Retro (1935 – 1950)

Dwindling away from the Art Deco period, in the height of the Great Depression and with World War II on the horizon, we entered what is known as The Retro jewellery period. This period, sometimes referred as the Cocktail Period, was defined by its bold, chunky, and large styles of jewellery and it’s almost exclusive use of gold. This was almost in complete contrast to the Art Deco period.

Platinum was not available to the jewellery industry during World War II as it was essential to the war and as a result, we saw the use of gold skyrocket once again. However, it wasn’t just the yellow and white gold that were most accustomed as rose and green gold were also widely being used. The Retro period saw a surge of interest in gemstones such as, aquamarines, topaz, and citrines. These gemstones were often large and cut in oversized, rectangular cuts that were set in cocktail rings, oversized bracelets and watches.

The Retro period also saw synthetic gemstones come into fashion. Synthetic rubies and sapphires were increasingly popular and produced accordingly. Diamonds, were in fact, largely out of style, however they would often appear as smaller supporting stones.

Established jewellery houses such as Boucheron, Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier, Tiffany & Co. and Lacloche continued to increase their sales following the war.