My favorite Jewel of the 1940s at GemGenève

today3 November 2023

Written by: Claudia Carletti


GemGenève, renowned for its celebration of timeless elegance and exquisite craftsmanship in the jewellery world, recently hosted an enlightening panel discussion centred around the captivating allure of 1940s jewels. Moderated by Amanda Triossi, the panellists – Dominik  Biehler, Lindsey Miller, and Celeste Wu – brought  forth their expertise, shedding light on the enduring charm of jewels from this iconic era.


The conversation commenced with an introduction by Lady, setting the stage for an insightful exploration into the world of 1940s jewellery. As Amanda Triossi took the reins, the audience was transported into a realm where historical significance intertwined with artistic brilliance.

The 1940s, characterised by a shift away from the opulent platinum and diamond-encrusted designs of the previous decade, embraced a new aesthetic marked by boldness and innovation. Amanda Triossi eloquently delineated the defining features of 1940s jewels, highlighting their transition towards yellow gold, naturalistic motifs, and a scarcity of gemstones due to the constraints imposed by World War II.


Dominik Biehler, with his impeccable eye for exquisite pieces, unveiled a remarkable necklace by Cartier adorned with citrines and turquoise—an embodiment of resilience amidst the tumultuous backdrop of war. Its provenance, linked to the renowned French actress Marie Bell, added a layer of intrigue, showcasing the enduring allure of historical connections in the world of jewellery.

Lindsey Miller, representing Provokative Gems New York, delved into the enchanting world of tank bracelets, inspired by the treads of World War II tanks. These bold and wearable pieces, crafted with ingenuity and adorned with intricate designs, epitomised the essence of 1940s chic. Lindsey’s insights shed light on the evolving preferences of modern collectors, drawn to the timeless appeal of vintage jewellery reimagined for contemporary tastes.

Celeste Wu, with her fascinating journey from project management to haute joaillerie, brought a unique perspective to the discussion. Her profound connection to nature and artistry culminated in the creation of breathtaking pieces like the Moon Ferry and Rose brooch. Inspired by the colour palettes of Renaissance masterpieces, Celeste’s creations resonated with the essence of the 1940s, offering a seamless blend of timeless elegance and modern versatility.


As the panel drew to a close, one couldn’t help but marvel at the convergence of history, artistry, and passion encapsulated within each jewel showcased at GemGenève. The revival of 1940s jewellery, characterised by its boldness and sleek sophistication, serves as a poignant reminder of resilience in the face of adversity.

In the words of Amanda Triossi, “1940s is bold and sleek and possibly chic,” echoing the sentiment that these timeless treasures continue to captivate hearts and minds, transcending the boundaries of time and fashion. GemGenève, with its unwavering commitment to excellence, remains a beacon of inspiration for aficionados and collectors alike, perpetuating the legacy of craftsmanship and elegance for generations to come.


Now, let’s delve deeper into the allure of 1940s jewellery by exploring the craftsmanship and symbolism behind these exquisite pieces. One aspect that captivates enthusiasts is the ingenuity displayed by artisans during a period marked by adversity. Despite the challenges of war and scarcity of resources, jewellers managed to create stunning works of art that exuded elegance and resilience.

The intricate designs of 1940s jewellery often reflect a longing for beauty and escapism amidst tumultuous times. Symbolism played a significant role in these creations, with motifs such as flowers representing hope and renewal. For example, the floral-inspired brooches and necklaces of the era symbolise resilience and the enduring spirit of humanity.

Moreover, using unconventional materials showcases artisans’ adaptability during wartime. Pieces adorned with synthetic gemstones or semi-precious stones served as a testament to creativity and democratised luxury, making exquisite jewelry accessible to a broader audience.


Another fascinating aspect of 1940s jewellery is its association with historical events and cultural influences. Pieces owned by prominent figures like Marie Bell or those with connections to wartime resistance movements carry stories of courage and defiance, adding layers of significance to their beauty.

As we admire these treasures from the past, it’s essential to recognise the role of jewellery as more than mere adornment. Each piece tells a story, preserving memories and emotions that transcend time. In today’s fast-paced world, where trends come and go, vintage jewellery is a reminder of enduring craftsmanship and timeless elegance.


In conclusion, the allure of 1940s jewellery lies not only in its aesthetic appeal but also in the resilience and creativity it embodies. As we celebrate the craftsmanship of artisans from the past, let us also appreciate the enduring legacy of these exquisite pieces that continue to captivate hearts and minds to this day.

GemGenève, with its dedication to showcasing the finest examples of jewellery craftsmanship, provides a platform for collectors and enthusiasts to delve into the rich history and artistry of 1940s jewels. The annual event, attracting connoisseurs from around the globe, serves as a testament to the enduring appeal of vintage jewellery and its ability to transcend generations.

With each piece carefully curated to exemplify the essence of the era, GemGenève offers a glimpse into a bygone era where elegance and sophistication reigned supreme. From intricately designed brooches to statement necklaces, each jewel tells a story of resilience and creativity, capturing the imagination of all who behold them.


As attendees explore the exhibition halls adorned with treasures from the past, they are transported back in time to an era defined by glamour and intrigue. The meticulous craftsmanship and attention to detail evident in each piece serve as a reminder of the artistry and skill of the artisans who crafted them.

Furthermore, GemGenève provides a platform for emerging designers to showcase their interpretations of 1940s aesthetics, infusing traditional designs with a contemporary twist. This fusion of old and new allows for the continued evolution of vintage jewellery, ensuring its relevance in today’s ever-changing fashion landscape.

In the bustling corridors of GemGenève, amidst whispers of admiration and awe, one can’t help but marvel at the timelessness of 1940s jewellery. From the elegant simplicity of Art Deco-inspired pieces to the intricate motifs of nature and symbolism, each jewel reflects the spirit of an era that continues to inspire and captivate.


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