Just like any decade, the 1980s were an interesting time with a distinct style and perceptible character. Although the first thing that springs to mind when you picture jewelry from the 80s may be neon-colored costume jewelry made of plastic and enamel, the decade actually was the birthplace of a generation of creative and beautiful quality fine jewelry. Large houses like Tiffany & Co, Piaget, and Van Cleef & Arpels, as well as famous jewelers like David Webb and Paloma Picasso, were creating luxury jewelry to stand the test of time. And stand they have: thirty years later, luxury jewelry pieces from the 80s have come into their own as vintage collectibles
Not only are they still stylish and coveted items, but these luxe pieces have only gained in value over time.
To celebrate the decade, we've collected 25 luxury jewelry items from the 1980s, including clip-on earrings, oversized brooches, ostentatiously adorned belts, and weighty stackable bangle bracelets that are all emblematic of the jewelry of the era. We've also included a current market valuation of each piece: once you get past the sticker shock, make sure you ask your mom's permission before you start digging through her old jewelry box!
25 Enrico Cirio's Curious Creation
Crafted by hand in the 1980s, this stunning bracelet was designed and crafted by the Italian jeweler Enrique Cirio. The creatively and intelligently designed piece expands and contracts to fit any size of wrist, and to slip on over the hand without the aid a clasp, all out of one continuous piece of 18K gold. The thick 2.5" width of the piece is typical of the 1980s, when bigger and bolder was better.
Additionally, the bracelet includes 28 square-cut diamonds, which are bezel set in platinum along the perimeter and have an estimated total weight of 2.8o carats.
The incredible piece is for sale through Stephen Fox Jewelry, and the asking price is $38,000.00.
24 Playful Polka-Dots From Tiffany's
These playful and fun polka-dot oval earrings are from jewelry designer Angela Cummings' extremely successful tenure at Tiffany & Co. The funky, bright look is a hallmark of 80s jewelry, as is the fact that they're clip ons, which would be unthinkable in fine jewelry of any other decade. Weighing in at 17.71 grams, the base of these earrings is fine-grade 18K Yellow Gold, and the inlays are all precious materials as well, including Lapis, Jade, Jasper, & Mother of Pearl. Although the original price is unknown, (Angela's pieces at Tiffany's sold from between $35.00 to $1 million according to the New York Times), a pair of these earrings in mint condition is priced at $3,960 through Nagi Jewelers.
23 Abstract Beauty By Paloma Picasso
Another top designer for Tiffany & Co in the 1980s, Paloma Picasso created oversized and bright but refined and beautiful fine jewelry, like this pair of earrings. Made of 18K Yellow Gold, the structured and thick gold casing cradles the asymmetrically cut Citrine gemstones. The earrings are quite large, almost an inch long and 8mm thick, and they weigh in at 20.2 grams. As was typical and preferred in the 80s, these earrings attach with a clip-on closure. The deep orange color of the citrine refracts different shades of red and yellow in light, and the gold is embossed with the make and year.
At an asking price on First Dibs of $2,900, this beautiful pair is definitely a collector’s item!
22 The Iconic Squiggle Pin
Perhaps one of the most quintessentially 80s pieces ever made, the squiggle pin by Paloma Picasso for Tiffany's perfectly encapsulates the style of the decade. At a time when pins were incredibly hot, and bigger was always better, this large-size golden brooch was a top-of-the-line accessory. The graphic squiggle line was one of the preferred artistic elements of the decade, and this 18k gold brooch immortalized it. The brooch measures 3.75 inches long by 3 inches wide and weighs 24.2 grams, and is marked with the year (1983) and branded with both Tiffany & Co's name and Paloma Picasso's signature. The asking price is $2,750 on First Dibs.
21 David Webb's Glory
This pair of clip-on earrings by David Webb are stunning. Featuring a whopping 36 Sapphires each, for a total of 72 stones, and a total weight of 6.5 carats, these show-stopping gem-encrusted earrings definitely turn heads. The scintillating Sapphires are nested in-between rows of 18k gold ropes, which are a hallmark of the 80s. The oversized pair are an inch long by 3/8 of an inch wide. With a classic 80s clip-on attachment, the earrings sit about half above and half below the earlobe.
This pair, in excellent condition, are selling for $4,196 on First Dibs.
20 Ribbed Gold And Glass
This gold cuff bracelet is by the legendary jewelry designer Paloma Picasso, made in the 1980s and absolutely emblematic of the decade. The thick cuff style bracelet is two inches wide, and marked a size Medium (with 2.5" of clearance when closed). This piece is made of gold, vertically ribbed all the way around on both sides, with cut outs interspersed throughout housing pieces of red and black glass. The bracelet is embossed with Paloma's signature, and the original box is still intact, which includes a label linking this piece to the Paloma Picasso Perfume collection. The asking price on First Dibs is $925.
19 A Very Fine Link
Incredibly popular in the 80s were "chain link" necklaces, which usually featured wide or oversized links forming a chain and were either plain or set with stones. This striking necklace by Angela Cummings was done for Tiffany & Co in 1982. The oversized, flat-pressed links are wavy and abstract rather than precise and geometric, making the necklace fun and playful, and the large, rounded turquoise pieces add to that element. A signed piece in this style is rarely available, and produced with 18 karat gold and cabochon turquoise, is very valuable.
The asking price on First Dibs by a verified seller is a whopping $25,000.
18 Go Bold With Bvlgari
If you happen to find this multicolor wonder from Bvlgari in your mom's old jewelry box, you're in luck. The stunning and colorful piece was iconic during the late 80s, produced from 1985-1990. The sculpturally decorative 18ct yellow gold necklace incorporates three pink tourmaline, three green tourmaline, three citrine and two aquamarine carved gemstone sections. The necklace is signed and numbered by BVLGARI, making it easy to identify. At 17.71 inches long and 173.5 grams, this necklace is at a classic length and a relatively heavy weight. This piece is in pristine condition, marked "like new," which ups the value.
Currently, the seller is asking $29,051 for it on First Dibs.
17 Peak-Piano Key
This stunning Piano Key necklace has an unknown creator, but is unmistakably from the 1980s. Incredibly popular throughout the decade, this Egyptian-inspired tapered fringe style of piano key necklace was considered the epitome of elegance. This specific piece, although missing a designer signature, is marked as made in Italy, and as being pure 14K gold. In addition to the very high purity 14k gold used, this necklace is beautifully accented with 17 baguette cut diamonds totaling approximately 1.0 carats. The length is 18 inches. The asking price for this stunner on First Dibs is a cool $4,575.
16 An 80s Classic From Van Cleef And Arpels
A perfect example of the incredibly popular gold rope jewelry motif in the 1980s, this piece from Van Cleef and Arpels is truly of the decade. The rope-shaped chain is actually not a rope nor a traditional chain; it is hollow and concave from the back side, while shaped to look like a solid strand from the front. The necklace is made of pieces of rope-facade attached together to move slightly. It features a French maker's mark as well as a French assays marks for 18k gold. Pave diamonds are featured along the lowest nine links.
The luxury piece is selling on First Dibs for $19,126.46.
15 A Timeless Piaget Timepiece
This stunning Piaget necklace is both practical and beautiful. The distinctively created chain is in a style typical of both the 70s and 80s, consisting of sizable oval links connected by smaller links that hang perpendicular to the larger pieces. The central focus point of this piece is the slice of tiger’s eye quartz, featuring alternating stripes of gold, black, and burnt umber, and polished to perfection. The tiny golden watch hands are barely perceptible from a distance, keeping the elegance of the piece as a necklace and halting any Flava Flav vibes. The high-quality 14K gold chain hangs about 34” in length. Unless you are lucky enough to already own a copy of this stunning piece, buying one won’t be easy. This rare piece is listed on First Dibs for $25,000.
14 Over-The-Top Gucci Gold
While the Gumball necklace most recently enjoyed a bought of extreme popularity in the early 2000s, the oversized sphere style was far from a new invention. Also a popular style in costume jewelry at the time, this high-end Gucci gumball necklace was the perfect show-stopping addition to any ensemble. The golden spheres are each one whole impactful inch in diameter, and embossed with an Alligator skin texture for added extra-ness. Each ball is make of 18k gold and attached in chain with a tiny 18k gold link. At 18 inches long, this necklace sits at about the collarbone.
Bearing the Gucci mark and the Italy mark, this necklace is valued at $19,500.
13 Bee The Belle Of The Ball
Stunning brooches were a hallmark of the 80s when it was quite popular for women to collect and covet high-impact vintage brooches. As the trend caught on, contemporary jewelers got in on the game, creating bold and jubilant new designs. This Sapphire and Diamond bee brooch is crafted in 18k gold. The form of the bee's body is made with yellow gold, while the wings are white gold, and feature 53 single cut pave diamonds weighing .6 carats. The piercing blue Sapphire eyes balance the piece and weigh .1 carats themselves. The piece's designer is unfortunately unknown, however, the time period is definitively 80s. The asking price for this gilded insect is $1,316.
12 Sublimely Boucheron
Among the most popular style of brooch to ever be made is the Eglantine floral brooch, made to look like a Sweetbriar flower. This sublime piece was made by renowned jeweler Boucheron in the 1980s, during the brooch revival. Reaching 2 inches long by nearly 2 inches wide, the French creators fit a diamond just about everywhere they could on this breathtaking piece. The pin is sculpted out of 18K gold, and features two flowers, three leaves, and a stem. The flowers feature alternating white and yellow circle-cut diamonds for the petals and stamen, while the leaves have white and the stem has white baguette-cut diamonds.
With a total diamond weight of 9 carats, this brooch is valued at $43,974.
11 Popular Geometry: A Circle Ring
This creative and unique ring is by the Italian Jeweler and Artist Giampaolo Babetto, made in 1984. Throughout the 80s, geometric shapes and defined lines were popular design motifs, and this circular ring fits the theme perfectly. Signed and dated, this ring is made of fine-jewelry quality 18k white gold, and is even more valuable as it is a numbered part of an edition, #2 out of 7 ever made. The clever design is made to be worn on the pinky finger and features a cut out to allow the nearly 2-inches in diameter circle to rest comfortably on the ring finger. The seven-of-a-kind ring is very rare and is valued at $8,000 on First Dibs.
10 Keep Your Frogs Close
Keep your friends close and your jewel-creature friends closer with this incredible vintage Judith Leiber belt. The piece is signed by the influential designer, and made of beautiful, high quality components. The belt itself is adjustable and made of black snakeskin, but the focal point is the frog couple smooching in the middle. The stones feature cabochons set Onyx, Amethyst and Jade, surrounded by white pave crystals. Although unspecified, it is likely that the frogs themselves are gold plated. The frogs also serve a function beyond decoration; they conceal the working clasp that closes the belt.
A very cool, quirky and fun piece, this belt is being sold on First Dibs for $775.
9 Rope Twist And A Hoop Combine For 80s Earring Bliss
A tinier cousin of the massive 80s costume hoop, this refined rope-twist pair is timeless. Although the rope motif was prevalent in the 80s, it is not done to the point of excess in this pair, leaving them less obviously of that era. They feature a subtle center clasp, where they open and close, attaching by pinching the lobe with the tiny open gap. Created by Lalaounis in Greece, these earrings are made of 20 and 22 Karat gold and feature a maker's mark. The elegant pair would seamlessly add into any jewelry collection, but the lucky buyer will have to hand over a hefty $3,735 to purchase this set.
8 A Belt For Your Wrist, Because Why Not
Just as no good outfit in the 80s was complete without a belt (or at the least a cinched waist silhouette), the mania continued onto the wrist with this vintage gem. This piece is a literal belt for your wrist, except it's made of Sapphires and the buckle is white gold and Diamonds. Adjustable (with three 'belt holes' for sizing), this stunning piece is a work of true master jewelers. The five strands of Sapphires end in dangling pave diamond drops for extra drama, and the attention to detail is breathtaking. This piece will add a boatload of vintage glam to your collection, if you can stomach the price, that is.
At $22,712.68, this piece does not come cheap.
7 They Liked Moonstones In The 80s, Too
Among the most popular precious stones of the 2010s, the Moonstone has always enjoyed a loyal fan base. Known for its holographic and otherworldly qualities, the stone absorbs and reflects light in a beautiful and unique way. This bangle could nearly be a current design, however, it is the work of the modernist Brazilian jeweler Burle Marx in the 1980s. Well ahead of its time in design, this 18k gold piece features naturally shaped (live form) stones with gold settings formed to them. The style was likely stacked as a bangle during its heyday but would be incredible in a stack or solo. The asking price on First Dibs is $6,275.
6 If You're Feeling Like A Pimp, Go On Dust Your Shoulders Off
If you've ever wanted to dangle feather dusters from your earlobes, you're in luck; consider this the upscale version. The tassel as an accent in jewelry has a long history, but this pearl-laden pair may be the most opulent feature we've seen. Designed in the year 1988 by Angela Cummings, the pair are— of course— clip ons. Each earring has a base and an S-shaped closure made of 18k gold, and features a cascade of tiny 2.5-2.7mm pearls. The strands of the precious pearls hang loosely and freely from the ear.
For this beautiful duo in excellent condition, the 2018 asking price is $2,850.
5 The Classic Fluted Crescent
Although the creator of this set of crescent-shaped fluted earrings is unknown, the beautiful pair is very easily recognized as from the 80s. The 14 karat gold material is unmarred by time, leaving this pair with a like-new quality. Easy to throw on any morning for instant elegance, they (of course) feature clip-on closure. The half-hoop domed style is classic and dignified, and this pair in particular are described as very comfortable. The polished pair are nearly an inch in length, and weigh 14 grams. The asking price for these handsome clip-ons is $1,095 on First Dibs.
4 Wrap It In Gold
A style poised to make a comeback, the wrapped-wrist watch is like a complete stack of bangles all-in-one. Reminiscent of the decade's squiggle, the wrist wrap, especially with horizontal rectangular sections like this one, screams 80s opulence. The watch is mechanical, with a gold face and hands. The entire piece is 18 karat gold, with a small domed sapphire on the tip of the winding turner. Although designed for a woman, we think the size-adjustable timepiece would also look great on a stylish man.
The value, according to First Dibs, is $5,500.
3 Clip-On Door-Knockers: The Most 80s You Can Get?
Few things scream the 80s with such unmistakable vim and vigor as the Doorknocker Earring. Bonus points, these babies are clip-ons. Despite being a lot of weight to dangle from a clip-on, this style was incredibly popular throughout the decade. This abstract pair have a traditional shape but feature waves and patches of contrasting texture and finish that give them an exciting and adventurous organic-looking form. In case all 47.5 grams of weight of this pair proves to be too much for you, the bottom hoops are removable. Although the designer is unknown, this verified luxury pair are valued at $2,895.
2 Clip-On Seashells Were Edgy 80s Accents
In an all-but-forgotten corner of 1980s jewelry history hides the clip-on seashell earring, made by Maz. There are a few incredible sets like this one available on First Dibs, but the rare and beach-edgy accessory has amassed quite a high value. Featuring 14 Karat gold mounts onto (what else?) clip-on back attachments, these earrings could easily be something designed today. This pair feature gold-set emeralds and pearls, as well as tiny golden sun emblems.
Absolutely perfect for summer, these earrings are only $1,875 away from being in your closet!
1 The Ultimate Set: If You're Ready To Invest
Proof that luxury knows no bounds, this ravishing and opulent jewelry set was made in the 1980s, but could very well be in the crown jewels and hundreds of years old. The set features very little indication of its birth era, but notably, 80s design aspects include the zigzag line of the necklace and the clip-on earrings. Signed with French assays marks and the mark of the creator— Tabbah, this set is fit for royalty. With nine marquise and pear-shaped pendants along the front of the necklace, two more on the earrings and two more on either side of the wrapped ring, this set is certainly ostentatious. With about 100 carats of diamonds alone, this weighty set comes with a comparably weighty tag; $650,000.