During the 1960s, jewellery and watches changed in fascinating and iconic ways. Whether it was Liz Taylor covered in waterfalls of diamonds or a Haight-Ashbury hippie adorned in hundreds of coloured beads, the fashions were memorable and they often hold up well today.
Here’s what was hot in the 60s and what is warming up again for spring fashion in 2016.
Necklaces in the 1960s
Before the 1960s, most jewellery fell pretty comfortably into just a few styles, but in the 60s that all changed. The industry exploded with a wide variety of styles – glass, crystal and plastic beads were all the rage, but chunky chain necklaces were also very popular.
And, of course, Jackie Kennedy was rarely seen without pearls adorning her neck.
During the 1960s, jewellery took on a very bold look and beads were all the rage. This was influenced largely by imports from Asia.
Hong Kong necklaces featured lightweight acrylic beads, while Japanese necklaces were usually glass or a combination of glass and plastic. Colourful bead necklaces would often be worn for work or play, while those featuring precious stones or crystal fringes would be saved for special occasions.
Another jewellery trend that arose in the 60s was matching sets of jewellery called parures. A full parure, or three-piece set, usually included a matching necklace, bracelet, and earrings. Demi-parures are two matching pieces, such as a necklace with earrings or bracelet with earrings. A grand parure is four matching pieces and usually includes a necklace, bracelet, earrings, and a brooch or a ring.
Watches – Jewellery for Men
The 60s seems like a free and wild time from our perspective, but men’s fashions still remained quite conservative. ‘Respectable’ men in the 60s definitely didn’t wear jewellery – except, of course, for their watches.
The First Watch on the Moon
Omega watches were iconic before the 1960s, but being Buzz Aldrin’s preferred timepiece is enough to give even an already legendary company extra cache!
When he stepped out of the Apollo 11 space shuttle, becoming the second human being to ever set foot on the moon, his Omega Speedmaster Professional – a cousin of this Speedmaster Mark V – became the first watch on the moon! In fact, Neil Armstrong had the same watch, but his was left on board Apollo 11.
The Speedmaster Professional is one of just a handful of watches certified by NASA for space travel and it remains the only watch ever certified for use outside a spacecraft. In case that isn’t enough to convince you of Omega’s pedigree, John F. Kennedy was famously never seen without his Omega “Ultra Thin” wristwatch – the sleek black younger brother of this 1970s Omega watch.
More Iconic Watches of the 60s
Another popular watch in the 1960s was the Memovox, created by French makers Jaeger-LeCoultre in 1956. This was the first watch to ever feature an alarm function – ‘memovox’ literally means ‘the voice of memory’.
Tudor watches were also very popular. They were marketed as an affordable – but very high quality – alternative to brands like Rolex. The Tudor style can be worn today with vintage pieces or heritage-style modern creations, such as this 2016 Tudor Submariner.
For a closer look at this 60s retrospective, look no further than spring fashion in 2016. From the bold to the timeless, we expect many 1960s fashions to be on display. Find the perfect vintage jewellery and luxury watches at Harrington & Co – Brisbane’s luxury vintage specialists.
Explore our range online and contact us by phone or email for more information.