Voyage Fair Trade is taking a look at jewellery in the last hundred years. Now women are able to express themselves through jewellery with the most unique design  

“Diamonds are a girl’s best friend” – so they say, or so they USED to say. Diamond rings are now regarded mainly as just an investment or a once-in-a -lifetime purchase by a hopeful boyfriend. Diamonds, sapphires, rubies and the like also now seem very dated belonging to another era inhabited by Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Girls now regard their “best friend” as a funky individual necklace that goes with their latest outfit and Costume Jewellery or Fashion Jewellery rules the day.

Costume jewellery began to make its mark in the 1920s when the new casual fashions were not suited to the formal nature of precious stones. The Art Deco style influenced jewellery to a great extent with its geometric shapes and straight lines. When Howard Carter discovered the tomb of Tutankhamen in 1922, Egyptian-influenced jewellery became the thing to have. Flappers also wore long strings of beads to go with their fringed straight dresses. Synthetic plastic became widely available and it became possible to mass produce jewellery making it cheaper and within the reach of the average person.

In the 1920’s Coco Chanel almost single-handedly invented Costume Jewelry.

In the 1930s and 1940s Hollywood films were in their heyday. If Bette Davis wore a certain brooch in a film (and brooches were very trendy then!) and if you liked it, you could usually find a cheap copy in Woolworths. Retro jewellery, as it is now known, is still sought after. It often has an American style as during the war many European factories were forced to close.

Hollywood Actress Bette wearing one of her iconic brooches!
Hollywood Actress Bette wearing one of her iconic brooches and it going off to auction!

The 1960s brought flower power and beads. Men started to wear beads – it was the hippy generation! The more peace signs, beads and flowers the better!

Wow! The power dressing of the 1980s brings to mind enormous clip on earrings; the sort Sue Ellen used to unclip on one ear when talking on the phone at the Southfork Ranch. The jewellery then was very big and chunky – and definitely made a statement.

Sue Ellen in Dallas.

Now in the 21st century anything goes! From the rappers’ Bling to the Victorian vintage pieces. People are wanting something different, to make them stand out and feel special. Because of this there has been a step away from the mass-produced high street ware. If you are looking for that unique piece check out any of the country pages on our site or just start with browsing Our Products.

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