Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Choosing Jewelry for Your 1920s Wedding

The choice of jewelry is important for any bride, but especially if you are planning a 1920s theme wedding. Your dress and accessories and your decorations all come together to create the feeling of a Roaring Twenties wedding, and jewelry is one of the more important pieces of the puzzle.

Like everything else in the 1920s, jewelry was bold and flashy — but it wasn't necessarily real. This was the period when costume jewelry became popular. During the Art Nouveau period, which started shortly before the end of the Victorian Era and ended in the early 1900s, the focus on jewelry shifted from value to aesthetics. But while the lines of Art Nouveau jewelry tended to be flowing, Art Deco jewelry favored geometric designs and flashy rhinestones or paste (cut glass) jewels.

When people think of flapper jewelry, they typically think of long strings of beads, such as pearls. And while it's true that a lot of flappers did wear long beaded necklaces to accentuate their flattened chests and boyish figures, don't make the mistake of thinking this is the only thing you can do with your jewelry. Here are some ideas for flapper wedding jewelry.

* Look for vintage costume jewelry with rich tones and geometric designs. You can check some books out from the library on vintage jewelry to help you learn to identify Art Deco jewelry, but in general, pieces were flashy, designs tended to be geometric, and richly colored fake jewels (red, blue, green) were popular. Marcasite — jewelry encrusted with numerous small, faceted stones of fool's gold — was also popular during this time. For instance, these marcasite earrings are very Art Deco in style, and would look great with an upswept hairdo.

* Wear a long string of pearls. Depending on the length of the necklace, wrap it once or twice to create loops of varying lengths around your neck. This style works best with a fairly plain, straight bodice and the typical dropped waist of the 1920s.

* Wear a cocktail ring. Cocktail rings, being large and rather showy, were of course popular in the 1920s. A cocktail ring typically has a large (3 to 5 carat) stone, although vintage ones will most likely be paste (fake stones). Although a cocktail ring is intended to look showy, choosing a ring with colored stones will help ensure it won't be competing against your wedding ring.

* Repurpose vintage accessories. One of the most exciting parts about choosing wedding jewelry for your 1920s wedding is coming up with different ways to wear vintage jewelry. For example, a marcasite brooch can be pinned into your hair with bobby pins to accessorize your wedding hair style, while a shoe clip or dress clip can be clipped onto a long necklace to be worn as a pendant.

* Improvise with modern jewelry in Art Deco-inspired styles. Don't worry if you can't find the right vintage jewelry for your wedding. It is easy to find Art Deco-inspired styles in modern jewelry. For instance, the cocktail ring — which was so popular during Prohibition — is now becoming popular again.

* Don't feel like your wedding rings HAVE to be 1920s. When I got married, my wedding set was from the 1960s, not the 1920s, but I highly doubt anyone noticed. If you want a 1920s-style wedding ring, fine, but don't feel you have to! There will be so much else to set the proper mood that no one is going to notice if your wedding rings aren't period. Besides, wedding rings styles haven't changed much since the 1920s — as you can see by browsing modern solitaire engagement rings.

Choosing your wedding jewelry for a 1920s wedding can be a lot of fun. Once you have found your dress, I suggest haunting thrift stores, antique jewelry stores, and flea markets, keeping your eyes peeled for vintage jewelry. eBay and Etsy also make great resources, and of course, don't forget that there are some great reproductions and vintage-styled jewelry available new as well!

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