When dressing rooms smelled like Aquanet and nothing could be big enough, the 80s fashion characterized a time when “more” just didn’t feel like enough. More needed more. More blue eye shadow, more hair height, and more jewelry.
It only makes sense then that 80s jewelry needed volume. After all, it had to stand out amongst the parachute pants, shoulder pads, and hurricane-proof-standing-on-its-roots hair. It brought in the advent of big jewelry unlike decades past.
Read on to learn about diamonds, other gems, big chains, and all the fun 80s jewelry trends (or just to relive the big, bold decade of fashion).
Earrings were big.
Like everything else you will read about in this piece, the earrings took up some space. You didn’t want anything to get lost in that big hair, after all.
Nothing shines or weighs quite like precious metals. That made gold both appealing and a problem.
Enter costume jewelry and clip-on earrings. Big hoop earrings took up space on lobes in the 80s. And because precious metals weighed so much, clip-on earrings entered the 80s jewelry trends.
Like earrings, they also needed to stand out. Necklaces competed with those massive shoulder pads and brightly colored clothes.
Gone were the tidy chains and simple pendants of the 70s. 80s fashion icons liked their heavy gold chains (think Mr. T.) and long, beaded necklaces neatly tied in a knot (think Molly Ringwald).
Bigger, longer, chunkier, and more of anything categorized the 80s necklace.
So picture big chains with big gems. And yes, costume jewelry worked well for those who couldn’t afford the real deal. But those who found their financial groove in the 80s flashed some pretty big diamonds and other precious stones.
Younger fashionistas found their love set on the plastic charm necklaces with matching bracelets or the inexpensive slap bracelet that needed just a firm smack to the wrist to adhere to the wearer.
Pinky rings belonged to the mafia. But not everyone was a Corleone associate.
Average 80s jewelry lovers stuck with the big gems on a single band. Picture the big single-set diamond held with four neat prongs and anchoring down a gold band.
Rings had to compete with their big bracelet complements farther up the arm. So the simple band with the big (and sometimes fake) diamond did the job. Those who took their time to learn about diamonds would sport the glass-cutting gems regularly.
Bracelets were big and plentiful.
More than any of the pieces of 80s jewelry, bracelets took up the most real estate. Fashion icons loved wearing countless spangle bracelets.
Younger fashion lovers and icon-wannabes found their love in the less expensive plastic charm bracelets, chunky plastic bangle bracelets, and Goomie bracelets.
Bracelets, unlike the other pieces of jewelry, also allowed 80s kids to show their love for their friends with woven friendship bracelets and the iconic BFF charm bracelets.
The cameo of the 19th century made a comeback to a degree, but like all of the other jewelry of the 1980s, the brooch needed volume. So a big, fake diamond surrounded by a neat gold trim worked just fine.
Bigger, Bolder, Better
In short, volume, color, and general loudness characterized 80s jewelry.
Check out some of our selections to find some of the iconic 80s jewelry mentioned in this article.