Isadoras antique jewelry

Eras: MID 20th CENTURY

Mid 20th Century Jewelry (or fifties jewelry) is an iconic jewelry era and one growing in popularity.

The Mid 20th Century began with the end of World War II and a growing prosperity in America. This is when America truly came to the fore in jewelry design, inspired by Paris. Christian Dior had just launched the “New Look” in France with an emphasis on feminine women’s wear with nipped in waists, wide skirts and décolleté necklines. The jewelry of this era was designed to suit this “New Look” with its classic glamour, beauty and size.

mid 20th century jewelry, circa 1950s Mid 20th Century Bracelet, Earrings & Rings

The diamond was the Mid 20th Century's “It” jewel. In 1948 De Beers coined the phrase “A Diamond is Forever”. And in 1953 Marilyn Monroe cooed, “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend”, lauding Harry Winston, who designed fantastic necklaces, earrings and rings--gorgeous pieces, dripping with diamonds and gemstones in almost invisible settings.

Though diamonds continued to be set in platinum and white gold, yellow gold was also very popular for beautiful massive gemstone cocktail rings as well as fantastic gold chains, both foxtail and twisted ropes.

Other trends were earrings, both those worn close to the ear or dangling to the shoulder, as well as cultured pearl necklaces, preferably choker length, and ropes of heavy beads. Sets were popular, both fine and costume, and women loved jacket pins.

While the majority of America looked to the beautifully classic and feminine there was a simultaneous modernist movement with jewelry artist looking to the Bauhaus, Dadaist, Surrealist and Cubist movements to create wonderful avant-garde and abstract jewelry.