Jewellery design of the 1960s-Historical Movements & style
Are you old enough to remember the 1960s as the decade of radical change? The young people rose and time seemed to accelerate. It is obvious that such a decade produces its own style.
Fashion changes with the rhythm of its time and the 1960s rhythm was frenetic, fresh and uncompromising. This was also evident in the jewellery, which reflected the spirit of the time in the work of John Donald, Gerda Flöckinger, Jeane Thé, Gijs Bakker and many others.
It is no coincidence that all the designers mentioned here worked in London because London was undoubtedly the capital of fashion and the spirit of the 1960s. Just think of the designer Mary Quant, who created the “mini skirt” and whose skirts and costumes were characterized by simple lines and bright colours and were elaborately displayed in extravagant productions.
Encouraged by the success, the designer opened a second store in cooperation with a US department store chain and launched a cheaper line called The Ginger Group.
Mary Quant created a whimsical style signature that rejected classic fashion elitism. In this way, she opened the door to a kind style accessible to everyone. It was no longer only the ladies of the upper class who dressed in the latest fashion, but also the girls from working-class families and virtually all could now find access to a fashion made for them, which was – contemporary and affordable.
Something very French
Of course, France did not miss the opportunity to stage its interpretation of modernity. Courrèges, Yves Sant Laurent and Paco Rabanne presented their creations – characterized by short skirts and sensual lines.
The explosive Paco Rabanne dress for singer Françoise Hardy, which she wore during the inauguration of the International Diamond Exhibition in May 68, made a huge splash. It was the most expensive mini costume in the world woven from gold plates and diamonds and was presented in France at the same time as the student revolution.
What shaped the Jewels in the decade of the 60s?
Above all, pearls shaped the jewellery of the 1960s. They appeared in all sizes and shapes. Necklaces, big earrings, bracelets and rings, they all showed pearls. It didn’t matter whether they were real or fake pearls: the ladies bought expensive natural pearls and the teenagers bought plastic pearls.
Acrylic was also used in jewellery for the first time in the 1960s.
Huge acrylic designs in bright colours and mostly geometric shapes have flooded the shop windows of the jewellery boutiques. The boldest designers combined acrylic with pearls, gems and even diamonds.
In the second half of the sixties, more elaborate jewellery was produced, which had a spiritual meaning and was inspired by the hippie movement. These were usually silver jewellery in which turquoise, lapis lazuli, amber, malachite and many types of quartz were used. Many of these jewellery designs were inspired by Indian jewellery or Asian objects.
It was an innovative and exciting time. One had the feeling that one could say to the world: “Everything is possible, just think about it!”
Today, fashion is very eclectic and the aesthetics of the 1960s are being reconstructed to infinity. You don’t necessarily have to visit a vintage shop to feel this: in many trendy boutiques and jewellery shops, you will find clothes and jewels that look like the fashion of the 1960s.
A wonderful homage to an unforgettable time, which reminds us of the Beatles, the mini skirt and Twiggy!