In the 1960s, estate jewelry designs would be influenced by the current events specific to that decade.  The 1960s would be recognized as a time of civil change and cultural revolt.  The decade started with the Camelot influence of the John F. Kennedy presidential administration and the following assassination of the American President in 1963.  In the USA, highlights of the 1960s would be remembered as a time of strong youth reactions to the Vietnam Conflict, the protests towards the conflict and protests towards the establishment from the USA’s younger generation.  Folk music with peace and anti-war themes would influence the music of those ten years.  Art would evolve into colorful abstract work.  Soon most every American home would have a television set, which would be used to watch the North American space adventure which included the moon walk.  Flower power and the sexual revolution were highlights of daily conversation and daily activities in one way or another. Music would see the introduction of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

Fashion would evolve in the 1960s.  Severe hair bobs, as well as long, straight hair parted in the middle would be commonly seen on the younger generation. It would not be uncommon to see men with long hair.  Women’s fashion would reveal short mini-skirts with zig-zag patterns and bright colors, followed soon after by hot pants, baby doll dresses and white vinyl knee boots.  Trousers became extremely popular for women, whether they were hip huggers, pant suits, psychedelic colors or plaid.  Slacks would also be introduced and worn for evening wear.

The economy in the 1960s was good, and disposable cash would be available to families which would allow for an abundance of jewelry to be purchased and worn.  Women would be seen wearing multiple rings, bracelets and necklaces.  Limits on the amount of jewelry worn that was once considered distasteful was abandoned in the 1960s.

Jewelry would be created for women to purchase for their personal use.  Famous and popular designs would be animal brooches and twisted cord motifs with semi-precious beaded stones.  Suddenly stylish would be vivid colors combined with mixed textures and abstract designs.  Un-cut or unpolished stones were suddenly gaining attention.   The use of natural materials in jewelry would increase.  Often raw, natural seashells would be adorned with diamonds or sapphires, as would be found in Verdura’s collection of exciting fine jewelry.  Large colorful coral and turquoise cabochons would be used in bright, buttery yellow gold.  Diamonds would continue to be the most desired gemstone.  But colorful gemstones such as rubies, emeralds and sapphires would be increase in demand.

Art inspired jewelry in designs would use textured metal that would be molded into bold and daring abstract shapes with stones that were more treasured for their chromatic interest rather than their precious nature.  A close look at jewelry designs would show small diamonds combined to accent larger, less expensive stones such as lapis lazuli, citrine, pearls or opals.  Freshwater pearls would be incorporated into necklaces, rings and earrings.

High end jewelry designers would update their long established, signature animal designs to make them more fun and whimsical.  For example, Cartier would take their long famous panther and make update it to be a more Walt Disney type design.  Traditional lion head jewelry would now appear with masks.

International style would have a large influence on American jewelry styles.  The mid-1960s would see inspiration from France, Italy and England.  Jewelry would be influenced by Islamic and East Indian motifs. Black and white geometric patterns found in “Op Art” would be reflected in clothing and jewelry.  “Pop Art” would also play a significant role in colorful jewelry and fabrics.

An Italian clothing designer would find international acclaim that would strongly influence fashion and jewelry throughout the 1960s.  Heads would turn to Emilio Pucci’s bold, colorful clothing designs. Italian jewelry designers would also gain international acclaim. Bulgari’s heavy, bold 18kt yellow gold chains, often adorned with ancient Italian coins would become very stylish.  Buccellati’s patterned textured, Renaissance inspired engraved jewelry designs would become very popular. 

Tiffany and company would draw attention with their new designer, Jean Schlumberger.  Schlumberger’s designs would focus on colorful gemstones, enamels and animals. In the mid-60s, American designer Donald Claflin would join Tiffany and design fun, animal design jewelry. 

Gemstone cuts would now be a more varied.  Brilliant-cut stones would now be mixed with marquise stones or rough cut stones.  Jewelry would no longer need to be symmetrical.  Imbalance and irregularities would become in fashion.  Jagged, irregular edges would become desirable. Yellow gold would be the most prevalent jewelry metal color.  Jewelry, like the clothing of the 1960s, would be big, colorful, flashy and bold. 

Gold jewelry would be made with twisted wires, fringed gold or possibly textured strands.  Corded gold wire would be used to make necklaces and bracelets.  Diamonds would be mounted in yellow gold, unlike previously when white gold or platinum would be preferred to enhance their white appearance.

Jewelry from the 1960s is still considered to be contemporary jewelry.

Ten Two Three Estate Jewelry
By: E. Montgomery
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All Rights Reserved.