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The Past and Present Role of Jewellery in Fashion

May 17, 2024

Understanding the relationship between fashion and jewellery is the perfect way to develop your collection.

Knowing the history of how the pair intertwine can elevate your jewellery from everyday adornments to a thoughtful and insightful collection. 

This article tells you everything you need to know to begin this journey, mapping the evolution of fashion and jewellery from ancient origins to contemporary appeal. 

Read on to understand the fascinating history of fashion and jewellery and how it resonates in today’s most popular styles.

Ancient Civilisations: Jewellery as Status Symbols

Historical jewellery from Ancient Egypt in a museum collection.In ancient civilisations like Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Greece, jewellery served as powerful symbols of status, wealth, and social hierarchy. 

From the intricate gold necklaces of Egyptian pharaohs to the elaborate gemstone adornments of Greek aristocracy, jewellery reflected opulence and power. 

Fast forward to modern fashion, and echoes of these ancient styles remain in designer jewellery collections adorned with precious metals and gemstones. 

The resurgence of bold statement necklaces adorned with intricate metalwork and vibrant gemstones reflects the grandeur of ancient Egyptian jewellery. 

For example, Bulgari’s Mediterranea collection draws on ancient Greek and Roman motifs, and Valérie Messika has taken inspiration from Egyptian hieroglyphs and symbols as part of her Beyond the Light collection. 

Renaissance and Baroque Fashion: Ornate Jewellery and Opulence

A historic collection of Baroque jewellery.During the Renaissance and Baroque periods, jewellery became synonymous with opulence and extravagance, reflecting the wealth and power of royalty and nobility. 

Intricately designed pieces adorned with precious gemstones, pearls, and intricate metalwork were highly coveted symbols of status and prestige. 

Renaissance jewellery featured motifs inspired by nature, such as flowers, animals, and foliage, crafted with meticulous attention to detail. Baroque jewellery, on the other hand, embraced asymmetry and dramatic flair, with elaborate designs showcasing intricate patterns and ornate decorations.

In modern fashion, the influence of these eras can be seen in the resurgence of elaborate chandelier earrings, like these Mesh Earrings from Tiffany. Or explore ornate statement necklaces like the Petit CD Baroque Choker from Dior, echoing the grandeur and sophistication of Renaissance and Baroque jewellery.

Victorian Era: Sentimental Jewellery and Symbolism 

Victorian era jewellery and brooches.During the Victorian Era, jewellery took on deeper layers of symbolism and sentimentality, reflecting the values and sentiments of the time. 

Sentimental jewellery, such as lockets and mourning rings, became popular expressions of love, remembrance, and mourning. 

These pieces often featured intricate engraving, hairwork, and hidden compartments, allowing wearers to keep cherished mementos close to their hearts. Symbolism played a significant role, with motifs like hearts, flowers, and snakes representing love, fidelity, and eternity.

In modern fashion, Victorian-inspired jewellery continues to evoke a sense of romance and nostalgia. 

These Sicily Yellow Gold Earrings with Medal Pendant and Yellow Gold Family Ring with Black Sapphires from Dolce and Gabbana showcase Victorian-inspired filigree work and classic mourning ring styling. 

Art Deco Movement: Geometric Shapes and Modern Elegance

An Art Deco era bracelet.The Art Deco movement of the early 20th century brought about a revolution in jewellery design, characterised by geometric shapes, bold colours, and a sense of modern elegance. 

Art Deco jewellery often featured symmetrical patterns, intricate metalwork, and vibrant gemstones, reflecting the spirit of innovation and glamour of the Roaring Twenties. 

The sleek lines and streamlined forms of Art Deco pieces continue to inspire modern jewellery designers, with contemporary interpretations featuring geometric motifs, minimalist designs, and a nod to the opulence of the Art Deco era. 

With a striking combination of deep green Malachite, yellow gold, and geometric design, the Dior Rose des Vents Necklace captures the elegance of the Art Deco era.

Mid-20th Century: Hollywood Glamour and Statement Pieces

Min-20th Century Hollywood inspired jewellery.During the mid-20th century, Hollywood glamour became synonymous with extravagant jewellery pieces that made bold statements on and off the screen. 

The era was characterised by luxurious pearls, oversized gemstones, and intricate designs that exuded opulence and sophistication. Celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn adorned themselves with dazzling jewels, elevating the allure of statement pieces. 

Today, the glamour of this era continues to inspire jewellery designers, with modern interpretations like the Jan Logan Pink Morganite & Green Amethyst Ronstadt Ring and the Swarovski Mesmera Choker, exuding the elegance of the era. 

1960s and 1970s: Bohemian Chic and Hippie Influence

A collection of 1960s and 1970s bohemian jewellery.The 1960s and 1970s marked a significant shift in fashion and jewellery, embracing the Bohemian chic and hippie influences of the counterculture movement. 

Jewellery during this period reflected a sense of freedom and individuality, with natural materials like wood, feathers, and beads taking centre stage. 

Statement pieces were characterised by bold colours, intricate patterns, and eclectic designs, echoing the spirit of rebellion and self-expression. 

Modern jewellery trends continue to draw inspiration from this era, with bohemian-style accessories such as layered necklaces, beaded bracelets, and oversized earrings remaining popular.

Consider the Gucci Double G Flower Necklace and Loewe Anagram Pebble Ring for the perfect bohemian ensemble.

21st Century: Minimalism and Personal Expression

Minimalist 21st century jewellery.In the 21st century, jewellery trends have shifted towards minimalism and personal expression, reflecting a desire for simplicity and individuality. 

Clean lines, geometric shapes, and understated designs have become hallmarks of modern jewellery, emphasising quality craftsmanship and timeless elegance. 

Contemporary jewellers focus on creating pieces that can be worn daily, seamlessly integrating into various styles and outfits. 

Personalisation has also become increasingly important, with customisable jewellery allowing wearers to imbue pieces with their own meaning and significance. 

Don’t miss the Onyx Milos Ring from Jan Logan and Gucci Link To Love Bracelet and enjoy a sleek and minimalist addition to your collection. 

Celebrating the History of Fashion and Jewellery with JewelCover

Fashion and jewellery have shared a rich and intertwined history, with each influencing the other through the ages. 

From the opulence of ancient civilisations to the minimalist chic of the 21st century, jewellery has played a vital role in shaping fashion trends and expressing individual style. 

By understanding the historical significance of jewellery in fashion, we can appreciate the diverse range of styles and designs available today, offering endless possibilities for curating a unique and personal collection. 

However, with such valuable treasures, it's essential to provide them with proper insurance coverage.

JewelCover specialises in jewellery insurance in Australia, providing cover against loss theft and damage. 

Try our online quote calculator and get a great price in seconds! 

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