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During the 1940s London suffered the blows of the Second World War. The capital was heavily bombed during the the Battle of Britain and the Blitz of 1940-41, allegedly 50000 explosive bombs and millions of incendiaries fell. Over 20,000 Londoners lost their lives and a million buildings were ruined or damaged during the attacks that followed.
The attacks took place between September 1940 to May 1941, with 57 unbroken days and nights of bombings. Londoners sheltered in underground stations, railway arches or even in their cellar. Anything to escape the shower of shrapnel laying waste to the city.
War ended in 1945 and from the wreckage a palpable sense of optimism emerged as plans were made to resurrect London as a welfare state. The rebuild resulted in a rise in employment as migrant workers flocked in from mainland Europe. The opening of Heathrow in 1946 led to another boom in employment.
After 12 years war the Olympic Games were hosted in London in 1948 and were symbolic of the city’s recovery. Known as the Austerity Games; resourceful Londoners united to stage the Games, housing athletes in existing accommodation as the economy slowly gained momentum but could not subsidize a Beijing style Games!
In 1947 Princess Elizabeth married Prince Philip of Greece. It was a memorable state occasion; the marriage of the young Royal couple was the highlight of a tempestuous decade in London.

Retro jewellery is big, bold and beautiful.  Think Brigitte Bardot adorning the back of a yacht. Jewellers mixed different coloured gold and played with scale, setting large emerald cut Aquamarines and citrines next to smaller precious stones. Designs included sculptural curves, ribbon and bow designs.

In Europe gold, silver and platinum was going towards the war effort and American jewellery took of as a consequence. American retro jewellery has a distinct patriotic look incorporating sapphires, rubies and diamonds set in yellow gold.  Once the Americans joined the Allies in 1941 jewellery was increasingly militaristic.

1–60 of 62 items

  • 18ct Gold Thin Faceted Chain

    £375
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  • 18ct Gold Amethyst & Diamond Ring With Owl & Flame Motif

    £1,500
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  • 14ct Gold & Jade Ring

    £675
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  • Silver, Purple & Green Enamel Butterfly Brooch

    £375
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  • 18ct White Gold, Burma Sapphire & Diamond Oval Cluster Ring

    £6,750
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  • Silver Gilt Tulip Design Green Enamel Bracelet

    £495
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  • Silver Gilt & Green Enamel Tulip Design Necklace

    £675
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  • Silver & Marcasite Leaf Brooch and Pendant

    £75
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  • Silver & Enamel Bracelet By J. Tostrup

    £375
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  • Silver Kneeling Fawn Brooch By Georg Jensen

    £475
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  • 18ct Gold & Diamond Earrings

    £675
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  • 24ct Gold & Jadeite Ring

    £1,275
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  • Cabochon Amber & Silver Oval Ring

    £250
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  • 18ct & 9ct Gold, Diamond Cluster Ring

    £1,275
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  • Small Green Enamel Butterfly Brooch

    £150
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  • Silver Gilt ​& Blue Enamel Heart Pendant on Chain

    £250
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  • 18ct Gold & Platinum, Ruby & Diamond Flower Ring

    £1,275
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  • Retro Stylised Silver Buckle Brooch by “Gubelin”

    £2,250
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  • Multi Gem Gold Retro Ring

    £1,275
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  • Bernard Instone Silver Amethyst Ring

    £475
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  • Large Oval 18ct Gold & Coral Ring

    £1,275
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  • Georg Jensen Silver & Moonstone Clip On Earrings

    £675
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  • Norwegian Silver & Blue Enamel Butterfly Brooch by Hestenes

    £250
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  • David Andersen Silver & Blue Enamel Necklace

    £695
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  • Silver, Red & Black Enamel Collar Attributed to David Anderson

    £675
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  • Silver Red & Back Enamel Bracelet by David Andersen

    £375
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  • 18ct Gold Diamond Cluster Ring

    £2,500
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  • Retro 18ct Gold Citrine & Diamond Cocktail Ring

    £1,500
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  • Retro Silver Ballerina Brooch

    £295
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  • 18ct Gold & Citrine Long Drop Earrings

    £1,875
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  • Silver & Red Enamel Butterfly Brooch by David Anderson

    £375
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  • Retro Gold & Citrine Ring

    £675
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  • Silver & Red Enamel Butterfly Brooch by David Andersen

    £375
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  • Silver & Enamel Butterfly Brooch by David Andersen

    £450
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  • Sapphire & Baguette & Round Diamond Ring

    £1,500
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  • Large Platinum, Square Cut Emerald & Diamond Ring

    £8,250
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  • Silver Interwoven Chain Necklace

    £375
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  • 18ct Gold & Bloodstone Intaglio Signet Ring

    £1,275
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  • 18ct Gold & Sardonyx Intaglio Signet Ring

    £1,275
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  • 14ct Gold & Carnelian Crested Intaglio Signet Ring

    £975
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  • Silver “B” Ring

    £150
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  • 18ct Gold Ruby & Diamond Overlap Design Bracelet

    £2,500
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  • Onyx & Gold Watch Pendant

    £1,875
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  • David Andersen Silver ​& Enamel Leaf Earrings

    £175
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  • Silver Bracelet attributed to a George Jensen Design

    £825
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  • Moonstone & Silver Flower Spray Brooch

    £525
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  • Silver Modernist Earrings

    £225
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  • Vintage Paste Leaf Earrings

    £100
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  • Georg Jensen Silver Screw on Earrings

    £375
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  • Silver Collar with Square Sections

    £675
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  • Yellow Enamel Norwegian Silver Necklace

    £450
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  • Sapphire & Diamond Cluster Earstuds

    £1,875
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  • Circular Retro Gold Brooch

    £525
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  • Bernard Instone Silver & Citrine Brooch

    £475
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  • Cabochon Amethyst & Silver Retro Bracelet

    £375
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  • Silver Enamel Roses Bracelet

    £675
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  • Mexican Silver Bracelet

    £450
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  • Bernard Instone Silver Brooch

    £975
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  • Bernard Instone Silver Bracelet

    £975
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  • Georg Jensen Retro Silver Earrings

    £375
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Vintage Jewellery

Vintage Jewellery

by Caroline Cox
Carlton Books Ltd, 2010

Forties and Fifties Popular Jewelry

Forties and Fifties Popular Jewelry

by Roseann Ettinger
Schiffer Book for Collectors, 2003

Jewelry of the 1940s and 1950s

Jewelry of the 1940s and 1950s

by Sylvie Raulet
Thames & Hudson Ltd, 1988

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