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1970s Jewelry

The 70s was a great decade for accessories.

Just like the clothes of the era, the 1970s accessories were generally eye-catching, ranging from small and delicate to big and bold.

Jewelry was no exception, especially popular costume jewelry of the decade. 1970s jewelry – especially that which was worn by younger folks – wasn’t expensive but it certainly did stand out.

In the early part of the decade, women were wearing peasant shirts and other similar casual, free-flowing, gauzy shirts.

With these tops, many women wore choker necklaces, which were often made of a thin black (or other color) velvet strip of ribbon, adorned with a cameo or some other sort of icon, perhaps a peace symbol. Those who enjoyed making macramé creations also fashioned choker necklaces to wear with their favorite outfit.

Also popular in necklaces was silver and turquoise pieces. These had a Southwestern look about them, reminiscent of Native American pieces. Turquoise rings and brooches were also popular.

Other Native American-style jewelry pieces included inexpensive necklaces made of tiny beads and featuring some sort of Native American symbol.

Popular 1970s jewelry also included puka shell necklaces. Reminiscent of necklaces worn in Hawaii and other tropical islands, the puka shell necklace came in a gazillion different colors and usually had earrings to match.

Puka shells had naturally occurring holes in the center, making them easy to string and giving the jewelry pieces a natural, uneven look.

In the realm of rings, there were two styles that were quite popular. The mood ring, which became popular in the middle of the decade, was a sort of liquid crystal thermometer that changed according to the wearer’s body heat.

Everyone thought it was magic! The first ones marketed to the public were actually quite expensive, but later you could buy them for just a few dollars.

Also popular were puzzle rings – rings that consisted of three or four bands that fit together in an intricate pattern. It was fun to take these rings apart and try to put them together again.

Types of these rings ranged from cheap costume jewelry to wedding rings with diamonds. They could be quite frustrating to put back together, though they usually came with instructions.

I.D. (identification) bracelets were also all the rage in the 70s. These could be worn by either men or women and usually included the name of the wearer and/or some sort of other personal information.

Another kind of I.D. bracelet – the POW or MIA bracelet – was very important to the young people of the decade. These bracelets bore the name of a Vietnam War soldier who was thought to be a Prisoner of War or Missing in Action.

Young adults all around the country ordered one of these bracelets, hoping the person on their wrist would eventually come home.

Other popular 1970s jewelry included Italian “horn” necklaces, charm bracelets, watches with very wide leather bands (often interchangeable), and anything made with blue star sapphires.