Trademark of the 1940s

Influences on design

  • Rise of the cocktail party

  • More women earning and buying for themselves

  • A new appreciation of machines and mechanical elements

  • Streamlined fashions-padded shoulders, wide lapels, straight skirts


  • A new emphasis on polished gold, the result of restrictions on platinum

  • Fewer precious stones, more semiprecious, synthetics, and paste

  • Palladium-used occasionally in place of platinum but harder to work, tarnished easily, and fell out of favor after the war


  • Double clip brooches

  • Flexible bracelets, cuffs with buckle clasps, bracelet watches

  • Cocktail rings

  • Short, tight necklaces


  • Stars, fans, knots, ribbons, bows, scrolls, volutes

  • Patriotic-flags, jeeps, Uncle Sam, stars, military insignia

  • Nature-animals, flowers, insects

  • Architectural-brickwork, clean geometry

  • Ballerinas, popularized by John Rubel & Co.

Wartime Innovations

  • Hexagon and scale patterns in gold from Van Cleef & Arpels

  • Expanded use of invisible settings, started by Van Cleef & Arpels in the thirties

  • Convertible and flexible jewelry

  • Slide and zipper necklaces

  • Innovative clasps, hinges, buckles and other hardware

Late-1940s trends

  • Return of platinum

  • More flower motifs, inspired by Christian Dior