The 1960’s was the decade of ‘anything goes’ in fashion and jewellery. Jewellery was bigger, chunkier and bolder than ever before, often psychedelic. It was all about bringing jewellery to everyone by using non-precious materials and developing its wearability.
Jewellery was bigger and bolder than ever before. Chunky rings, bangles and necklaces were all worn by the fashionisters. Designers used plastics boldly and black metal was teamed with bright colours. Vivid enamel pieces, coupled with white metal, were also very popular.
There was a wide range of looks through the Sixties, from Space Age pieces inspired by moon missions to the flower power of the hippie people. Ethnic and gypsy styles also jostled for attention.
The decade began with more traditional jewellery, reflecting the elegance of America’s First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy, with her sharp suits, false eyelashes, French manicures and sleeveless A-line dresses. She was a style icon throughout the Sixties.
Against the traditional, elegant look sprang the pop music of the Beatles and Stones, the ‘mods and rockers’ with their distinctive styles and the hippy peace movement – it is difficult to imagine a more diverse scene. It wasn’t long until earrings, necklaces and other pieces were produced to match funky new fashions.
Carnaby Street in London was the centre of the swinging 60’s where the new trendy hairdressers, pop stars, models, photographers and fashion designers met and partied. Fashion changed radically. Skirts became much shorter with the introduction of the mini skirt.
Hippies in the 1960’s broke away from the mainstream values in society and wore handmade, bright clothes and jewellery. The 1960’s hippies wore huge hoop earrings, medallion necklaces, love beads and oversized geometric earrings all made from wood or plastics. The clothes and the jewellery reflected the peace and love movement with its strong anti-war message. Hippies also introduced bell-bottom jeans, tie-dye t-shirts and paisley prints inspired by Native American, Asian and Indian motifs. Peace symbol pendants displayed the political stand taken by the hippie movement.
Native American designs and images were used for handmade jewellery. Turquoise and silver were the material often chosen for these items and the pendants were hung on simple loops of leather or macramé.