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What is 70s Boho jewelry?

Apr 16, 2023 | boho jewelry

Boho jewelry is eclectic, taking its name from the Bohemian lifestyle dramatized in Paris in the late 1800s. Bohemian means free-spirited and unconventional. By definition, boho style doesn’t have style boundaries. Anything goes!

Shop boho jewelry at minusOne. https://minusonejewelry.com/collections/boho/

Where does Boho jewelry style come from?

Like many things, Boho style as we know it started in Paris in the 1800s. It was not a commercially-influenced style of jewelry or fashion, however. It was a lifestyle.

But Bohemian was not a lifestyle choice; it was instead a way of living necessitated by the poverty of an artistic temperament – a poor artist’s life.

Bohemian, or artistic, lifestyles were plot and setting for literature and stage. First, by Henri Murger in “Scènes de la Vie de Bohème” published in 1851. Then, in opera: Puccini’s La Bohème was first performed in 1896. Operas Louise (by Gustave Charpentier) and Carmen (Bizet) then followed the same theme.

Art Nouveau era Poster for Puccini's La Bohème 1896

It was a lifestyle movement again in Paris in the 1920s, when innovation reigned with Art Deco.

Scott Fitzgerald, his wife Zelda, Hemingway, 1920s Parisian Bohemians.
Scott Fitzgerald, his wife Zelda, Hemingway, 1920s Parisian Bohemians.

So, at its start, Boho was thought of as a lifestyle choice. Bohemian was a way of living an unconventional life, one at once artistic, impoverished, nomadic, and romantic. And, if you must know, sometimes resulting in death by starvation.

Today, Boho style is not as deadly or as leftward-leaning.

Even HGTV acknowledges Boho as a legit style of interior decoration. And they wouldn’t do this if it was going to kill you.

Gypsy Boho Jewelry vs Hippie Boho vs Boho Chic

Don’t Say Gypsy Boho

The aesthetic formerly known as Gypsy Boho is a style reminiscent of folk costumes and the nomadic Roma tribe. The Romani people are one of Romania’s largest minorities.

The word “gypsy” is considered a slur. In the West, we might not understand the need for political correctness around this term, but that’s probably because we don’t live anywhere near the Romani people.

I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if someday “hippie” was considered a slur…

70s Boho Hippie Style

Hippie culture echoed the Beatniks of the 50s. Icons of the Beatnik way of life include nomads like Jack Kerouac. Like the Parisian Bohemians, the Romani, and the 50s Beatniks, “hippies” – an abbreviation for someone “hip” – were not only unconventional, they were anti-convention.

Think fringe and bell-bottoms, feathers and peace signs.

Sharon Tate is a beautiful example of the 1970s Boho Hippie style. What she wore in the late 1960s grew into a phenomenon in the early 70s.

70s Boho Hippie headbands are reminiscent of those worn by flappers in the 20s, only less diamond-studded, more rustic, and way cheaper.

70s Boho is my favorite.

I especially love 70s Boho because it has a bit of disco glam in it.


So what’s Boho Chic?

Nomadic for the upper crust, Boho chic takes its lead from the style of the Romani nomads and adds some On the Road by Jack Kerouac.

Banana Republic sponsored ad for their desert interlude boho style fashion | minusOne jewelry

Take impoverished away from “Gypsy” Boho, affix with a flat-rimmed felt hat and a striped wool blanket on the beach (or desert), and there you have Boho Chic.

But in fact, Boho Chic has its roots in hippie Boho.

Carly Simon No Secrets Album cover

Carly Simon in the 70s wore the Boho Chic hat well.

70s Boho Hippie jewelry for him

In the 70s, when men were rocking the hippie aesthetic, necklaces for him were in.

Here’s George Harrison with his signature heishi choker necklace.

George Harrison with his signature heishi choker necklace

Although not icons of the hippie vibe, necklaces were the centerpiece of men’s 70’s fashion for the Bee Gees, and Hall & Oates.

Long story short: get your man a necklace. I recommend a 20″ chain at 2.5mm. Try it in solid sterling silver here.

Solid sterling silver heavy necklace chain | Unisex rounded box chain
Solid sterling silver heavy necklace chain | Unisex rounded box chain

What does 70s Boho Jewelry look like?

As a start, take a peek at 70s Boho jewelry at minusOne.

You’ll see big statement earrings, hoops, feathers and leaves, wide bracelet cuffs and hammered gold.

Boho is by definition unconventional

Boho doesn’t stick to a single style of fashion or jewelry. It’s eclectic, by definition, meaning varied. Don’t be afraid to do something different. Or even a lot of different kinds of different, all at once.

Boho jewelry is organic

Boho style incorporates natural motifs like leaves, flowers, and feathers.

It has a bit of the Art Nouveau in it, with its asymmetry, floral decadence, and sinuous, curving lines.

Boho jewelry is hammered brass and hammered gold

Think rustic bling. Hammers are easier to come by than a soldering iron and a jeweler’s bench.

Hammers travel easily and you can whack a hammer metal against a tree stump if you need to.

Boho Jewelry is Layered

A layered look can mean multiple necklaces (even just two) of the same length but different styles, or different lengths. For bracelets, it can mean stacking multiple bangles, or a single wide cuff one on each wrist.

Carly Simon, black and white
Carly Simon photographed by Jack Robinson, Vogue, September 1971

This can also be done by wearing multiples of the same piece.

Boho Jewelry is Textured

Of course, hammered brass jewelry or hammered gold is one way to get the textured look.

But another way to achieve texture is through layering, whether it be more than one ring on each hand, or more than one bracelet on each wrist.

JoniMitchell wearing boho jewelry
JoniMitchell wearing boho jewelry

Joni Mitchell managed the layered look by wearing a variety of silver pieces: both wrists, more than one ring on a hand, and the buckle – which appears at the same point on the body as wrists and hands.

Read about how to wear jewelry as shown by 1920s fashion illustration.

Boho jewelry has an informal, everyday style.

Boho jewelry is comfortable and almost homey.

It’s what’s worn to a music festival, not when meeting the queen.

Boho jewelry isn’t cocktail jewelry. Leave off the dinner rings and diamond brooches.

Boho Jewelry is Hoop Earrings

In the end, Boho jewelry is big gold hoops, plain and simple.

Did you know hoops have been around forever? These gold hoops are almost 4,000 years old. Humans have always loved bling.

And Boho Jewelry. 🙂

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minusOne jewelry logo of a pink Art Deco scallop | Trumansburg NY
minusOne jewelry | Trumansburg NY

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