Vintage Jewelry For Today’s Woman

Lana Turner wears a Turquoise and diamond necklace by David Webb in Madam X. American

Lana Turner wears a Turquoise and diamond necklace by David Webb in Madam X.

Ali McGraw wears The Cartier Love Bracelet in The Getaway.

From the optimistic 1950s of cocktail parties and the suburban life, following World War II to the newfound freedom of women liberation movement in the 1960s-70s – the mid to later 20th century is witnessing a revival among vintage jewelry fans as well as new enthusiasts who have has found that many of these designs are both collectible and wearable.

Botier Inc.’s Tiffany & Co. Sapphire Diamond Gold Platinum Ring, attributed to Donald Claflin, circa 1960s.

Within the category of vintage, we are seeing two trends emerge—one that speaks to dressing up again after working at home in sweats for over a year, but with a daring and unprecedented mix of materials that were popular during the 1950s and early 60s.

The other focuses on a casual sporty chic of the ‘70s or the glow of gold in the statement pieces that stood out under the flashing lights and pulsing beat of the disco era.

Many of the renowned houses were redefining their collections to appeal to the women of these distinctively different decades. “But these brands like Cartier, Van Cleef and Bulgari were designing to cater to a new clientele looking for less formal, more wearable jewels that weren’t encumbered with diamonds and precious stones and fancy metalwork of the early 20th Century Edwardian/ Belle Epoque and Art Deco jewelry,” says Anthony Barzilay Freund, editorial director and director of fine art, 1stDibs. “Among other leaders experimenting with new styles and materials during these three decades were Andrew Grima, in the UK, and Donald Claflin and Jean Schlumberger, both working for Tiffany & Co., and David Webb, New York’s socialite designer. These major talents and their pieces have long attracted interest among collectors of the mid to later 20th century and on 1stDibs,” he adds.

Stephanie Windsor’s Van Cleef & Arpels’ Delphe Collection necklace that can become bracelets or a brooch in pink coral and green agate. Mounted in 18k yellow gold. French assay marks for gold. Circa 1970.

The 1950s through early 60s focused on the cocktail party and country club set. Palm Beach and the socialites that made their winter homes were also a part of this colorful and buoyant jewelry style. Unexpected mixes of gemstones, large cocktail rings, suites of necklaces and clip earring, cuff and flexible bracelets and a bevy of brooches were the jewels of the day. If gems were precious, they were artfully mixed with less precious stones at the time—coral and sapphire, rubies and turquoise as well as amethyst, citrine and aquamarine, all mixed together or with accents of diamonds. These were versatile and wearable and were worn day or night, depending on the woman and the lifestyle.

Yafa Signed Jewels / Maurice Moradof’s An important mid-century suite from Van Cleef & Arpels combining two designs emblematic of the renowned house: the domed voluminous forms of ‘Pelouse’ (in some books this look is also referred to as ‘Couscous Passementerie’) decorated with floral motifs stemming from the ‘Hawaii’ collections. This Van Cleef & Arpels Bagatelle Convertible Bombe Suite consists of a pair of dimensional earrings, a cocktail ring, and a necklace that separates into a pair of bracelets, circa 1950s.

Shreve, Crump & Low’s Jean Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co, brooch is comprised of full cut green peridots, and red rubies set in 18K yellow gold in this whimsically classic floral thistle themed design. This pin measures approximately 1.5″ in height. Stamped “Schlumberger” by “Tiffany” .

Barzilay Freund explains, “While the mid-20th century, particularly the signed pieces are going strong, we are seeing a movement toward an amplified focus on the 1970s. Enough time has now passed for that decade to be thought of nostalgically.”

Eleuteri’s Bulgari Monete circa 1970s 18K yellow gold curb link chain necklace featuring a large silver coin dated 1790, depicting Ferdinand IV/III, the King of Naples and Sicily, on the front. The reverse depicts the royal Coat of Arms during the King’s reign from 1759.

Kimberly Klosterman Jewelry’s Andrew Grima’s 172 carat 18K engraved yellow gold mount with an impressive bright yellow mixed-cut citrine enhanced by a small round white diamond, suspended on an original neckwire, circa 1970s.

Just look at the numbers of how many people streamed the Halston series on HBOMAX. Halston is where model and muse Elsa Peretti’s iconic style was born as a designer and women are clamoring for her pieces on 1stDibs and other reputable dealers where they can find them.

 Aldo Cipullo’s pieces for Cartier, Cartier’s Zodiac signs as well as other designer working in astrological charms, gold day-into-night jewelry, including multilayer chains (worn at various lengths) and rings and bracelets featuring hard stones like malachite, lapis lazuli and tigers eye, all set in gold are all part of the popularity we are seeing the 1970s vintage jewelry,” Barzilay Freund adds.

Bardy’s Estate Jewelry’s orriginal authentic Cartier Love Bracelet by Aldo Cipullo circa 1970. The Love bracelet is crafted in solid 18K yellow gold.

Oak Gems’ David Webb 18K gold and platinum ring, set with carved azurite top, surrounded with approx. diamonds. Marked: Webb, 18K, Plat, CP39. Circa 1970s.

Alice Kwartler Antiques’ rare, highly collectible figural “spade” pendant/charm. Signed Cartier and A. Cipullo. From his card suit collection. Exceptionally heavy gauge 18K yellow gold. Punctuated with a rich green cabochon emerald. Circa 1970s..

The Back Vault’s David Webb 1970s 18K yellow gold heavy Criss Cross link necklace.

Tennis bracelets were first referred to as line bracelets in the Art Deco period. They continued to hold their own throughout the 20th century and beyond. But they became famous and also renamed after the decade’s reigning tennis champ, Chris Evert lost hers during the U.S. Open and asked them to stop the match until she found it. “Tennis bracelets are timeless and a category that never goes out of style, it just evolves into more modern and contemporary looks with time,” says Barzilay Freund.

Platinum and brilliant diamond tennis bracelel, French, Circa 1970.

 “Greek designer Lalaounis or Rome’s Bulgari, which stylish women wore as signifiers of their trips abroad—or at least their embrace of an old-world elegance is being rediscovered by a whole new audience—young women who want a look that is not easily recognizable or generic,’ he concludes.

Here are some additional favorites from the 50s, 60s, and 70s found on 1stDibs—many of them signed pieces but you can also find similar looks and more accessible prices in the same feeling.

Macklowe Gallery’s Van Cleef & Arpels 1960s coral diamond set into 18K gold “Clematis” Brooch

Yafa Signed Jewels / Maurice Moradof’s Van Cleef & Arpels the 1950’s turquoise statement necklace set with alternating diamonds and turquoise crafted in 18K gold.

Pierre/Famille’a David Webb Necklace 18K, Diamond, Ruby, Chrysoprase, Lapis and Enamel, c. 1968.

Nadine Krakov Collection’s pair of vintage earrings created by Cartier in France in the 1970s. The earrings are stamped with Cartier maker’s mark and workshop, serial number, French hallmarks for 18K gold.

Parker Daniels’ iconic gold vermeil belt by Cartier, circa 1970. It doubles as a chunky statement necklace. The belt necklace is crafted sterling silver plated in 24K gold, is marked “Sterling” and signed “Cartier”.This belt was made famous in 1969 when the late Jackie Kennedy Onassis was spotted wearing it on the isle of Capri. When her estate came to auction at Sotheby’s in 1996 her Cartier belt sold for$27,000. Elizabeth Taylor’s belt of the same model sold at auction in 2011 for $52,000.