Back in Style 2023: Best of the '90s Jewelry Trends

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By Wildr Editor

Variety of gold earring hoops hanging on a rack.

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Blast from the Past: Unraveling the Culture of '90s Jewelry

The '90s were an iconic era for the fashion world, and jewelry styles of that time have recently made a significant comeback. The nostalgia for these statement pieces is undeniable, as these bold and vibrant designs have once again found their way into our wardrobes. In this resurgence, it's exciting to see how eco-friendly fashion trends are incorporating '90s aesthetics.

The '90s were a decade of rapid change, marked by the rise of technology, the emergence of alternative music genres, and a shift in global politics. These transformations had a profound impact on the fashion world, including the unique and memorable jewelry trends that defined the era.

Exploring the cultural significance of these iconic '90s jewelry styles can help us better understand their enduring appeal and resurgence in today's fashion.

Rebellion and Identity

The '90s saw a wave of rebellion against the polished and pristine styles of the '80s. Younger generations began to embrace alternative music scenes, such as grunge and hip-hop, which significantly influenced the jewelry trends of the time. Choker necklaces, leather cuffs, and oversized studs all became symbols of this countercultural movement, reflecting a desire for self-expression and individuality. Speaking of materials, you might wonder, are brass earrings safe? This question is especially pertinent when revisiting '90s styles.

Celebrity Influence and the Red Carpet

During the '90s, celebrities played a major role in popularizing various jewelry trends. Red carpet events became a platform for stars like Princess Diana, who frequently wore pearl chokers, and Madonna, who often sported bold chain necklaces and large hoop earrings. These high-profile appearances helped to catapult these accessories into the mainstream, solidifying their status as iconic '90s fashion staples.

The Power of Pop Culture

Popular '90s television shows and movies also contributed to the spread of specific jewelry trends. Iconic shows like "Sex and the City", "Beverly Hills, 90210", and our favorite TV show, “Friends”, featured characters wearing tennis bracelets, gold cuffs, and the puka shell necklace. These pop culture moments played a significant role in shaping the '90s jewelry trends that we're seeing today. Alongside these trends, the popularity of minimalist makeup brands also complements the '90s aesthetic, offering a modern yet nostalgic beauty look..

The Rise of Personalization

The '90s marked a turning point in fashion, as people began to place greater emphasis on personalization and self-expression. This trend is evident in the popularity of name necklaces, mood rings, and initial jewelry. By wearing these customizable pieces, individuals could showcase their unique identity and make a statement that was distinctly their own.

Rediscovering '90s Glam with a Sustainable Twist

As we embrace the iconic '90s jewelry trends, it's crucial to consider the environmental and ethical consequences of our fashion choices, leading us to reimagine many of these trends using sustainable materials like recycled metals and ethically sourced gemstones.

The resurgence of '90s jewelry trends offers a unique opportunity to promote conscious consumerism within the fashion industry. This is where exploring sustainable capsule wardrobe brands can help integrate these vintage styles into a modern, eco-conscious wardrobe.

By opting for sustainable jewelry brands that prioritize eco-friendly materials, ethical production, and timeless designs, we can enjoy the nostalgia of '90s styles while supporting a more responsible fashion industry.

Now, as we delve into the top jewelry trends of the '90s, let's also explore how we can recreate these iconic styles with a sustainable twist

Jewelry box overflowing with pearl and gemstone jewelry.

Let's take a trip down memory lane and explore some of the most popular '90s jewelry trends that stood the test of time and have come back in style in recent months, adding a touch of retro flair to both everyday wear and formal events.

We’ve also noted our favorite sustainable brands and editor picks for the perfect piece of jewelry to add to your collection.

Don't forget to share your favorite '90s-inspired looks on social media using the hashtag #wildr!

1. Choker Necklaces: The Ultimate '90s Accessory

Choker necklaces were a staple accessory in the '90s, and they have made a massive comeback in recent years. From pearl chokers reminiscent of Princess Diana's elegant style to leather chokers with a punk-rock edge, these statement pieces are perfect for any occasion.

Tattoo chokers, with their intricate designs and stretchy material, are also making a reappearance, adding a touch of nostalgia to our outfits. Celebrities like Rihanna and Gigi Hadid have been spotted rocking this trend, giving it a modern twist.

Brand Spotlight: Check out this gorgeous pearl choker from Akola, which handcrafts each piece of jewelry by women in Uganda using local and sustainable materials such as up-cycled cow horn, raffia sourced from palm leaves, and sisal that comes from the agave plant.

2. Large Hoop Earrings: Timeless and Chic

Large hoop earrings were a popular fashion statement in the '90s, and they remain a timeless and chic accessory in 2023. These oversized earrings can be worn with both casual and formal outfits, making them a versatile addition to any jewelry collection.

Gold jewelry, particularly yellow gold, was a favorite material for large hoop earrings during the iconic era, and is considered to be one of the biggest jewelry trends. Celebrities like Zendaya, Drew Barrymore, and Jennifer Lopez have been seen sporting this classic style.

Brand Spotlight: Bagatiba offers a variety of eco-friendly pieces made of stainless steel and recycled silver and gold plating, that are shipped in recyclable and reusable packaging. These bestselling Gold Hollow Hoops are an instant classic for the boss ladies who run the world.

3. Name and Initial Necklaces: Personalized Style

The '90s were all about personalization, and the name necklace was a go-to accessory for those looking to make a unique fashion statement. Whether featuring a full name or just an initial, these necklaces allowed for self-expression and individuality.

The initial necklace has seen a resurgence in popularity, with many celebrities like Meghan Markle and Taylor Swift rocking this trend on the red carpet and in their everyday lives.

Brand Spotlight: Check out Soko’s Iga Personalized Delicate Necklace that’s perfect for layering with your favorite chains or gemstones. Soko is a women-led, people-first ethical jewelry brand and tech-powered manufacturing platform built to connect artisans in Kenya with the global market.

4. Stud Earrings and Oversized Studs: Minimalist Elegance

Stud earrings were a staple of '90s fashion, offering a minimalist and elegant look that could be dressed up or down. Oversized studs, featuring gemstone pendants or geometric shapes, added a touch of drama to this otherwise simple accessory.

Today, studs remain a popular choice for everyday wear, while oversized studs have reemerged as a statement piece for more formal events. Celebrities like Emma Watson and Lupita Nyong'o have embraced this trend, giving it a modern and sophisticated spin.

Brand Spotlight: We love these Amethyst Leaf Stud Earrings from Ash and Rose, which offers a wide selection of ethically made jewelry, only carrying brands that are sweatshop and child-labor free and ensures payment of living wages.

5. Chain Necklaces and Chain Belts: Versatile '90s Classics

Woman donning a silver chain necklace.

Chain necklaces and chain belts were a popular '90s trend that has returned in full force. From simple gold chains to more elaborate designs featuring gemstone pendants or geometric shapes, chain necklaces can be dressed up or down for any occasion.

Chain belts, often worn with high-waisted pants or skirts, have also made a comeback, adding a touch of retro flair to any ensemble. Celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Dua Lipa have been spotted rocking them.

Brand Spotlight: New Classics offers a range of sustainable chain necklaces and this chic Piana Pin Belt that’s mindfully handmade link by link in their Brooklyn shop.

We also love Laura Elizabeth’s collection of chain necklaces in yellow gold for that effortless minimalist look.

6. Mood and Cocktail Rings: The Colorful Charms of the '90s

Mood rings were a popular accessory in the '90s, featuring a color-changing stone that was believed to reflect the wearer's mood. These quirky jewelry pieces added a touch of whimsy to any outfit and have recently made a comeback in sustainable fashion.

Similarly, cocktail rings with oversized gemstones in vibrant colors were a go-to statement piece for formal events in the '90s, and their bold designs are still turning heads today.

Brand Spotlight: Melissa Joy Manning is luxury jewelry brand offers a range of eco-friendly cocktail rings made with responsibly sourced gemstones and recycled metals. We’re kind of obsessed with the Double Band Electric Blue Boulder Opal Ring.

If that’s over your budget, here’s a more affordable option from our favorite Ash and Rose - the fiery Garnet Majesty Ring made for bad-ass queens.

To incorporate these trends into your modern wardrobe, try the following styling tips:

  • Layering: Combine multiple chain necklaces of varying lengths for a contemporary look or stack different styles of chokers for a bolder statement.
  • Mix and match: Don't be afraid to mix different styles, materials, and colors when wearing '90s-inspired jewelry. Pair a leather choker with a delicate gold chain necklace or wear oversized studs with simple hoop earrings.
  • Modernize the look: To avoid looking dated, pair your '90s jewelry with current fashion trends, such as minimalist clothing, wide-leg pants, or monochromatic outfits.

While the core elements of '90s jewelry remain, the designs have evolved over time to cater to modern aesthetics. For example, choker necklaces now come in more minimalistic styles, and chain belts have been adapted to suit contemporary fashion trends.

Additionally, materials used in '90s-inspired jewelry have shifted toward more sustainable options, such as recycled metals and ethically sourced gemstones.

As we celebrate the return of the '90s fashion, let's ensure our love for these iconic styles goes hand in hand with our commitment to a more sustainable and responsible fashion future.

As we continue to see the resurgence of '90s jewelry trends, we can expect to see more iconic styles making a comeback. Some trends to watch for include:

  • Anklets: Delicate ankle bracelets, often adorned with small charms or beads, were a popular '90s accessory and may soon make a return as a fashionable summer staple.
  • Tennis bracelets: These classic, minimalist bracelets featuring a single row of small gemstones or diamonds were highly popular in the '90s and are likely to regain popularity among modern fashion enthusiasts.
  • Leather cuffs: Wide leather wristbands or cuffs, often embellished with metal studs or hardware, were a common accessory in the '90s and could emerge again as part of the growing trend toward sustainable, vegan leather alternatives.

By keeping an eye on these potential trends, we can stay ahead of the curve and continue to incorporate nostalgic '90s elements into our sustainable fashion choices.

Don't forget to share your favorite '90s-inspired looks on social media using the hashtag #wildr, and support sustainable brands that align with your values.


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