One of the reasons why I thoroughly enjoy seeing the resurgence of all the fashion accessories on Mad Men is this – it reminds me of how my mother dressed during the 60s. I wasn’t old enough then to doll myself up in fancy brooches and earrings, but I sure did love to see my mother looking so attractive and feminine whenever she and Dad would step out for the evening.
I must admit, Mom didn’t wear pearls to houseclean like Donna Reed and June Cleaver did, but she did wear elegant jewelry on special occasions, and would have definitely chosen a beautiful brooch for a special evening out, such as this lovely Corocraft design depicting a large, goldtone leaf with faux pearls.
The History of Brooches
The brooch, named “fibula” by the ancient Greeks and Romans, is perhaps the oldest type of jewelry. As fashions progressed, clothing often needed to be held together for modesty and comfort. In the Bronze Age, the first rough drafts of safety pins arose on the scene. The Byzantines are heralded for their unique brooch designs, and greatly influenced jewelry designers with the production of brightly enameled brooches.
The influence of the early Christian period during the fifth and sixth centuries brought the addition of symbols and inscriptions, which also gave the brooch its ornamental character. Throughout the ages brooch designs have flourished and advanced as metal workers strove to create the most fanciful and attractive pieces, such as this vintage Warner statement butterfly brooch made of blue and green art glass and rhinestones.
Clasp types and brooch styles have changed with the times, but the brooch is still a very popular jewelry accessory. Many women like to collect and wear brooches from earlier eras, since each period had its own favorite designs and themes. The Mad Men women would most likely have worn a brooch similar to this fabulous Trifari pink enamel flamingo with sparkling pink and lavender crystals. Created in the 1990s for sale on QVC, these special Trifari Limited Edition pieces were based on some of their earlier designs dating from the 1940s through the 1960s.
Earrings and Ear Piercing
When the ladies from Mad Men put on their vintage earrings, they probably don’t give any thought to how earrings have evolved over the years. But earrings have a fascinating history.
The oldest earrings archaeologists have discovered were made in Iraq around 2500 BC. During Egyptian, Greek, and Roman times, jewelry was crafted and worn as a sign of status and luxury. Many of the earrings from that era were made with precious metals and gemstones. Over the centuries, the popularity of earrings rose and fell directed by hairstyles and fashions, especially elaborate hair pieces and high collars. Ear piercing was very common until clip on earrings finally made the scene in the 1920s. The popularity of clip earrings continued through the 1960s and they are still popular today.
I think brooches and earrings are here to stay, and, as Martha Stewart would say, “It’s good thing.” Perhaps the next time you pin on a brooch or select a pair of earrings, you’ll be reminded of all the many designers over the centuries who have worked so hard to bring us all the beautiful jewelry imaginable.
More Mad Men Era Brooches and Earrings
If you love 1960s brooches, check out the many vintage brooches listed in my store.
Click to view vintage brooches at My Classic Jewelry Shop:
My Classic Jewelry Shop Vintage Brooches
Click to view vintage earrings at My Classic Jewelry Shop:
My Classic Jewelry Shop Vintage Earrings
Coming Next: Mad Men Era Necklaces and Jewelry Sets
If you can’t wait for the next blog article and want to sneak a peek at more 1960s jewelry, visit the store home page: My Classic Jewelry Shop
Have fun shopping for Mad Men Era jewelry, and thanks for visiting! Christine 🙂
Other Articles in This Series:
1960s Mad Men Era – Bracelets
1960s Mad Men Era – Necklaces and Jewelry Sets