1970s Jewelry Trends to Rock the Retro Look

Updated May 4, 2021
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If you want a retro look that fits well with your modern style, 1970s jewelry could be a perfect choice for you. Many of the jewelry trends that were popular in the 1970s have been reimagined today, and you can surpass these trends by wearing the real deal.

Popular Jewelry Trends of the 1970s

The 1970s was an incredible period that went through so many visual changes in terms of its fashion, music, art, beauty, and jewelry, over its ten-year tenure, and because of this there's at least one trend from the decade that everyone can connect to. These are some of the major jewelry attributes of the 1970s.

Statement Pieces

In general, the 1970s were all about statement jewelry. Pendants and other pieces were large and attention grabbing, meant to stand out against both the flowy, peasant outfits many young women gravitated towards and the boyish streetwear teens enjoyed. As one of the Aaron Faber Gallery owner's says, "nobody was afraid to be bold."

That 70s attitude

Layering

Layers were also popular, and it was common to see women wearing several chain necklaces on top of one another. Often these pieces were layered on top of turtlenecks or deep-v' necklines to provide an interesting glint to an outfit.

Necklaces on the 70s

Natural Materials and Color Palette

Falling into popularity alongside the Mid-Century Modern aesthetic, it was incredibly common to have jewelry made out of natural materials like wood, stone, shell, and bone, with turquoise being a beloved favorite. This increased connection to the natural world was also reflected in the colors that this jewelry was made out of, like burnt orange and avocado green.

Diverse Inspirations

Ethnic-inspired jewelry was everywhere in the 1970s. With the rise of cultural movements like Black Power, there was a shift towards reflecting one's cultural identity through traditional motifs. Designed to go with mainstream bohemian fashions, these pieces brought a global look to the jewelry scene.

It's Gold, or It's a Bust

The dominant metal of the 1970s was yellow gold; gold hoops, gold chains, and gold bangles were found all-over the mid-century landscape. Of course, it helped that yellow gold tones compliment natural colors very well, so it was an obvious choice for people during the period.

A smiling man from the 1970s

Translating These Trends Into Modern Fashion

Today's fashion takes several elements from 1970s jewelry and incorporates them in a compelling way. Current jewelry looks inspired by the 1970s include trends like using natural materials, wearing layers of necklaces, and getting ideas from other cultures. Don't be afraid to mix up your look; you absolutely can wear 1970s vintage or vintage-inspired pieces and not stand out for looking dated.

Here are a few tips for translating these trends:

  • Wear only one statement piece at a time. Since today's looks are generally simpler and smaller than the flashiness of the 1970s, you may want to limit yourself to a single large jewelry item.
  • Use only one or two vintage pieces at once and don't pair them with a vintage outfit. Too many vintage jewelry and clothing items put together can look like a costume.
  • Layering necklaces is a great way to revive the style of the 1970s. To make this look work, you'll want to stick with a single metal or color and vary the length of the chains.
  • If you choose to wear long, dangling earrings from the 1970s, keep the rest of your look clean and simple. Pull your hair back to show off the earrings and avoid flashy necklaces or pendants.
  • Tribal jewelry can be great for many outfits, but it's best to be conscious of the designs you're buying so that you're not appropriating cultural expressions which aren't your own.
  • Crystal and turquoise jewelry has been making a comeback, and adding small accents of these natural stones to the jewelry you wear can bring a hint of the 1970s to your current look.
Turquoise jewelry

Some Jewelry Never Goes Out of Style

Unsurprisingly, there're a few trends from the 1970s that haven't really lost their traction in popular culture, and you can find examples of these styles all throughout Millennial and Gen Z communities:

  • Gold hoops - From the thick and large gold hoops of the 1970s and the thin, oversized hoops of the 2000s, to the smaller, chunkier hoops of today, this earring trend has yet to go out of style.
  • Gold chains - While chains have come and gone out of the mainstream, they've been consistently worn by fringe groups for many decades now.
  • Men's jewelry - As with gold chains, men's jewelry has consistently been worn by fringe groups, but it's making a comeback in mainstream society with popular artists like Harry Styles paving the way.

Shake It up With Seventies Jewelry

Many people don't realize how many pieces of typical 1970s jewelry that they still wear today, and even those that haven't lasted throughout the decades can be adapted to fit with modern aesthetics. However, Mid-Century Modern design is on the rise and you can expect to see many more touches of the decade's influence on beauty, fashion, and design in the future.

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1970s Jewelry Trends to Rock the Retro Look