Style Characteristics
Textured metals - especially gold - in Florentine finish, foxtail chain , rope twisted or braided wire, mesh, reeding, fluting and piercing differentiated this period's style from the smooth polished surfaces of the previous decade, even when the motifs - floral and foliate sprays, animals, birds and other figures - remained the same. Abstract, non-representational or highly stylized figural designs were new in the 1950s. Matched parures (suites) of necklace, bracelets, brooch and earrings with increasing emphasis on gemstones were back after a hiatus of several decades. Short diamond and platinum necklaces, gold charm bracelets and round clip earrings were deemed appropriate for day-time. Earrings for evening were long fringes of diamonds. Brooches were stylized animals or people - ballerinas were especially popular - or abstract sprays of diamonds in mixed cuts, starbursts and "atomic" shapes that were influenced by mid-century modernism.

Britain's George VI died in 1952 and was succeeded by Queen Elizabeth II. She was crowned in 1953, the same year that President Dwight D. Eisenhower was inaugurated. Harry Winston purchased jewels from Evalyn Walsh McLean's estate, including the Hope Diamond, and launched a touring exhibition, the Court of Jewels, in 1949. The exhibition toured throughout the U.S. for four years. Winston donated the Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian Institution in 1958. In 1953, Marilyn Monroe sang the line "Talk to me Harry Winston, tell me all about it" in "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend" from the movie "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes." De Beers launched its annual Diamonds International Awards for original designs in diamond set jewelry in 1954. In 1955, atomically generated power was first used in the U.S. for peaceful purposes. The U.S.S.R. launched the first artificial satellite, Sputnik, in 1957.

Metals & Stones
Gold was still worn in the daytime, but evenings sparkled. After years of deprivation during wartime, diamonds and platinum were back on top of the heap. Cultured pearls had achieved total acceptance for both daywear and eveningwear. Amethyst, turquoise and coral were favorite colored stones.

Important Designers
In France, Pierre Sterlé became one of the better-known jewelry designers of the period, while Van Cleef & Arpels and Cartier continued to forge ahead with new designs while reprising prewar "classics." In 1956, Jean Schlumberger became vice president of Tiffany & Co. Harry Winston became known as the "King of Diamonds" after achieving fame with his Court of Jewels. Julius Cohen joined Schepps and Verdura as a jeweler of high reputation in New York City. In Italy, the venerable family-run houses of Buccellati and Bulgari began their tenure of international acclaim.

Baguette, pear and/or marquise cuts were often combined with round brilliants in a single jewel during the 1950s. Emerald cuts and pear shapes were popular for large single stone rings. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) unveiled its diamond grading system in 1953. General Electric (GE) produced the first synthetic diamonds in 1954. Strontium titanate was introduced to the public as a diamond stimulant in 1955.