Retro Period (1935 - 1949)
During the Retro Period, the use of platinum for engagement rings, fashion rings, pendants and brooches became less popular as this metal was needed for the war effort. When jewelry was created, it was exaggerated in size and style. You would often find jewelry produced in yellow, rose or green gold highlighted with synthetic rubies. The use of aquamarine, sapphires in all colors, citrine and amethysts with diamond accents were favored.
Bold, oversized gold jewelry had made a comeback with large gemstones and cocktail rings. Once again, sapphires in pastel colors with diamonds were used in designs of big bows, ribbons, birds, scrolls and fans. Baskets of flowers were patterned into brooches. Vintage brooches of flags, eagles and the military were popular as well. Post earrings were worn instead of dangles. Mesh bracelets and large charm bracelets were also in vogue.
Costume or fashion jewelry from the Retro Period was highly popular and was generally made of base metal instead of gold, synthetic gems, plastic and believe it or not, glass. The French jeweler Mouboussin, Cartier producing animal jewelry and Van Cleef and Arpels were well known then. The important people of the time were the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Retro means to go back as it describes the past instead of advancement to the future. World War II was in full swing as was the Great Depression.
Hollywood glamour was at its peak and movies were viewed to avoid thoughts of the war. During World War II, eight navy artists were sent to war to document their thoughts of the conflict. That small group created 1300 drawings, watercolors and paintings. After the Retro Period ended, jewelry was melted down which wiped out much of the history of that magnificent era, but jewelry from that time is still collectable and highly sought after today.