Retro Era

Retro jewelry, created in the years leading up to and encompassing World War II, included bold designs and metals that were limited by wartime rationing. These styles of the 1930s and 1940s glittered with gemstones of a variety of colors and unique materials.
Jewelry of this era is reminiscent of the ‘golden age’ of Hollywood glamour, personified in actresses such as Rita Hayworth as she danced with Fred Astaire in You’ll Never Get Rich. Picture Ava Gardner in The Hucksters with Clark Gable and you will understand the appeal and beauty of Retro style. Bold and flashy pieces that could be paired with a cocktail dress as easily as a sweater were focal points of fashion.
Brooches enjoyed particular popularity during this era, providing expressive pieces that added a glamorous touch to the less-than-feminine styles of the day. Geometric patterns or floral designs that were updated versions of Victorian romanticism were common.
Due to the restrictions placed on metals used in the war effort, gold was commonly used in retro era jewelry, as opposed to silver or platinum. Rings from this time period involved a gold setting that included multiple colorful stones.
Engagement rings of the Retro era also reflected the love for glitter and eye-catching jewelry pieces. Combining several stones in a setting, an engagement ring would be heavy in encrusted gemstones surrounding one large stone. In existing jewelry from this time, multicolored stones may be used in combination with diamonds. Though white gold was used, the coppery gold of the day was often used in engagement rings instead.
Modern pieces that claim to be Retro style reflect a combination of Retro and currently fashionable styling. While the bold, geometric designs with multiple stones is utilized, most newly created pieces are in platinum or white gold as opposed to the wartime yellow gold. These pieces tend to be larger than what most people could have afforded in the 1940s, using styles made famous by celebrities who had the most elaborate designs.


Here are a few more examples of Retro Engagement Rings that I found on

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