We have now officially entered the 2020s. As we begin this new decade, there's really no better time to honour '20s style - the 1920s, that is! With its iconic decadence and glamour, we can't resist the opportunity to bring the Art Deco aesthetic back. If you have Gatsby-themed parties lined up in your calendar or if you simply love 1920s jewellery as much as we do, we've put together this guide to help you get the look.
What is Art Deco?
Art Deco is the movement that followed Art Nouveau. Art Nouveau reigned supreme from around the 1890s, and it was all about ornamental design featuring florals and images of the natural world. English artist William Blake was a huge inspiration for the Art Nouveau movement, as was the work of Pre-Raphelite painters such as Dante Rossetti.
The increasing industrialisation of Western society and the principles of Modernism were key factors in the rise of Art Deco. In the 1920s, the ornate designs of Art Nouveau were replaced by clean lines and hard edges. Essentially, Art Deco was a celebration of modern innovation and the prosperity that new technology was hoped to bring.
What made 1920s jewellery so special?
The 1920s were unique in that it was a period where displaying your wealth with your jewellery was no longer fashionable.
The increasing use of materials like plastic meant that designers could produce jewellery that was both attractive and low-cost. This meant that for the first time, fashionable jewellery was accessible for a much wider range of people. This shift was embraced by all parts of society - even the wealthy were wearing low-cost jewellery.
Essentially, jewellery became purely decorative in this era. Whether or not your ring featured a real diamond or not didn't matter to many people, as long as it looked good.
1920s Jewellery Trends
Without further ado, here's the run-down of our favourite 1920s accessories that you can embrace today.
Pearl necklaces are probably the first thing that comes to mind when we think of 1920s jewellery. They instantly upgrade any outfit, adding an air of sophistication and elegance. And of course, in the words of Jackie Kennedy, "pearls are always appropriate".
Coco Chanel famously wore faux-pearl necklaces. She was of the opinion that if they look just as nice as real pearls, why should she care if they were real or not? The increasing availability of faux-pearls made it easier for more and more women to wear these beautiful pieces, and Coco Chanel firmly believed that fashion was for everyone.
Whether you choose to go for faux or the real thing, pearl necklaces are very accessible - they're easy to find at a variety of price points. If you're going for an all-out 1920s look, we recommend layering a few long pearl necklaces. If you want something more subtle for everyday wear, there are plenty of shorter pearl necklaces available.
The 1920s saw short hair reigning supreme, especially the iconic 1920s bob. Glamorous women in the twenties made the most of this and drew attention to their cropped locks with long, eye-catching earrings.
A range of styles were popular. It should be noted that many people thought that it was vulgar to wear decorative diamond earrings during day-time hours; they were for evening-wear only. For everyday-wear, semi-precious gems and glass beaded designs were appropriate.
As discussed above, Art Deco was all about moving away from the intricate baroque style of Art Nouveau. Whilst they're not exactly what would have been worn in the 1920s, we think these gold bar earrings capture the spirit of Art Deco perfectly. Their clean lines and glamorous long length bring a distinct twenties vibe, but you may find the simple design more appropriate for every-day wear.
Another popular 1920s jewellery trend was bangles. In this era, women loved to stack many bangles together to create a modern vision of opulence. A range of styles were popular, and mixing-and-matching was encouraged. Beaded bangles, plastic bangles, wooden bangles - you name it, they wore it!
We think these Alex and Ani bangles are a great way to wear this trend. They're perfect for stacking, and their geometric designs capture the Modernist spirit of the 1920s.
We could hardly talk about 1920s style without mentioning flapper headbands, could we? If you're heading to a 1920s-themed party, you'll most certainly want to get your hands on one of these to add the ultimate finishing touch to your look.
In 1922, the tomb Tutankhamun was discovered by British Egyptologist Howard Carter, funded by Lord Carnarvon. The media leapt on this news and the world was soon abuzz. Reports of the treasures found inside and even warnings of Ancient Egyptian magic and curses were on the tip of everyone's tongue. The wonders of Ancient Egypt inspired people everywhere. This craze filtered through to art, culture and fashion. Women began wearing elaborate headpieces to evoke an air of the 'exotic'. These hairpieces often features rhinestones and feathers, and could be found in the form of headbands, hair wraps and caps.
We often call these headpieces 'flapper headbands'. The term 'flapper' is claimed to have many different origins, but in the 1920s it generally referred to a young woman who liked to go to parties and defy the expectations of polite society. The glamorous knee-length dresses of the 1920s may not seem particularly risque today, but at the time they were quite the statement!
There always seems to be a place in our hearts for the roaring twenties. Whether it's in film, literature or fashion, we just can't get enough of this iconic era!
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