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Retro Period Guide – Jewelry Design and Styles

April 19, 2012
Retro Period Guide – Jewelry Design and Styles

After the bold, sleek designs and decadence of the Art Deco period , jewelry took a decidedly softer turn. The Retro Period (1935 to 1960) was characterized by romantic motifs, the heavy use of gold, and “larger than life” sized jewelry. Retro Period jewelry aesthetic and style During the Retro Period, America was reeling from its involvement in World War II. Amid the turmoil overseas and the uncertainty at home, society turned to Hollywood for a romantic, “larger than life” escape from reality. Retro Period jewelry reflects this escapism: mimicking the abundance and glamour of Hollywood, designers crafted enchanting, oversized pieces that created a sense of romance and grace. Settings that featured pleats or drapes were also popular. Charm bracelets , watches and necklaces were particularly vogue during this jewelry period , as were oversized pins, clips and cocktail rings. The Duchess of Windsor’s bold style and fondness for cat motifs also propelled many of the period’s luxury jewelry trends. Popular metals, gems and stones during the Retro Period Gold is the hallmark of Retro Period jewelry. Although platinum was vogue during the Art Deco period, wartime restrictions made it largely unavailable for jewelry making during the Retro years. Thus, yellow gold became the metal of choice in the 1940s and 1950s. Yellow gold was often paired with rose or green alloys to create settings with a soft, romantic luster. Stones such as aquamarine , topaz, amethyst and citrine were extremely popular during the Retro Period, and like most jewelry settings from this period, were magnificent in size. The rectangular cut was one of the period’s most popular cuts, featuring prominently in cocktail rings with oversized stones. Although luxury designers still used rubies , sapphires and diamonds as accents, this period also saw the birth of costume jewelry using synthetic gems and wallet-friendly stones. Popular jewelry motifs during the Retro Period A Retro Period motif is unmistakable. Bows , fans, ribbons and ruffles reinforced this period’s femininity, while nature-inspired images such as flowers also began to grace everything from earrings and rings to brooches . Patriotic motifs were vogue, especially during the wartime periods, as were sculptural or 3-D designs that mimicked the movement of fabric. And although the trends varied from year to year, one thing remained constant: motifs during the Retro Period were almost always oversized, reflecting the grandness of Hollywood. Popular jewelry designers during the Retro Period Designers such as Cartier, Harry Winston and Van Cleef & Arpels shaped the luxury jewelry aesthetic during the Retro Period. With its nature-inspired designs and eye for romance, Van Cleef & Arpels ushered in the period’s emphasis on femininity and glamour more than any other design house. To this day, Van Cleef & Arpels is synonymous with 1940s and 1950s naturalism, an aesthetic just as vogue today as it was a half-century ago. Retro Period jewelry and Diamond & Estate Trust The Retro Period is defined by romance and glamour, a spirit captured meticulously by this 1950s-inspired custom ring in the Diamond & Estate Trust collection . Named the Aurora, this romantic ring features a soft 18K gold setting paired with lustrous yellow and pink colored diamonds. The center stone of this floral ring is a .72 carat GIA certified fancy intense pink diamond . A delicate row of white diamonds and 7 carats of perfectly matched natural fancy yellow pear-shaped diamonds complete this ring’s bouquet motif. This custom ring seamlessly blends the Retro Period’s fondness for oversized jewelry and love of whimsical, nature-inspired images. The Aurora is our tribute to the Van Cleef & Arpels designs that defined 1950s naturalism. Whether you’re looking for a funky cocktail ring or a romantic brooch or pin, you’ll find the perfect Retro Period piece in Diamond & Estate Trust’s luxury jewelry collection .  With an unparalleled inventory of loose gems such as sapphires, emeralds, rubies and diamonds , and vintage pieces including watches, rings and signed designer pieces, Diamond & Estate Trust is regarded as the premier luxury jewelry buyer and seller in Southern California. Read the rest here: Retro Period Guide – Jewelry Design and Styles

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