Signalled by last week’s June solstice, we are delighted that summer is at last upon us. London’s social scene comes alive at this time of year, with afternoons spent at Wimbledon and Henley, to evenings at the opera – stand out from the crowd with a vintage jewellery ensemble from our extensive collection. If your plans will transport you further afield, dazzle in a piece that is guaranteed to make a splash when worn poolside.
For jewellery enthusiasts, the bold designs of the cocktail period are becoming increasingly desirable and are the jewels to be seen in this summer. Beginning in the post-war era and continuing in to the 1970s, substantial forms in textured gold are synonymous with this style. The jubilant mood of the late 1940s was encapsulated by a return to curving forms and naturalistic motifs, such as flowers, birds and animals, and a rainbow of different gemstones were employed to produce wonderfully polychromatic jewellery. In the 1950s, the jeweller’s focus shifted to the ornamentation of the metal itself – twisted wires, lacework and woven gold are emblematic of jewellery from this decade.
The strengthening economy meant that the 1960s was a particularly illustrious time for the jewellery industry. New money resulted in a broader client base, whilst increased wealth allowed for substantial purchases and commissions. The abstract movement and the age of space exploration inspired geometric, splintered shapes in which texture was paramount. Cabochons were contrasted with faceted gemstones to create a ‘spiky’ aesthetic, and uncut gemstones, such as tourmaline crystals, pyrite and quartz clusters, were set in undulating mounts of hammered gold. In the late 1960s and 70s, India and the Middle-East provided inspiration for sautoirs, long chains and pendant earrings, modelled on the jewels of the Maharanis from centuries before. The buying power of Middle-Eastern clients contributed to this aesthetic and to the continued presence of yellow gold in jewellery of this period.
Synonymous with Hollywood starlets and fashion icons, such as Elizabeth Taylor, Jane Birkin and Sophia Loren, in recent years an increased interest in this period of design and a vogue for gold, have resulted in a renewed appreciation for cocktail jewellery. Characterised by bold designs set with a rainbow of gemstones, vintage jewels are the perfect accessory to compliment any summer ensemble. Browse and shop our extensive collection online, or visit us in store.