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Golden Hollywood: Retro Jewelry 1935-50

Welcome back to our series on jewelry periods, where we are giving you a taste of different design aspects that are simultaneously unique and classic. This way, you can get to know what looks most inspire and suit you, and what you can ask for when requesting customization from your jeweller.

We previously discussed the way 1920-35 Art Deco jewelry reflected post-WW1 exuberance, and today we’ll explore how jewelry trends shifted in the 30s. When the economy started to recover from the recession of 1929, new aesthetics and techniques began to mark this Retro aesthetic period from 1935-1950.

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  • While Art Deco earrings were all about length and movement, retro style brings the flash up closer to the earlobes in shorter styles.

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  • Movement, florals and animal motifs were everything. These are elements that bring a lot of personality and won’t ever go out of style. Who get tired of jewelry that reflects nature or has movement and sway? Not us.

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  • If the flapper personifies Art Deco, then Old Hollywood glamour begins in and marks Retro jewelry.

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  • Those with an appreciation for architecture will like the invisible setting popularized during this time by Van Cleef & Arpels. This technique allowed for gems to be displayed without visible prongs or lattice, as seen in an example of our rose ring above.

 If you are all about getting the best value for your dollar, you’ll be able to relate to this style period, which got hit from the Great Depression as well as the second world war in the 40s. Customers and jewellers alike needed to stretch their resources to get the best quality and luxury within their limits. Since platinum is more expensive, gold became the go-to material. Yellow and rose gold, and emerald-cut citrines and amethysts accented by smaller diamond accents show that rich-coloured stones in flattering cuts carried the look of luxury even when platinum and pricier gems were harder to come by. Jewelry lovers simply got creative instead of forgoing fine jewelry.

Finally, jewelry style from 1935-50 is all about sophistication. If you want to channel the timeless glamour of the Golden Age of Hollywood, ask your jeweller to show you some pieces that pay an homage to retro era design.

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