After World War II and with the prospect of peace, prosperity and security all aspects of popular culture changed. Industry and economic growth gave rise to rapidly increasing wealth amongst the middle and upper classes and they wanted to display their prosperity by wearing showy and glamorous jewellery. It was the new consumer driven society.
The 1950’s culture and society had many influences: the beginning of “pop” music; movies, with the very definition of glamour embodied in the Hollywood stars; and the new window on the world in the home - television. The relationship between show-business celebrities and fashion was born.
Christian Dior introduced the “New Look” into fashion, making clothes very feminine after the austere clothes of the war years. Christian Dior in collaboration with Swarovski created the Aurora Borealis stone. A polychrome metallic coating gave this stone a rainbow iridescent quality. The stones were used in many different designs of jewellery including brooches, earrings, necklaces and extravagant complete sets called parures.
The trend for matching pieces or parures became very popular comprising suites of bracelets, brooches, earrings, necklaces and rings. Animals, stars, butterflies, bees, leaves, flowers and snowflake designs were fashioned into sparkling gemstone pieces using faux and real stones. The large jewellery houses followed these trends.
Cultured pearl production enabled many women to own a pearl necklace, often with matching earrings, for the first time. Cameos became very popular and were made from a range of materials including glass, shell, precious stones and, the new wonder material of the age, plastic.