Bygone Jewelry Fashions That Need to Make A Comeback

Dress clips

Dress clips made their debut in the 1920’s, as costume jewelry began in to rise in popularity. No longer were opulent pieces exclusive to the wealthy. Jewelry designers now had the opportunity to design pieces that were bold, innovative, and unusual. Dress clips were designed as ornamentation for a dress or fur coat, particularly to highlight a striking design feature such as a flattering neckline or lapel. They were designed as a single clip or as a matching set. Some pairs were even designed as a “duette,” where the two pieces could connect to form a brooch.

Some fun ways to wear dress clips:

  • Wear in the corners of a square neckline
  • Wear two on the same side of the a v-neckline
  • Dangle from a velvet ribbon to make a statement necklace


Above: Olivia Palermo styles her dress clips with three very different, modern-casual outfits.


Sweater guards

Sweater guards (a.k.a. Sweater Clips) are the perfect accessory to compliment your favorite cardigan sweater. A cousin of the aforementioned dress clips, sweater guards are designed as a pair of two clips attached by a decorative chain. They are both functional and fashionable. They keep your sweater placed securely on your shoulders, yet, dress up an otherwise plain sweater by adding some visual interest.

These beauties are actually experiencing a resurgence in popularity due to sellers on eBay and Etsy . You can find a wide selection of sweater guards on both sites, with some authentic vintage pieces as well as replicas.



Cameos are often regarded as the ubiquitous piece of vintage or estate jewelry. You would be hard-pressed NOT to find one in any jewelry store’s estate jewelry collection. Amazingly, these intricate shell cravings have been around for thousands of years starting with the early Greeks and Romans. Cameos were used throughout history to depict Biblical, mythological, and historical figures. In fact, the modern notion of a woman’s silhouette carved into the shell did not become popular until Queen Victoria’s time.

While cameos are the perfect reflection of older times, how do they fit into the modern style scene?

Some fun ways to wear cameos:

  • As a pendant on a chain. Some cameos are actually designed with this in mind; the inclusion of a hidden bail that flips up makes this possible.
  • Adorn your favorite hat or scarf with a cameo, like the singer Rhianna.


  • Pocket Watches

    The predecessor to the modern wristwatch, the pocket watch, was first developed in 16th century Europe by a German master locksmith named Peter Henlein. They were designed to be transitional in size between clocks and watches. For the remainder of the 16th century, style trends evolved from round pendant shaped to more unusual ones, including books, fruit, animals, and even skulls! For the 17th century, gents’ pocket watches shifted to being carried in a pocket rather than being worn as a pendant. Ladies’ watches remained styled as a pendant well into the 20th century.

    The 20th century saw the rise of the modern wrist watch as we know it today. Wearing a pocket watch was no longer en vogue for neither women nor men. Despite a slight resurgence during the 1970s and in recent years (due to the popularity of the Steampunk movement), they have never really made a lasting comeback.

    How does an old-fashioned time telling device find its way among modern marvels like smartphones and smartwatches? A monogrammed pocket watch would make for a very romantic gift from a bride to her groom. The possibilities are endless.

    Some fun ways to a pocketwatch:

    • Wear an engraved pocket watch as a stylish pendant
    • Embellish a skirt by wearing the watch from belt loops


    Did you know?

    Early pocket watches were designed with only the hour hand. The minute hand did not appear later until the 17th century.


  • Seed Pearls

    Pearls have stood the test of time, much like diamonds, as classic and always fashionable gemstones. All women, both young and old, can easily incorporate pearls into their jewelry wardrobe. Most people are used to seeing medium to large-sized pearls incorporated into to the design of their favorite piece. Only few may be aware that tiny pearls were once used to embellish a piece as freely as diamonds are today. These small natural stones were known as seed pearls and peaked in popularity during the Victorian Era.

    The majority of the seed pearl jewelry in the market today dates back to the late 19th century. We propose that they should make a comeback in a big way. Seed pearls add dimension to a piece in a way that diamonds just cannot. They make a great accent for unusually cut gemstones, drawing the focus to stone rather than adding tons of unnecessary sparkle.

    Seed pearl jewelry should be given the same care as other, perhaps more traditional pieces of pearl jewelry. Care should be take when cleaning pearl jewelry; exposure to harsh chemicals should be limited. When in doubt, bring your pearl jewelry to an established jeweler who will know just the right way to keep your pearls in great shape.