Retro Jewellery

Post War and Contemporary, 1940-1970

The sobering years of WWII put an end to the use of platinum which was commandeered for the war effort. Gold was in fashion and used to make cuff bangles, large dress rings and chunky bracelets which were often decorated with citrines and amethysts.

In 1948 Cartier made the first fully three dimensional panther brooch which had been commissioned by the Duchess of Windsor (1896-1986). The design of jewellery was often very chromatic with a variety of precious and semi-precious stones being used, although diamonds were favoured over all others.

It was in 1947 that the diamond engagement ring became the ring of choice, thanks in part to the influence of De Beers who are synonymous with the phrase ´a diamond is forever´.

The fashions in the 1950ʼs were mixed and women tended to be more individual with their tastes. Gold was still worn during the day and pieces were often discreetly set with diamonds and gemstones. In the evening however these pieces were replaced with suites of diamond jewellery which tended to be in the form of festoons and tied ribbons.

During the 1960 and 70ʼs the jewellery movement was personified by the jeweller Andrew Grima. Being an engineer prior to a jeweller, Grima approached the way jewellery was made from a different perspective. Often elaborate and daring, he used rough crystals and gemstones chosen for their strong and wild colours rather than their intrinsic value.

In the late 1960ʼs the distinction between what was defined as day wear versus evening wear disappeared with buyers tending to prefer one off pieces rather than formal jewellery. This came at a time when women were becoming more financially independent, often buying jewellery, clothes and shoes as they pleased.