Jewelry in the early 1960s still looked a lot like that from the 50s. However, a change was already happening, with bolder and more expressive designs gaining popularity.
By the end of the decade, the 1960s jewelry styles had transformed the usual flashy gold parures of the 50s into eccentric bold creations shaped in cheap plastics.
Some of the most popular 1960s trends in jewelry were Mod or pop art colors, including yellow and green, black and white, and pink and red. Women wore big dangling earrings in geometric shapes, paired with stacks of dense or thin bangles, colorful floral necklaces, and cute plastic pins.
Long Retro Earrings
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By the 1960s, pierced ear lobes had become the new normal. Women were now wearing long and large earrings, with many of them intentionally trying to find the biggest ones they could.
Plus, they started wearing their hair shorter or tucked behind using a headband to expose the neck and ears more, further focusing attention on the earrings. This provided more real estate for even larger oversized hoop rings on the earlobes.
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Thanks to mass production, jewelry had become extremely affordable in the sixties. Women were now able to buy as many accessories as they wanted, allowing them to compliment several outfits easily and without breaking the bank!.
Bangles were extremely popular in the 60s. They were available in a variety of colors and designs. A lot of women loved them because they provided a quick and easy way for them to update their outfits and add those signature pops of color that made sixties fashion stand out.
Plus, bangles were versatile enough to mix and match with a variety of outfits and trends.
Chunky oversize bangles in jarring color combinations became the perfect 1960s accessories. Stacks of different sized bangles worn down the entirety of the arm were also popular. This layering technique is still a popular way to wear arm jewelry today.
1960’s Jewelry Trends: Black and White
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In the 1960s, fashion and art often went hand-in-hand. Shift dresses and the ever-popular swing dress with its playful fit and flare was just the perfect background for exhibiting the bold patterns of Pop and Op Art.
Op Art featured a one-color palette that was used to make intricate designs and patterns and, consequently, to create optical illusions.
Jewelry designs further supplemented these trends. Simple black and white jewelry styles saw a surge in popularity. They were often made of low-budget plastics, making them really affordable. The fact that they paired well with almost every outfit was just the cherry on top.
1960S Jewelry Styles: Geometric Shapes
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The shapes in jewelry designs became much bolder, and as a result almost sculptural. The Pop and Op Art Movement of the 60s had an influence that transcended the fashion industry and made its way into the accessories and jewelry of the decade.
Pop art and geometric designs saw their way into fashion and clothing of the nineteen sixties and were also a prominent design mode for interiors, decor, and homewares.
Not surprisingly, then, that the result of this influence was new jewelry styles that featured shapes like circles, spirals, diamonds, and hexagons.
Flower Power! and Floral Designs
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By the 1960s, floral designs and patterns had been giving jewelry designers a lot of inspiration for decades. The 1960s saw floral jewelry designs becoming larger, almost exclusively fashioned in the new plastics.
Towards the end of the decade, the Hippie movement saw the upsurge of the Flower Power movement - which extended far beyond a political statement and cemented itself firmly in the realm of fashion. When this movement made its way to fashion, the popularity of floral styles increased even more.
Lea Stein: A 60s Jewelry Design Icon
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Our guide to 1960s jewelry wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t at least mention the wonderful work of Lea Stein.
The story of Lea Stein is an interesting one. In 1957, she set up a small textile company. In the mid-60s, she decided to experiment with designing and manufacturing buttons for the fashion and apparel industry.
This was the turning point of her career and company.
By the end of the 60s, she had started to make her own jewelry designs. She used layers of painted fiber acetate, which she bonded together to make her signature jewelry.
A lot of Lea Stein’s designs feature colorful and comical figures, animals, birds, or cars. The “fox” pin is the most popular and familiar of her designs, and it still remains so to this day.
Simply browsing through the most popular jewelry looks from the 1960s just goes to show how enduring these looks are.
Bold colors, geometric designs, and floral accents have all stood the test of time and feature prominently in the modern, edgy jewelry styles of today.
If you want to recreate the timeless 60s look - there’s a ton of inspiration out there for you to explore. Take a look at our 1960s fashion guides, or simply browse our retro clothing styles for some serious sixties style inspo.
What’s your favorite jewelry look from the 1960s?
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