Changes of fashion are not always easy to spot. I don’t mean changes that are announced every season by Fashion magazines and their ilk. You know the ones, they are announced to great fanfare but are more to do with filling column inches rather than reporting on something fundamental, that is actually happening, in real life.
Most jewellery, whether we think of engagement rings or earrings or costume jewellery seems to have been silver coloured for a long long time. Close your eyes and think of an engagement ring. What colour is the shank? I bet it’s platinum or white gold.
The fashion for metals in different colours probably started as soon as it became possible to use all the metals we use today. It wasn’t until the 1920s that platinum began to be used in jewellery. It hadn’t been previously possible as the hard white metal needs a much higher temperature to melt it than gold. Once jewellery could be made out of platinum - it was!
Platinum fever was halted abruptly at the outbreak of WW2 when the metal was banned for non-military uses. There followed a long period of yellow gold use. Think of 1940s jewellery and it’s probably gold. The 1950s heralded a return to the silver colour of white gold. The longest period of predominantly yellow coloured jewellery lasted from the mid sixties until the early 90s. If you’re old like me, you’ll remember when everything was yellow!
From the early/mid nineties everything became white, as if a layer of fresh snow had enveloped the world of jewellery. With occasional exceptions most items that most people bought until relatively recently were white coloured. Yellow gold looked a little tired for so long!
Something has changed. Whilst yellow gold was always available it played second fiddle to white gold for what seemed like an eternity. We would notice that white gold Bulgari B.Zero rings would sell faster than yellow, the same for Cartier Love rings. With the advent of new ranges – specifically the Tiffany T and Diva by Bulgari we can view yellow gold with fresh eyes. We truly like what we see! Suddenly yellow gold looks modern and clean and sophisticated. Our vintage 1980s and 1990s yellow gold items are looking less vintage and more current. It’s as if the sun has finally come out!