliantly yours, Aimee

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