Nineties Jewelry Trends: A Complete List of Items by Style

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90s Jewelry Trends

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Last Updated on August 1, 2021

Jewelry in the 90s was deeply eclectic and it spread like wildfire due to its accessible nature. Literally anyone could wear a plastic tattoo choker or make a shell necklace! 

It also shared some of the most important characteristics of the main fashion trends of the decade.

Mainly, that they were wild and deeply personal, with a costume quality that allowed just everyone to play around with different items and that celebrity style (be it movies, series, or music) was everywhere for the public to gain inspiration from!

Grunge

This style flourished at the beginning of the decade and was quite prominent until 1995. Being grunge was being a part of a movement with a very particular way of seeing the world and wearing it was a way to send a very clear message: that you were against the system, and bent to do your wild free-spirited thing! 

Preferred clothing items were flannel shirts, oversized knit sweaters, droopy skirts, and ripped tights. Cue Courtney Love, wearing her slightly gothic, romantic, and unkept ensembles while adding layers of thin delicate gold necklaces and dainty gold chokers.

Check out this Star Moon Adjustable Necklace:

To get the look: pair animal prints with gold jewelry and throw a babydoll or satin dress into the mix, the combination will feel both stylish and daring. For added effect rip those fishnet tights and add a double gold bracelet! 

Check Out: 23 Styles of Earrings that were soooo … 90s

New Age

As the general style evolved during the decade, it branched out into New Age territory and added energy-related elements, like natural stones and power beaded necklaces. It was a more spiritual take that combined Indian wisdom, the study of the chakras, Reiki and Feng Shui among other things. 

The preferred looks included long skirts, knitted cardigans, and batik tees with layered necklaces, mood rings, and ear cuffs. Gemstones and semi-precious stones were highly prized too!

In her movie Poison Ivy, Drew Barrymore goes for a worn leather jacket with an old long bronzed Irish knot necklace over a purple top. You can get the look easily by adding a long pendant with amethyst and a nice pair of earring studs to a see-through tee and weathered jean shorts combo.

Read: 90s Female Fashion Icons That Will Never Die

Hip hop

Around 1992, the influence of hip hop music went mainstream and popularized baggy jeans, tracksuits and sportswear that was heavily associated with rappers. Since the musicians behind these types of music tended to be from various ethnic origins, Latino jewelry pieces like extra-large hoop earrings became all the rage and were worn by a varied range of artists like Beyonce from Destiny’s Child and Christina Aguilera. 

Big chunky necklaces, chain necklaces, and word chokers that had originated in rapper wear were adopted by other singers like Gwen Stefani.

It was a style that was all about being aggressive and badass. It applied industrial and military elements to bolster its tough personas, like camouflage prints and bomber jackets.

To get the daywear look you can go sporty, with baggy pants and an activewear crop top or embrace your inner badass with a long hoodie and military pants, take your pick!

Preppy

The preppy style was all about casual conservative clothing that had a very distinct private-school kind of vibe. Khaki slacks, canvas boat shoes, and blazers with monograms were highly preferred by the wealthy kids wearing them.

Polished shirts in delicate fabrics like organza, tartan pleated mini-skirts in pastel tones, and denim blazers were also among the favorites, especially paired with natural beads necklaces and rubber jelly bracelets.

A classic example of this trend is what Cher Horowitz wears during Clueless, her whole wardrobe is just perfect! Remember her flower choker with little marguerites?

The epitome of feminine preppy style and ideal for summer wear! It felt like a breath of fresh air. 

Her counterpart in real life, Paris Hilton, also showcased her fair share of natural stone beads chokers and shell necklaces with her famous juicy couture tracksuits.

Truth be told there are plenty of movies to use as inspiration if you want to copy this style. I don’t mean to name drop, but Mean Girls was a huge classic at that time, and Lindsay Lohan got to wear a bunch of preppy jewelry after her makeover, like an initial necklace and a puka shell necklace.

Those two make me feel absolutely nostalgic!

A very wearable take on this style if you are not in your teens is to pair a denim blazer with a flower bead choker like Drew Barrymore! Go for a fun hairstyle like parted bangs with little butterfly clippers or space buns! Check out these 25 Photos of ’90s Hairstyles You Secretly Still Love.

If you want to take that look to the next level you might want to add a tattoo plastic choker… A little birdie told me they are making a huge comeback right now! 

Read: 24 Delightful Preppy Clothing Brands Through the Past 30 Years

Mix and Match Nineties

The general casual style during the 90s mixed a lot of cool elements from orbiting trends, like tartan skirts, fishnets and leather black pants from punk, weathered cardigans and red flannel shirts from grunge, neon colors and glitter from pop and velvet crop tops and long skirts from gothic. It was an amalgam of cool and unique items that came together and mixed in new and novel ways. 

Gwen Stefani made headlines because of her jewel-like stick-on decorations for the red carpet while using body glitter liquid to enhance her presentation on stage, all the while wearing diamond and crystal-ridden costumes that left no doubt she was the star of the show.

She was also a huge fan of wearing Indian-inspired clothing, so in case you want to go for it pair up a sarong as a skirt, add some body jewelry, and a shiny anklet, and you are good to go!

Perhaps the most used item by the general public is the choker, both in its velvet gothic style or the plastic tattoo choker. We particularly love this slightly gothic take that Drew Barrymore chose because you can literally pair it with almost anything!

Crop tank top and baggy pants? Check! Velvet shirt and satin skirt, also check!

Another super popular jewelry item of the decade was the metal and leather wristband and the cross bracelet.

Crosses in general were super popular and the more standardized item of the gothic trend. Be it on a choker, a long necklace, o chain belt, or a wristband. Romantic crosses were everywhere.

So, be daring and don’t be afraid to mix and match whatever jewelry you fancy from the varied styles of the 90s to create your perfect look!

Read Next: The Definitive Guide to 90s Fashion Brands

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Lorena Lombardo is a fashion designer specialized in trend forecasting and fashion journalism. She studied at the UAL (University of London), ORT (Universidad ORT Uruguay), and taken various courses about traditional craftsmanship while living in Tokyo. Some of her favorite memories during the 90s include wearing bucket hats and trying to copy Rachel’s hairstyle. Her absolute favorite show was Buffy: the Vampire Slayer but she was also a huge fan of Clueless because of its amazing fashion choices. Her top track of the decade is currently disputed between How soon is Now? by the Smiths and Here with me by Dido. Both also happen to be the opening songs for two great 90s shows: Charmed and Roswell. Coincidence? I think not!