Jewelry in Fashion History:
Mad Men 1960's Vintage Jewelry
It’s 2013, but once a week we're back in the 1960s all over again. Impossible, you say? Not if you’re glued to your TV set weekly like millions of passionate viewers are. I’m speaking about the show, Mad Men, which has taken America by storm.
The popularity of the Mad Men TV series has led to an increased interest in jewelry of the 1960s era. The clothing, hairstyles, and jewelry featured on the show are almost as exciting as the story lines. Here are some highlights of 1960s vintage jewelry for your viewing pleasure.
Why is Mad Men so Popular?
Not only is the storyline appealing, but its leading ladies have become something of fashion icons. And it’s not just their hairdos and outfits that are creating a stir and a following of a more feminine look, but their accessories are appealing as well. Take for instance the bracelets worn on the show similar to the faux pearl and crystal wrap bracelet in my photo.
How feminine and “Grace Kelly-ish” can you get? Remember her fantastic outfits in the movie "Rear Window?" She looked fabulous in everything she wore right down to the jeans in the last scene. And her jewelry was the height of style, including the pearl bracelet with chunky dangling charm seen in this photo from the film.
The 1960s was the decade of "anything goes" and jewelry seemed to match that sense of freedom. Bracelets, in particular, were bigger and bolder than previously. Chunky was in and not just in peanut butter! Materials like plastic, black metal and enamel were very popular. Trends from the space age to hippies and ethnic themes, like the panels on this chunky Lucite beads bracelet, were often incorporated.
Fashion Icon: Blending Modern with Elegance
In the 1960s Jacqueline Kennedy lit up our TV screens as she accompanied her iconic presidential husband on his overseas diplomatic visits and domestic functions. Her glamorous gowns, hairstyles, and jewelry made her a style icon throughout the 1960s.
Some of the jewelry of the 1960s was both fashionable and feminine. Creations such as this Marvella gold plated bracelet were influenced by the Dior look of the 1940s. The wide width, elegant brushed gold plating, and delicate cut-outs blend the chunky 1960s Mod look with a high fashion designer style.
Is Mad Men Style Here to Stay?
Current jewelry fashion designers are getting savvy. They have caught the Mad Men firebug and are beginning to revive the treasures of the 1960s era. Women of today want that look and the stylists are ready to comply. Smart designers are raiding the jewelry archives of yesteryear for style inspiration that has been buried over time. After all, those styles are just too good to be unseen by the current generation of women.
We don’t need a time machine to travel back to the 1960s, not when we have TV producers who are willing to revive that wonderful time of life for us. I’m sure the fashion influence of Mad Men will be around for a very long time. Isn't it wonderful that the fabulous bracelets from this era are still available to dress up our wardrobes?
More Mad Men Era Vintage Bracelets
If you love 1960s bracelets, check out the many vintage bracelets listed in my store.
Click to view vintage bracelets at My Classic Jewelry Shop:
My Classic Jewelry Shop Vintage Bracelets
Part 2: Brooches and Earrings
One of the reasons why I thoroughly enjoy seeing the resurgence of all the fashion accessories on Mad Men is because it reminds me of how my mother dressed during the 60s. I wasn’t old enough then to doll myself up in fancy brooches and earrings, but I sure did love to see my mother looking so attractive and feminine whenever she and Dad would step out for the evening.
I must admit, Mom didn't wear pearls to houseclean like Donna Reed and June Cleaver did, but she did wear elegant jewelry on special occasions, and would have definitely chosen a beautiful brooch for a special evening out, such as this lovely Corocraft design depicting a large, goldtone leaf with faux pearls.
The History of Brooches
The brooch, named "fibula" by the ancient Greeks and Romans, is perhaps the oldest type of jewelry. As fashions progressed, clothing often needed to be held together for modesty and comfort. In the Bronze Age, the first rough drafts of safety pins arose on the scene. The Byzantines are heralded for their unique brooch designs, and greatly influenced jewelry designers with the production of brightly enameled brooches.
The influence of the early Christian period during the fifth and sixth centuries brought the addition of symbols and inscriptions, which also gave the brooch its ornamental character. Throughout the ages brooch designs have flourished and advanced as metal workers strove to create the most fanciful and attractive pieces, such as this vintage Warner statement butterfly brooch made of blue and green art glass and rhinestones.
Clasp types and brooch styles have changed with the times, but the brooch is still a very popular jewelry accessory. Many women like to collect and wear brooches from earlier eras, since each period had its own favorite designs and themes. The Mad Men women would most likely have worn a brooch similar to this fabulous 1960s Florenza art glass flower with colorful stones and faux pearls.
Earrings and Ear Piercing
When the ladies from Mad Men put on their vintage earrings, they probably don't give any thought to how earrings have evolved over the years. But earrings have a fascinating history.
The oldest earrings archaeologists have discovered were made in Iraq around 2500 BC. During Egyptian, Greek, and Roman times, jewelry was crafted and worn as a sign of status and luxury. Many of the earrings from that era were made with precious metals and gemstones. Over the centuries, the popularity of earrings rose and fell directed by hairstyles and fashions, especially elaborate hair pieces and high collars. Ear piercing was very common until clip on earrings finally made the scene in the 1920s. The popularity of clip earrings continued through the 1960s and they are still popular today.
I think brooches and earrings are here to stay, and, as Martha Stewart would say, “It's good thing.” Perhaps the next time you pin on a brooch or select a pair of earrings, you'll be reminded of all the many designers over the centuries who have worked so hard to bring us all the beautiful jewelry imaginable.
More Mad Men Era Brooches and Earrings
If you love 1960s brooches, check out the many vintage brooches listed in my store.
Click to view vintage brooches at My Classic Jewelry Shop:
My Classic Jewelry Shop Vintage Brooches
Click to view vintage earrings at My Classic Jewelry Shop:
My Classic Jewelry Shop Vintage Earrings
Part 3: Necklaces and Jewelry Sets
During the 1960s, necklaces and jewelry sets were so popular. You could walk into any department store and find an abundance of chains, beads, pendants and lovely matching sets with any combinations of necklaces, bracelets, brooches, and earrings.
In prior eras, much of the jewelry had the same look or style, but in the 1960s the jewelry industry exploded with a wide variety of styles. Glass, crystal and plastic beads were all the rage, but chunky chain necklaces were also very popular. In the photo below we see the Mad Men ladies wearing classic pearls, crystal beads, and a fabulous 4 strand necklace of faux pearls with beads.
Hong Kong and Japan Imports
During the 1960s jewelry took on a very bold look and beads were all the rage - the more strands the better. Hong Kong necklaces featured lightweight Acrylic beads, while the Japan necklaces were usually glass or a combination of glass and plastic beads. The blue and pink necklaces in the photo below are typical Japan necklaces of the era that women would wear for work or play, while the crystal fringe necklace in the center is more appropriate for a special evening out.
Parures: Demi, Full, Grand
A full parure, or three piece set, usually included a matching necklace, bracelet, and earrings. Demi-parures are two matching pieces, such as a necklace with earrings or bracelet with earrings. A grand parure is four matching pieces and usually includes a necklace, bracelet, earrings, and a brooch or a ring. Below the Mad Men ladies are wearing demi-parures, necklaces with matching earrings.
Variety of 1960s Jewelry Sets
In addition to necklaces with matching earrings, designers of the 1960s produced sets with various combinations in a variety of materials and colors. Shown below are a beautiful Trifari pink enameled brooch with earrings flower set, a smashing aqua enameled bracelet with earrings from Original by Robert, and an elegant Renoir necklace and earrings set made with anondized copper insets.
We Can Wear the 1960s Necklaces and Sets Today!
We're living in the best of times as far as necklaces and jewelry sets are concerned. We have the advantage of looking back over history's designs as well as seeing what's available today. A huge range of styles is available online and can be yours with just a quick click of the mouse!
Click to view vintage necklaces at My Classic Jewelry Shop:
My Classic Jewelry Shop Vintage Necklaces
Click to view vintage jewelry sets at My Classic Jewelry Shop:
My Classic Jewelry Shop Vintage Jewelry Sets
Visit the My Classic Jewelry Shop Home Page to see all of the gorgeous vintage jewelry:
My Classic Jewelry Shop Home Page
Have fun shopping for Mad Men Era jewelry, and thanks for visiting! Christine :)