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Looking back for inspiration - trends in jewellery

Elizabeth Mathew July 24 | Updated on July 23, 2013

Sonam Kapoor sporting a traditional Indian nose ring

Traditional Indian hathphool







Head piece from Manish Arora's collection for Amrapali

Art deco style jewellery from Tiffany & Co.

Art Deco jewellery from Tiffany & Co.

Jewellery created for The Great Gatsby from Tiffany & Co.


Art Deco jewellery from Tiffany & Co.

Art Deco jewellery trend has been revived by the popularity of movies like The Great Gatsby

With vintage coming back in trend, read on to find out why antique, art deco and traditional jewellery is finding its way into modern day fashion.

The art of accessorising is vital to fashion and what accessory takes centre stage over jewellery? The most essential way to make or break an outfit, choosing the right jewellery is essential but sticking to safe options may not always work in your favour. Catch up on what’s in style in jewellery to make sure your look stay up to date with the trend.

Fashion’s new obsession is, no surprises here, with all things vintage. From detachable lace collars to brocade and velvet, what was indisputably in fashion decades ago has found favour with fashionistas once again. And the trend has hit the jewellery scene as well, so before you decide that ‘old is gold’ is the mantra for the season, read on about what vintage and antique styles are making headlines today.

Art Deco Inspiration

We all know the three Rs that dictate trends in the fashion world – red carpets, runways and real life – and all three seem to be looking back in time for inspiration, since one of the biggest trends in jewellery is definitely vintage-inspired or antique pieces.

While antique jewellery can refer to anything that’s dated, inherited or from a bygone era, vintage refers specifically to the jewellery that was popular during the 1920s and 1930s. The era of flapper girls and jazz, tassels and headbands ruled the scene, as women defied norms to hike up hemlines and show off their figures – the decade that heralded women’s liberation, in a way, also set a trend for jewellery referred to as Art Deco. Inspired by geometric designs and bold colours, the designs of the period are famous for their use of diamonds along with coloured gemstones and the classic black and white designs – teaming black onyx with white diamonds in patterns – were immortalized during this era. The glitzy and light-hearted feel of the era was reflected in the jewellery designs, making it memorable, and it’s the same patterns that are back in vogue right now. The release of The Great Gatsby and the 1920s era recreated in the movie could certainly have contributed to the surge in popularity of the era’s designs – images of a gorgeous Carey Mulligan carrying off diamond encrusted headbands and tassel earrings have certainly made an impact.

Strings of pearls, tassel-ended sautoirs, diamond encrusted watch straps, brooches and dress clips – all these pieces are classic examples of art deco that have slowly and seamlessly found their way into the millennial girl’s jewellery box. No surprise then that the auctions of vintage jewellery at Sothebys and Christies were one of the most awaited events and even brands like Tiffany & Co. have released art deco themed lines. Clearly, jewellery from the Roaring Twenties is back with a bang.

Old school baubles

Antique jewellery is another trend that seems to be gaining popularity, and though the terms ‘vintage’ and ‘antique’ are used interchangeably often, they are actually quite different. While vintage refers to jewellery from the the 1920s and later, antique refers to jewellery that is more than a 100 years old.

If you’re wondering how anyone can afford antiques, unless they are inherited, don’t worry – the trend is simply jewellery that is inspired by antique pieces. A great way to get into this trend is to dig into your grandmother’s collection, and if you’re lucky you’ll find some classic pieces that can easily be incorporated into a modern look.

From cameo brooches and diamond pins to signet rings and lockets – any of these antique pieces are as much in trend today as they were at the time of their making. When it comes to Indian jewellery as well, the classic polki and jadau styles – originally worn for weddings and mostly popular with royalty – are all coming back in style.

The Quirk Factor

Another jewellery trend that seems to be gaining momentum is wearing unusual and quirky pieces that you wouldn’t normally wear. Carey Mulligan can be credited with bringing the headpiece back into fashion – the diamond and pearl Tiffany piece she sports in The Great Gatsby posters are clearly inspiring divas everywhere. If you have secretly yearned to wear a tiara or a headband but hesitated (after all, they are traditionally worn only at weddings) this may be the perfect time to indulge yourself.

But you don’t need to look that far west for inspiration, our very own Sonam Kapoor and Vidya Balan rocked a traditional oversized Indian nose ring – or nath as it is locally known - at the Cannes Film Festival red carpet this year. They may have teamed with more traditional outfits, but that shouldn’t stop you from experimenting – a quirky nose ring could go great with a dress or a tunic.

Even other traditional bridal ornaments like the haathphool - a piece of jewellery that combines a bracelet and ring, and is generally worn on the back of the hand – are becoming statement pieces of a new kind. The classic Indian bajubandh or jewelled armbands are increasingly becoming popular and the classic waistband – once worn worn by brides and royalty, are today shown off on toned abs over a pair of jeans!

The classic maang tika too has gotten a new lease of life after everyone from Victoria Beckham on the cover of Vogue to Alicia Keys sported this piece of forehead bling, teaming it with a dress and even a pantsuit! Clearly Indian jewellery is going unexpected places! If you want to push the envelope, try a jhumar that falls to one side instead of the maang tika at the centre parting, and team it with a dressy silk top and skip all other jewellery – be prepared to have all eyes on you though!

The traditional jadau or polki head ornaments may be too heavy to carry off in the daytime, but that’s where Manish Arora’s tribal collection for Amrapali comes through. A bit on the wild side, his tiger-motif head piece and spiky ear cuffs are the perfect additions to jazz up even the most demure outfits.

Dig into your grandmom’s jewellery box, go thrift shopping at some vintage stores or try your luck at an auction for antiques – whatever means to get in to the jewellery trend that’s making waves!


Published on July 23, 2013

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