Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Vintage Jewelry Styles

Isn't it funny how one thing follows another and leads you down an unexpected path?  Let me try to explain.  Be advised, this is a long story.

Lucy Maud Montgomery, 1935
On the weekend, I purchased an incredible book on Lucy Maud Montgomery (the author of Anne of Green Gables) at an out-of-town thrift store.  I've always been interested in all things historical, most recently attracted to Canadian history, and this book is a fabulous collection of photos, letters and other recollections of Maud and her times (1874 - 1942).

As I was leafing through the pages when I got home, two old photographs fell out.  The first, slightly faded one is of a mother or grandmother with two smartly dressed young boys.  Judging from the clothing & hair styles, I'd probably date it to sometime in the 1950s.

The other photo is of four men, possibly a grandfather, father and two sons.  The younger men are both dressed in sailor uniforms.  There is a date on the back of this one, 1951, written in blue pen.

It's a little sad that the family has lost these precious momentos of days gone by and people who have likely passed on by now.  Unfortunately, there is no way to track down the person who originally donated the book to the thrift store.  So, I will honour their memory here by sharing these snippets of their lives with you.

These old photos got me thinking about vintage jewelry, specifically from the 50s and early 60s.  I did a bit of research to see what was popular at the time.  (You knew I'd eventually get to the point, right?)  What a walk down memory lane!  (Yes, I'm old enough to remember some of that stuff.)

Jewelry, like clothing, styles seem to keep coming back.  There certainly are new twists on the old themes but some things stay the same.  No outfit was complete without co-ordinating jewelry, and today is no different.  The right jewelry can take a plain, simple outfit and make it pop.

The 1950s were known for big, bold & distinct designs.  Sound familiar?  The use of flowers, leaves, shells, animals & birds became very popular.  Ditto for today.  Turquoise exploded onto the jewelry scene in the 50s and, of course, is a favourite among designers now.  Multi-stranded beaded necklaces were all the rage.  Seeing a pattern here?  And don't forget rhinestones, lots of glitter and glitz.

What was old, is new again.  I wonder what they will be saying 50 or more years from now about the pieces we are creating today?  And will all of our ideas be updated for a future time & place?


  1. I'm finding that a lot of "old" is worth revisiting lately and the first books I uploaded to my new ereader were the Montgomery's. Anne is as good a read now as she was when I was a kid and living in PEI now makes them even more enjoyable.
    But the biggest compliment anyone could give me about my jewellery is that it's timeless. My hope is that nobody could tell by looking at it, what era it's from. That's my dream, anyways.

  2. I love this post. It is so interesting to note that how a book could spark of these thoughts. Btw, I love Anne of Green Gables. Read it many times. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Such styles of jewelry are really to die for. they do stand out and can be worn on any occasion.