Jewelry Through The Decades Series
Explore the fascinating world of 1920s jewelry, from iconic Art Deco designs to flapper-style pearl necklaces. Discover the history and lasting influence of this decade’s bold and intricate jewelry styles.
The 1920s were a time of great change and innovation, not only in society but also in the world of jewelry. Dubbed “The Roaring 20s,” this decade saw a shift towards a more simplistic and modern style, replacing the ornate and elaborate Art Nouveau designs. Jewelry was no longer just a display of wealth, but rather a fashion statement, with the rise of costume jewelry and the affordability of imitation pearls. The era was also marked by the popularity of long pearl necklaces, drop earrings, and Art Deco-style rings. Whether made from precious gems or more affordable materials, jewelry from the 1920s was a reflection of the modernistic and liberated attitudes of the time.
Pearl Necklaces and Dog Collars: The Neckwear Trends of the 1920s
The 1920s saw the popularity of long pearl necklaces, often worn in multiples of various lengths for a unique fashion statement. These necklaces rose to lengths of 60 inches or more in the early 20s. Longer pearl necklaces may have been worn in the early 1920s, but that doesn’t mean longer necklaces would have any real staying power during this trying decade. Pearl necklaces actually began to appear in far shorter lengths as the decade swam on.
The quality and affordability of these cultured “fake” pearls during a trying decade made pearl necklaces an item that nearly every woman could afford on nearly any budget. Fake pearls began to come in different colors (like light pastels) instead of the traditional “plain white” look. Pink, blue, green, and gray “pearls” were especially popular with younger demographics.
Queen Lazlo of Spain Circa 1920
Dog Collar Necklaces
Dog collar necklaces were another stylish mainstay when it came to 1920s neckwear. These necklaces many times featured large, geometric designs sporting square, triangle, and even trapezoid stones that were set in heavier casings, which hugged snugly at the base of the wearer’s neck.
Some people call these types of necklaces chokers to this very day, but these particular necklaces tended to hang a bit too low on the neck to achieve true choker status. A more apt and applicable term, to us, would be “bib necklace.”
Shining in Style: The Rise of Drop Earrings in The Roaring 20s
Actress Jean Harlow Sporting Drop Earrings
Drop earrings were also hugely popular in the Roaring 20s with shorter hair and cloche hats showing off the neck. Drop earrings featured long columns, which came in at about 2-3 inches long, and featured smaller diamonds or even rhinestones generally set in a filigree design.
Diamonds started to become something worn for formal events predominantly. Wearing diamonds during the day might even be construed as something of an undesirable thing at the time.
Semi-Precious stones popular in this era included jade, turquoise, coral, onyx, marcasite, agate, and more. When silver became unaffordable for some, sterling silver, silver plating, nickel, and/or zinc could and would be used to render a white gold aesthetic.
When worn during formal occasions, earrings would normally match a woman’s hair clip or even their headband. If a woman’s hair were long enough to cover her ears, she would pull one side back and only wear one earring during formal events.
American Costume Designer Natacha Rambova Circa 1920
Art Deco Rings and Flirty Bracelets: Jewelry Evolution in The Roaring 20s
Many styles of rings during the 1920s took on Art Deco-style shapes. However, most rings worn still featured precious stones like diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds. Stones were cut in less traditional lines and looked uniquely square, rectangular, or even oval-shaped. Birthstones also began to be worn on rings more popularly. Some rings stood tall on a finger, especially when a ring was worn without a glove. As a result, a woman’s hand touching her neck or even a subtle tap on an earring became a flashy way of flirting.
Bracelets were also widely worn during the 1920s. Most were made from a variety of materials such as wood of different thicknesses, bones, shells, metal, and plastic with inset gems. These pieces added a touch of glamour and sophistication to any outfit and often made a bold statement.
Art Deco-Style Ring
1920s Gemstone Bracelets
- How The Roaring Twenties Began Costume Jewelry Craze: https://www.reinersjewelry.com/
- What are Precious and Semiprecious Stones?: https://rocktumbler.com/
- ¹Queen Lazlo of Spain Circa 1920: https://commons.wikimedia.org/
- ²1920s Illustration: https://www.rawpixel.com/
- ³Actress Jean Harlow Sporting Drop Earrings: https://www.stockvault.net/
- ⁴American Costume Designer Natacha Rambova Circa 1920: https://commons.wikimedia.org/
- ⁵Art Deco-Style Ring: https://commons.wikimedia.org/
- ⁶1920s Gemstone Bracelets: https://commons.wikimedia.org/
My Jewelry Repair
Continuing Jewelry Repair For Decades to Come
The 1920s saw a rise in glamorous jewelry trends, reflecting the extravagance of the era. Today, while the styles may have changed, the need for jewelry repair remains constant. Whether it’s restoring a beloved family heirloom or fixing a favorite piece of jewelry, My Jewelry Repair’s restoration services allow us to keep the memories and sentimental value of these pieces alive.
Contact us today to learn more about our easy online jewelry and watch repair service!