While many other decades have played a huge role in the fashion and style scene, there is no doubt that the 70s played a huge role and shaped the fashion scene, specifical jewelry.
And so, any jewelry designer and artist will tell you that today’s jewelry and style pieces were primarily inspired by the styles and pieces of jewelry from the 70s. Most of the jewelry pieces from the 70s were made of organic materials and were also inspired by nature.
But not just that, 70s jewelry is, to date, celebrated for its originality and identity, even as the pieces were influenced by the merging of a few cultural movements, leading to signature jewelry styles that live on to date.
Before we look at the main kinds of jewelry popular in the 70s, let’s first look back at the 70s fashion and styles from the time.
What was the 70s characterized by?
The 70s is undoubtedly one of the biggest, most influential decades in fashion and style. The decade was defined by self-expression and individuality, with values reflected in the jewelry worn at the time.
The pieces of jewelry were influenced mainly by the zeitgeist and the Bohemian and disco movements ranging from the glittery and bright pieces to the multicultural and nature-inspired options. 70s jewelry was big, bold, and multiple other yellow gold pieces supreme.
Other standard pieces from the time included dangling earrings, hoops, and statement jewelry pieces such as chunky rings, oversized pendants, and wide bracelets.
But why the 70s?
The 70s is also considered a period when there was the second wave of feminism, with more and more women joining the workforce.
So, as women rose to positions of power, many women started buying their jewelry, opting for the fin, casual, and affordable pieces that they wore during the day at work or when going out in the evenings. So, as expected, jewelry pieces from the 70s were not the most elegant pieces of jewelry.
Of course. Pop culture and the booming art scenes also influenced jewelry from the 70s. So, besides a surge in the variety of jewelry worn, there also were several changes in the world.
These included Woodstock, color televisions, and brightly colored jewelry, not to mention the best of fashion and design. There also was a great deal of crossover appeal in fashion styles, including the Bohemian, Hippie, and disco styles.
The Bohemian pieces were particularly impactful with the multicultural influence and the use of natural materials, plus disco, leading to the creation of bold and glittery pieces.
What kind of jewelry was worn in the 70s?
1. Gold jewelry
The most significant jewelry trend of the 70s was gold jewelry. Interestingly, this didn’t come to be just because of the great color and finishes of gold jewelry, but also because gold’s value was at an all-time low in 1971, at $35, before going up to $180 in 1974.
After this, there was a huge 40% drop in the value of gold in 1976. Since then, the value of gold has gone up. In the 70s, it wasn’t until 1978 that the value of gold went back to $180.
Then by 1980, gold’s value skyrocketed to $850, and so today, the tendencies of gold’s value have been replicated, with the precious metal now valued at about $6800. With this low value of gold for most of the 70s, it makes sense that gold jewelry was quite popular then.
The jewelry from this decade featured a lot of yellow gold. This jewelry stood out loudly thanks to the bold and colorful patterns of the jewelry, all pieces that complimented the warm autumn hues and patterns typical in interior design and fashion at the time.
Most of the gold pieces were matte, hammered, and had somewhat gritty textures that make them boldly unique.
2. Semi-Precious Gemstones
Jewelry from the time also featured a great deal of bold, semi-precious gems such as lapis lazuli and turquoise.
These paired well with the bohemian and natural aesthetics, meeting the desire to wear and stand out in larger-than-life statement pieces affordably.
3. Natural Materials
As mentioned above, there also were multiple pieces of jewelry from the 70s made using natural materials that represented multiculturalism and diversity.
The common materials used at the time included stone used for pendants, wood, and ivory for bangles, not to mention dangling earrings made of leather and feathers. Puka shell necklaces were also quite popular in the 70s.
The other popular material used for jewelry in the 70s was the multicolored beads that were made in pretty much all shapes, sizes, and materials.
The beads were made of stone, plastic, wood, bone, and coral; and were all used for earrings, beaded pendants, and the beaded bangles, among other types of jewelry worn as long strands.
5. Hoop Earrings
Hoop earrings are an iconic 70s look and, ideally, a favorite kind of jewelry to date. Hoop earrings were made in different shapes and sizes, and they were all designed to complement ideally any look. But in the 70s, the bigger the hoop earrings, the better.
Note, however, that the 70s hoop earrings were not just this new concept from this decade; hoops had been around for much longer, as they are considered the oldest jewelry style in history.
Hoop earrings date back to ancient civilizations, and they have been present in the fashion scene throughout history and across cultures. And even though the history and the popularity of the hoop earrings ebb and flow, the hoop earrings never really go out of style.
Large stud Earrings
This might surprise you, but the large stud earrings were also a massive hit in the 70s. These earrings featured large and bold sculptural studs, like the large clip-on earrings from the same period.
The earrings were all funky-shaped and colorful statement pieces. Many stud earrings were made of crystal or diamond-encrusted metal elements that resulted in the most glittery statement pieces that looked perfect in discos.
The 70s also featured a vast range of long-dangling earrings popularized by the disco-inspired trends. These earrings were popular because of their dramatic effect.
The dangling earrings were made of shiny, inexpensive materials that moved around as the wearer danced. There were also long, Bohemian earrings made of tassels or beads and natural materials like feathers and leather.
Bracelets, cuffs, and bangles were also a massive hit in the 70s, and pretty much everyone from the time swears that these were a hit. The bracelets, bangles, and cuffs were made in different sizes and designs, but they were primarily vast statement pieces.
These large pieces included thick bangles and gold-plated statement cuffs, and others that were silver plated. But that is not all; the other popular accessory from the 70s included the woven friendship bracelets.
That said, bracelets did not become to the fashion scene, the pieces had been around for much longer, and they are believed to have been worn for over millennia.
And today, the bracelets remain the most significant creations in the world of jewelry, with the many styles of bracelets today known to have had origins in the past.
The other thing you should know about the bracelet is that the name of this accessory originated from the Latin word Brachium to mean ‘arrangement.’ The bracelets date back to the 1920s when they were worn as extravagant decorations from the 19th century that gave way to the Art Deco’s unique, geometric pieces known for their clean lines.
Then in the 1930s, they came up with plastic and Bakelite jewelry. These materials were made into large plastic bangles that became every little girl’s wardrobe staple.
By the 70s, the common jewelry from the time were beaded strands, slim bangles, wide cuffs, and small chains that adorned the wrists. During this time, men started wearing bracelets made of sterling silver and white gold link chains.
The other big jewelry trend of the 70s featured the massive and gold-set statement rings. There were also bright and floral diamond rings that helped bring out the wearer’s personality.
The brides in the 70s also wore similar bold pieces that were all about flower power, glamor, and joy, compared to the elegant couture from the 60s.
Therefore, there is no doubt that the 70s offered the widest variety of the stunning vintage jewelry that alludes, albeit subtly, to the decade that the jewelry was manufactured.
So, in an era of bold yellow gold, rough tapering shoulders, and starburst shapes, the statement rings all stood out from the time.
Other pieces of jewelry that stand out from the 70s include:
- Geometric jewelry pieces are available in squares, triangles, and ovals.
- Bold color blends also called color-blocking
- Large stone and metal pendants
- Chunky choker necklaces
- Gold chains
- Crystal-encrusted earrings and pendants
The 70s featured many bold pieces of jewelry, all inspired by nature and different cultural influences from older periods.
And as seen above, there are many kinds of jewelry that are reminiscent of the 70s but remain stylish even today.
Stephanie is a jewelry lover when she was a teenager. Her major was fashion design when she was in college. She is a jewelry designer at SOQ Jewelry and other design companies. Now she is also a writer for our website. She writes a lot of designs&brands posts with very actionable tips.