The first known piece of jewellery was first created around 115000 years ago, which of course can be hard to believe, but it’s a fact and mankind has always shown interest in it, considering it was used by many to denote status. As much as I’d love to go through the thousands and hundreds of years timeline, I don’t want to bore anyone into reading, so I’ll start with my latest love which is the Antique Victorian era.
During Queen Victoria’s reign, jewellery and accessories styles underwent several changes. The Romantic period represented deep religious and emotional states , emphasising love and nostalgia. The motifs used were hands, heart shapes, crosses, snakes, birds, trees and flowers, snake jewellery being considered a symbol of eternal love. The Grand period is a continuation of the Romantic period and styles from the previous period reached their peak in this one. After the death of Prince Albert, jewellery came to represent harsh and dark ideas to correspond with Queen’s Victoria’s mourning over the death of the Prince.
From the 20s to the 90s accessories have changed significantly however jewellery always remained popular.
By the early 20s long and dangling earrings enhanced the neck and contributed to the era’s emphasis on movement. Strands of beads for any neckline in different lengths and the string of pearls added to the flapper outfit of the era. Sautoirs and lariat necklaces were often worn to the back. Long necklaces were also worn as bracelets. Brooches were also essential being worn on shoulders, applied to belts, on cloche hats and jacket lapels. Novelty jewellery was also introduced with pieces made of celluloid, bakelite.
For women in the 20s hats were sought after and they were different styles worn like drape hats, cloche hats, helmet style hats, turbans and pokes usually with a variety of fabrics including lace and feathers.
In the 20s and 30s handbags were often used as vanity bags which commonly had mirrors inside for adjusting makeup and hair on the go.
In the 30s the dress clip became an important accessory being often worn as pairs around the neckline, jacket lapels, dresses.The basket of fruit and flowers jewellery was produced and the Art Deco style evolved to include Far-East inspired motifs. In this era solid and hinged bangles, stretchy, link, cuffs and charm bracelets, brooches, dress clips, shoe clips earrings, buckle, rings, necklaces, pendants and beads were all made of Bakelite.
In the 40s jewellery became even more feminine and included flowers, bows, ribbons, drapes, pleats, flags, eagles and military insignia was also worn. In the early 40s Victorian Revival jewellery was produced. Bracelets were chunky, link bracelets and bangles were worn over gloves and large finger rings were popular. Sterling silver replaced base metals and imitation turquoise, coral and jade was made from plastics, other materials including wood, leather, Bakelite, Lucite, natural shells, plaster and ceramic.
By the end of the 40s the parure gained popularity with women showing desire to match their accessories. The simple strand of pearls remained supreme.
In the 30s, 40s and 50s other styles of hat became popular such as bumpers, bonnets, berets, homburg and wider brim hats.
In the 50s gloves, shoes and bags were worn to match each other and the pillbox hat was introduced. Gold and silver metal without stones was popular also gold and silver tone, bangles and bracelets carried the same style of the previous decade, however brooches became big, bib necklaces wide on the neckline, massive chokers, wide bracelets and hair accessories were all essential.
In the 50s and 60s handbags became more of a fashion statement and would match the occasion with larger casual bags being used for shopping and smaller fancier bags would be used for parties or evenings out.
In the 70s, 80s and even 90s bags were more used for their capacity to store more things and women would narrow down their collection to one daily bag and a formal bag.
Thank you for taking the time to read through this, I certainly enjoyed writing it.