Fashion took a turn in the 1920s. The likes of Coco Chanel changed the way women dressed forever, including the types of jewelry that became popular. Pearls also became more accessible as Japanese cultured pearls were introduced to the market around 1928.
Let’s have a look at some of the pearl highlights for each decade.
Pearls in the 1920s
During the Jazz Age, costume jewelry became fashionable – a departure from the fine jewelry popular up to now. A single strand of pearls was all it took to adorn an LBD or flapper-style dress and bring out your free spirit.
Style icons: Coco Chanel and Josephine Baker
Pearls in the 1930s
Because of the Great Depression and, in the latter half of the decade, the start of the golden age of Hollywood, cheap yet glamorous jewelry became popular. More people became interested in fashion, and of course, pearls. Movie stars have set the trends and pearl necklaces became shorter and bulkier with several strands instead of just one.
Style icons: Katherine Hepburn and Marlene Dietrich
Pearls in the 1940s
During the war, there was a restriction on the amount of fabric that can be used in garments and women took the place of men in factories. Daytime clothes were simple and cheap costume jewelry was often the only feminine detail that they could afford.
After the war, surrealism became popular in art, which filtered through to fashion. Designers and artists started to have more fun and created playful jewelry. Salvador Dali designed a brooch with rubies for lips and pearls for teeth, while Alfred Philippe designed jewelry portraying animal figures, called Jelly Bellies.
Style icons: Ava Gardner and Doris Day
Pearls in the 1950s
During the 1950’s, elegance, innocence, and femininity became favored. Jewelry designs were simple and understated – a single strand of pearls or pearl stud earrings were all it took to add a touch of elegance.
Style Icons: Grace Kelly and Jackie Kennedy
Pearls in the 1960s
The swinging sixties saw the rise of super-wealthy celebrities with more money than the royals and fashionistas everywhere rebelled against the traditional signs of status. The decade’s fashion started with bright and fake beads, and ended with expensive and status-worthy pieces, like Elizabeth Taylor’s La Peregrina.
Style Icons: Audrey Hepburn and Brigitte Bardot
Pearls in the 1970s
The hippy-culture of the seventies shunned anything fake, extravagant, and practices hurting the environment just to adorn oneself. Ethnic jewelry and sustainable materials became popular, and together with gold and diamonds, pearls took a backseat in fashion. Luckily, the pearl culturing industry came a long way since to promote sustainable farming practices.
Style icons: Farrah Fawcett and Diane Von Furstenberg
Pearls in the 1980s
One of the most experimental decades in fashion history, the 80s was all about big hair, bright colors, and bold personalities like Cyndi Lauper. But, on the other end of the spectrum, beloved, down-to-earth Princes Diana made pearls popular again. Long ropes of pearls – and imitation pearls – were layered and often with the ends tied in knots.
Style icons: Princess Diana and Brooke Shields
Pearls’ Place in Fashion Today
Whether you like classy and understated jewelry, or bold and colorful – you’re in fashion. The greatest thing about fashion today is that anything goes. You have the freedom to choose what you love and you can develop your own style.
There is a wide variety of jewelry styles available to choose from – and our online pearl jewelry shop is no different. Browse our products to find the perfect pieces for your taste.