As we move toward bigger, statement jewelry in 2023, there are clear nods to our favorite ‘70s themes. You could say the jewelry is aligned with the latest fashion, which is true, but fabulous diamond jewels have never been just about trends. These stylish new pieces are timely—and timeless. When the fashion whims move on, the diamond hoops and signature pendants will stay relevant.
That brings us back to the here and now. Ask almost any stylist, and they will declare the ‘70s as their favorite era. “I always gravitate towards the 70s,” says stylist Elissa Santisi, who is a longtime champion of the ‘70s look. “It was a glamorous time, it was androgynous…men dressed like women and women dressed like men, there was sleek minimalism and bold, personal statements, there was a sleezy side and sexy and chic side.” Her favorite style icons of the era included Bianca Jager, Charlotte Rampling and David Bowie. And their expressive style is so relevant again right now.
Jewelry designers are embracing the strong ‘70s vibe, but let’s be clear, this isn’t a repeat. It’s a reference to the era’s defining jewels. Its influence is in minimalist, genderless designs, sexy torque collars and layers of long pendant necklaces. It’s in statement brooches and chunky cocktail rings, glitzy diamond hoops and long drop earrings. It’s in symbolic astrological signs, hearts and butterflies and pops of enamel color.
“That ‘70s feel is back and it filters into my psyche when I’m designing,” says Paul Morelli, who began designing his eponymous jewelry in the mid-’70s. That spirit comes to life in his ‘ultimate hoop’ earring. “It’s a big, well-engineered diamond hoop that is angled the right way and looks great on.” New bolder and heavier diamond necklaces with what he describes as having a “glam rock feel” also echoes the ‘70s vibe.
The ‘70s style conjures up images of caftan dresses with long bold pendants and denim shirts unbuttoned to reveal layers of necklaces, says Jennifer Alfano, a jewelry designer who also has the fashion blog Flare Index. “There was a simplicity and streamlined style of dressing in the ‘70s that I’m drawn to,” she says. Her new J case in gold with diamonds is a “love letter” to that era: it’s a large, hinged case that opens to reveal inscribed words or a drawing. And, she says it’s perfect over a caftan (or really anything).
It’s not that designers are nostalgic about the ‘70s, they are more empowered by it. As Marion Fasel, founder of The Adventurine explains, “It was a time when women started heading to the office in the masses, so jewelers had to change and create everyday work designs.”
She points to Van Cleef & Arpels’ Alhambra, Bulgari’s Monete (coins), long swinging necklaces and everyday diamonds (especially diamond stud earrings), as the new everyday jewels. Today, we are seeing new variations of these ‘70s styles.
The ‘70s style reminds us that one great statement piece (or layers of jewelry) is all you need to express your style, mood and independence.