Tuesday, 23 June 2015

History of Jewellery - Part XV

Susan told us that jewellery design got a bit quirky after WWII. For one thing, during the 1950s, jewellers began rolling gold into thin layers which they could then sculpt and roll. This made pieces look larger without the added expense of using more gold.  This is a style that sounds vaguely familiar, but I'm not finding the examples I had before I deleted all my work. Maybe something like this from Van Cleef and Arpels?

The use of semi-precious stones also become more and more popular, with odd combinations like amethysts and turquoise. 

Cartier - for Duchess of Windsor (again)...

Not just 'quirky' but positively surreal elements - actually called surreal -  also crept in and to my mind it was all pretty creepy. I can't think of anything Salvador Dali did that I can enjoy, but if you like this sort of thing you can see more of his jewellery here.

We were given Elizabeth Taylor's iguana clip as another example of surrealism, but at least she wore this around the time of the film Night of the Iguana...not one of hers, but of Richard Burton's - and it looks a bit of a creepy movie as well-ick.

Clothes, she reminded us, were also fairly surreal in the 1960s and 70s: Paco Rabanne's plastic neon coat; "space clothes" (by Andre Courreges); and she mentioned Emanual Raft (who is apparently still designing) to whom she attributed the gyro bangle, versions of which are still being made - or at least the name is still used.

Another name she mentioned was Andrew Grima, responsible for modern British jewellery design according to Wikipedia. She described his early work with agate, referencing stars and planets. As you will see, his work was plenty exotic - and though he died in 2008, his work goes on (or that of his wife and daughter).

If you know about the history of clothing design, you'll be aware that for many decades fashion had strict dictates: the silhouette, the skirt length, the required accessories all had to be right in order to not look foolish. That is not presently - thank goodness - the case, at least not for most of us ordinary folk. The speed with which new fashions are presented has backfired on the industry and given us all a bit more leeway to choose our own paths. 

Susan made the point that jewellery styles have all been mixed since the time of Art Deco (in the 1920s and 30s), which she says was the last of the true styles. 

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