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Modern Jewelry

A New Look for the Powerful Woman

Modern Jewelry
Cartier Lapis and Diamond Bracelet in 18K, c. 1970

The Modern period began in the mid-1960s. The following decade would see the rise of the famous Italian designers, and jewelry was designed to complement these fashions, crafted in heavy yellow gold with brightly colored gemstones. The strong 1970s trend of multiculturalism is also reflected in the pieces from this period, with designs taking inspiration from a variety of cultures such as India, for a look that was decidedly “ethnic” or “Bohemian” using materials such as silver and precious turquoise. The pop culture movement and general spirit of rejecting convention is also reflected in modern pieces, many made in organic, abstract and highly textured pieces with yellow gold, unusual gemstones and objets trouves made popular by designers such as Andrew Grima.

Cartier Diamond Link Necklace

The 1980s saw another transition in women’s fashion, this time reflecting the rise of women in the workplace. The flowing and organic look of the 1970’s was replaced by bold styles such as the popular power suit, loose fitting with shoulder pads. Fine jewelry in turn was designed to reflect this new movement, designed to be bold, an unmistakable statement of wealth and power. Jewelry made in the 1980’s was big, big, big, reaching record proportions; the designs of the era were a bold dismissal of the adage, “less is more.” Television soaps such as Dynasty and Dallas rid the fashion world of the barrier between day and eveningwear resulting in the rise of diamante by day. Yellow gold was widely popular, combined with dramatic displays of pearls, diamonds and other gemstones such as the memorable pieces worn by powerful female figures such as Princess Diana. Fluctuations in the diamond market made alternative gemstones such as sapphires, citrines and amethysts popular in jewelry made during this period as well.

David Webb Tiger Brooch

David Webb Tiger Brooch

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