Retro Jewelry Period

1935-1950

Preceded by the geometric shapes of the Art Deco period, the Retro period boasted the return of graceful, flowing lines in jewelry design. By 1935, the economy began to recover after the Great Depression and Hollywood continued to influence jewelry design. Due to the financial constraints from the Depression, costume jewelry was big business with industry style leaders like Trifari, Krussman & Fishel, R.M. Jordan, Monet, and Forstner.

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  • The fashion silhouettes changed, as loose-fitting, flowing skirts swapped out for full skirts. These larger looks meant larger jewelry accessories that were designed to stand out.245-6815_Retro
  • The earrings were massive in comparison to the dainty looks of the past 20 years, with large pearl buttons, yellow gold saucers and bouquets of flowers.
  • Yellow and rose gold were in high demand after the government restricted the use of platinum due to the war effort. In addition, the limited use restrictions placed on silver increased the use of gold-filled material.
  • The most popular looks of the 1940’s were rubies set in rose gold in various swirls, curved and bow designs. Large oval and emerald cut amethyst, aquamarine, and citrine often accented with either small diamonds or French cut sapphires, rubies, and emeralds were also on-trend.
  • Notable high fashion designers of this time were Verdura, Oscar Heyman, Buccellati, and William Russer.

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During the Retro period, there was also a rising interest in convertible jewelry. Bracelets that converted into earrings, as well as necklaces that converted into a bracelet, were loved for their versatility.

This concludes our series on the prominent vintage and antique jewelry periods. To learn more about all the periods covered in the series, please visit our overview!

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