#RocksMyWorld: 1970s Jewels That Have Been Best-Sellers Since The Disco Days
In this #RocksMyWorld feature, InStyle’s jewelry and watch editor Marion Fasel shares the inside scoop on the treasures that are on her radar. Follow Fasel on Instagram (@marionfasel) to see more gems that rock her world.
Seventies styles have swung back into fashion with all the verve of Saturday Night Fever and a driving four-on-the-floor beat. There are suede skirts, wide-leg pants, jumpsuits, platform shoes and maxi dresses galore. Of course you will need the right jewels to accessorize these looks. The good news is you may already have them in your wardrobe. If you don’t, consider an addition. The investment pieces here have withstood the test of time. Each is over 40-years-old and going strong.
Cartier, Tiffany, Van Cleef & Arpels and Bulgari all established modern signature styles in the disco days. Women were joining the workforce in record numbers and they wanted daytime jewels to finish off their ensembles. The demand caused a big change in the inventory for these houses that had become famous for dazzling diamonds and jaw-dropping masterpieces. Suddenly they were delivering gold and even silver jewels without precious gems, which could be worn from the office to out on the town.
VAN CLEEF & ARPELS Vintage Alhambra Long Necklace with 20 Motifs, $16,800
Van Cleef & Arpels came up with the Alhambra chain punctuated by clover motifs in 1968, but it was popularized in the seventies. The easy to toss on and carry off necklace was (and still is) made all in gold or set with opaque semi-precious stones. Back in day it was paired with pullover sweaters and tie-neck blouses by French singer Francoise Hardy (photographed above in 1973), actress Romy Schneider and Grace Kelly.
CARTIER Love Bracelet $6,600
Cartier designer Aldo Cipullo created the instantly iconic gold Love Bracelet in 1969. “I was searching for a permanent symbol of love,” is how Cipullo described the initial inspiration. When the designer had insomnia after a relationship ended, the idea occurred to him: “It was 3 o’clock in the morning, I was feeling very sad and I wanted something nobody could take away from me.” Boldly punctuated with a minimalist screwhead pattern, the narrow gold oval unisex bracelet comes with a small screwdriver used to attach the two parts of the piece around the recipient’s wrist permanently. The fixed token of affection was far more modern than a heart motif and much more of a commitment than a wedding band. “When it’s on, it’s on,” Cipullo succinctly stated. The Love bracelet has been wildly popular from the moment it launched. Serious jewelry collectors Elizabeth Taylor and the Duchess of Windsor were among the first to wear one. Actress Ali MacGraw showed how sexy the design could be when she wore only her Love bracelet during a shower scene in the 1971 film The Getaway co-starring her future husband Steve McQueen.
CARTIER Juste un Clou, $7,200
Cartier and Cipullo followed up the hardware-inspired Love bracelet with a wraparound gold nail bracelet in 1971. The edgier piece in the collection has gained a huge new audience since Cartier began recreating it in 2012. Karlie Kloss, Kim Kardashian and Kristen Stewart are just a few of the women who regularly sport their Juste un Clou jewels.
ELSA PERETTI Silver Bone Cuff, $1,150
Tiffany handled the rapidly changing jewelry tastes in the 1970s by hiring one of the most talented designers of the period, Elsa Peretti. A master minimalist, Peretti’s work had first appeared on the runway of her friend Halston. When it landed on the Tiffany selling floor in 1974, two thousand people showed up for the launch party. Peretti told People magazine at the time, "I design for the working girl." Among her many signatures the Bone cuff is perhaps the most well known. She wore several versions of it in photos during the era (seen below) and so did Liza Minnelli.
The three Bulgari brothers—Nicola, Gianni, Paolo—were all in their thirties when they were running the family firm in the 1970s. And their relative youth was reflected in their fresh approach to design. “We want to do important things casually so they’re not just worn for special occasions,” explained Gianni in 1970. The Italian jeweler’s Monete Collection of cool chain necklaces set with ancient coins epitomized this idea. Many of the designs, such as the choker length necklace, have proved to be so perfectly suited for contemporary fashion that they have been made with little variation since the time they were conceived. Candice Bergen and Goldie Hawn were among the first of countless celebrities to have worn the style.
BULGARI Monete Antiche 18K Gold with Coin, price upon request