fashion for women included jewelry - lots of jewelry. One such trend for
women and girls was the Add a Bead necklace. It is actually one of the
nicer (or should we say enduringly tasteful) trends of the 80s and
continues to a much lesser extent today.
Add a Bead necklaces came in several different forms. They were most
popular in the early 80s and were favored by the slightly preppier
crowd, owing in part to their understated flare. Add a Bead necklaces
began with a gold chain in the length and thickness desired. You then
built on the necklace by—you guessed it—adding on additional beads one
at a time. Most people preferred the traditional gold bead, but pearl,
gemstone beads were also available. Add a Beads were used to honor and
celebrate many occasions. For example, it made a great anniversary gift.
Husbands could give the necklace with the corresponding number of beads
to years married. Each year, a new bead would be added on to the
Add a Beads could be given as gifts for birthdays, anniversaries, years
taught, years worked, years volunteered, children taught, years sober and
so forth. It was meant to be built upon year after year. It was often
proudly displayed and a great topic of conversation.
|This look-a-like for Julie from
Valley Girl (photo at left)
must have really been loved in the 80s
because she got not just one, but two add-a-beads!
From a marketing standpoint, it was genius. Give the consumer something
that 1 – needed to be built upon every year. It was guaranteed income
every year unless the buyer sluffed off and forget to purchase a new bead
for the new year. 2 – It was a surefire gift every year and the gift giver
didn’t need to come up with any original ideas.
The repetitiveness is what may have caused the trend to slow down a
little. Women got tired of getting only a bead for the necklace every year
at anniversary time. The necklace was one of the few things not caught up
in neon, camo, or extra large in size. The necklaces were dainty and very
pretty. They showed sentiment behind them and were a great gift. Even
though the trend has slowed down, beads are still available in some