About Mid-Century Jewelry


Mid-Century jewelry burst with all the optimism and opulence of the post-war world, from the fabulous ’50s through the mid-’60s. Yellow gold jewelry stuck around, but gained rich textures, twists, and turns. Big, gemmy ear clips, bib or fringe necklaces, bangles, bracelet watches, and diamond-encrusted wrist huggers were all favorites of this lavish and eclectic period. Matching sets of jewelry made a comeback, and the classically sweet charm bracelet allowed its owner to customize with as many charms as possible.

  • Mid-Century Diamond Bracelet Watch

    Diamond Bracelet Watch

  • French Plique-a-Jour Flower Brooch

    French Plique-a-Jour Flower Brooch

  • Natural Jadeite, Platinum, and Diamond Earrings

    Natural Jadeite, Platinum, and Diamond Earrings

  • Mid-Century Emerald, Diamond, and Platinum Bracelet

    Emerald, Diamond, and Platinum Bracelet

  • Vintage Car Charm Bracelet

    Vintage Car Charm Bracelet

  • Gem Set Doggy Pin

    Gem Set Doggy Pin

Pretty pearls went from day to evening seamlessly, and embodied the new ultra-feminine aesthetic, so much so that a pearl choker is still shorthand for a certain traditional look. The Mid-Century preferred single or double (or more!) matched strands, and all the better if their natural refinement is augmented by a massive bejeweled clasp.

  • Mid-Century Double Strand Cultured Pearl Necklace with Diamond Clasp

    Double Strand Cultured Pearl Necklace with Diamond Clasp

  • Vintage Diamond, Cultured Pearl, and Platinum Bracelet

    Diamond, Cultured Pearl, and Platinum Bracelet

  • Mid-Century Pearl, Platinum, and Diamond Bracelet

    Pearl, Platinum, and Diamond Bracelet

Fun figural and floral motifs only increased in popularity, especially for brooches. These lighthearted creatures keep up the spirit of the period, regardless of subject matter. Flowers, berries, bees, sea creatures, and many other forms of animal and plant life flourished under these new favorable conditions.

  • 18k Gold Fox Pin

    18k Gold Fox Pin

  • Mid-Century Platinum and Diamond Lily Pin

    Platinum and Diamond Lily Pin

  • Star Sapphire and Carved Emerald Brooch

    Star Sapphire and Carved Emerald Brooch

The space race and geopolitics of the “Atomic Age” inspired nearly every aspect of Mid-Century design, and jewelry was no exception. “Sputnik” baubles, starbursts, sunbursts, and other stellar styles touched down on the era’s most stylish wearers.

  • Mid-Century Gemstone “Sputnik” Ring

    Gemstone “Sputnik” Ring

  • Mid-Century Platinum and Diamond Rocket Ship Brooch

    Platinum and Diamond Rocket Ship Brooch

  • Mid-Century Diamond Sunburst Earrings

    Diamond Sunburst Earrings

The Mid-Century era is a sumptuous time for engagement rings, when stunning center stones returned to the scene after the lean war years and took center stage. New brilliant shapes developed near the beginning of the twentieth century—such as the chic marquise—rose to stardom in this era, though not to the exclusion of classic round brilliants and ever-elegant emerald cuts!

  • 3.18 Carat Emerald-Cut Diamond Ring

    Emerald-Cut Diamond Ring

  • 2.07 Carat Marquise Diamond Engagement Ring

    Marquise Diamond Engagement Ring

  • 1.26 Carat Center Vintage Diamond Wedding Set

    Diamond Wedding Set

Nor were piles of diamonds reserved for engagement rings only. What pairs perfectly with a signature Mid-Century cocktail…? A splashy diamond cocktail ring, of course! Taken straight or with a colored-stone chaser, they never run dry and are guaranteed hangover-free.

  • Mid-Century Double Pear Shape Diamond Cocktail Ring

    Double Pear Shape Diamond Cocktail Ring

  • 1950s Diamond Bow Motif Cocktail Ring

    Diamond Bow Motif Cocktail Ring

  • Fancy Platinum and Diamond Cocktail Ring

    Fancy Platinum and Diamond Cocktail Ring

  • 1.97 Carat Marquise Diamond Mid-Century Ring

    Marquise Diamond Mid-Century Ring

  • Large Scale Yellow Sapphire and Diamond Cocktail Ring

    Yellow Sapphire and Diamond Cocktail Ring

  • Baguette Diamond Cocktail Ring

    Baguette Diamond Cocktail Ring

In contrast to all this opulence, a growing movement of studio jewelry in the Mid-Century Modern style took inspiration from the pre-war European avant-garde. These pieces of “wearable art” foreshadowed the countercultural movements of the late 1960s and a reaction against conspicuous displays of wealth and luxury.

  • Mid-Century Modern Emerald and Diamond Ring

    Emerald and Diamond Ring

  • Mid-Century Modern Aquamarine and Diamond Brooch

    Aquamarine and Diamond Brooch

Learn more about the lavish splendor of the fabulous ’50s and the influences behind it on our sister site, Antique Jewelry University.