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Are gold glasses fashionable?

Glasses frames come in a variety of colors and materials, from basic black plastic to intricate metal workings. Gold eyeglass frames have maintained steady popularity over the years as a stylish, luxurious option. But are gold glasses still fashionable today, or are they outdated?

The History of Gold Eyeglasses

The use of gold in glasses frames originated in 18th century Europe. Gold frames were a status symbol among wealthy elites and aristocrats. Kings and queens donned gold-rimmed pince-nez glasses or lorgnettes. The material not only conveyed luxury but allowed for intricate and complex engraving and filigree work on the temples and bridges.

Later in the 1800s, as eyeglasses became more widely used, gold remained popular among those who could afford it. The wealthy continued wearing gold-framed pince-nez, while the monocle also emerged as a popular accessory. production processes became more sophisticated. This allowed manufacturers to create sturdier yet lightweight gold frames.

By the early 20th century, gold frames remained fashionable but now faced competition from new materials like celluloid. The rise of bifocal and trifocal lenses also led to the decline of pince-nez, shifting styles toward two-lens metal frames. Gold frames took on new shapes like ovals and rounds.

The Ups and Downs of Gold Eyeglasses in the 20th Century

In the first half of the 1900s, gold frames remained a top choice among the upper class. Gold ovals and rounds reflected Art Deco and Art Nouveau influences in their delicate decoration and sleek, bold lines.

However, World War II caused a decline in gold frames. Gold was considered a strategic war material, so it was rationed for industrial use rather than fashion accessories. Metal shortages shifted preferences toward plastic and horn-rimmed glasses.

The postwar period saw tastes divide between conservative silver frames and flashy gold ones. While silver cat-eyes and browlines characterized professional businessmen, young people opted for flashy gold-rimmed cat’s eyes and butterfly frames.

By the 1960s and 70s, though, gold fell out of favor as metal frames overall declined. New frame materials like nylon and zyl took over the market. Thick black plastic frames defined the bold look of the era.

The Revival of Vintage Gold Frames

In the 1980s and 90s, metal frames staged a comeback. Vintage gold frames from the 50s and 60s became popular among hip intellectuals and artists. Young people scoured thrift stores for used gold cat’s eyes and ovals to achieve a funky retro look.

The return of rimless and wire-rim styles also renewed interest in gold frames. Designers like Giorgio Armani decorated slim gold frames with small logos and minimalist detailing. The 1990s Ray-Ban Aviator style featured lightweight gold wire rims wrapping around large teardrop lenses.

As vintage culture went mainstream in the 2000s, gold frames from the 20th century experienced another surge. Thick gold frames even became popular among hip-hop artists and celebrities, giving them a cool street style vibe.

Decade Popularity of Gold Eyeglasses
1900s-1910s Very popular among wealthy elites
1920s-1930s Remained fashionable as glasses use grew
1940s Declined due to WWII metal shortages
1950s Flamboyant gold cat’s eyes were hip among youth
1960s-1970s Fell out of favor as plastics dominated
1980s-1990s Vintage gold revived as retro/hipster trend
2000s Experienced renewed popularity with vintage culture

Are Gold Glasses Fashionable Today?

Gold glasses frames have come a long way from their early days as a symbol of aristocratic wealth. While silver wire frames tend to dominate professional and casual styles today, gold frames still maintain a niche popularity.

For vintage enthusiasts, gold frames remain a fun retro accessory. Vintage-inspired styles with decorative metalwork and transparent wire rims offer a classy, unique look. Wearing original vintage gold frames, though durable, is not recommended for regular use as the frames and lenses are outdated.

In the designer world, luxury brands like Cartier, Versace, and Dior create embellished gold frames that capture old Hollywood glamour. Some incorporate precious gems and stones for truly decadent accessories. For the average consumer, however, these styles come with an exorbitant price tag.

More affordable gold frames exist from budget-friendly brands like Zenni, Warby Parker, and Eyebuydirect. Here, gold frames take on modern shapes like rectangles and wayfarers. They offer a subtle touch of luxury. Gold color also pops against tortoiseshell patterned plastic and streaked acetate frames.

For those trying to achieve a flashy hip-hop or celebrity inspired look, gold aviators and thick gold frames add personality. But gold frames also suit more reserved personalities when chosen in elegant shapes. Overall, gold frames work best for making a statement rather than blending in.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Gold Frames

Here are some factors to think about when selecting gold eyeglass frames:

Factor Considerations
Skin tone Gold flatters warm, yellow undertones best. Silver/platinum complement cool undertones.
Face shape Oval, round, and heart faces suit ornate gold frames. Angular faces pair best with rectangular gold frames.
Personal style Gold suits bold, retro, and creative trends but may overwhelm a minimalist aesthetic.
Special needs For sensitive skin, choose lightweight gold plating over pure gold. Sturdier frames suit active lifestyles.
Budget Pure gold and gem-encrusted frames are very expensive. Gold plating offers luxury at lower prices.

Caring for Gold Eyeglass Frames

Gold frames require some basic maintenance to keep them looking shiny and scratch-free:

  • Use a microfiber cloth to gently wipe fingerprints and smudges daily.
  • Clean occasionally with eyeglass lens spray or solution and a soft brush.
  • Avoid getting perfumes, creams, and hair products on the frames.
  • Store in a hard eyeglass case when not in use.
  • Use retainers or cords to keep glasses secure.
  • Have loose screws or parts tightened by an optician.
  • Polishing solutions can buff out superficial scratches.

With occasional cleaning and care, gold eyeglass frames can maintain their luster for many years.


Gold eyeglasses have gone in and out of fashion over the decades. But today they maintain popularity for those looking to make a glamorous statement. Vintage gold frames offer retro flair. Designer brands provide opulent luxury. And affordable gold frames add subtle metallic pops of color.

Gold frames are bold yet versatile accessories. They can express luxury, sparkle, creativity, vintage charm, and youthful fun. With a style to suit every personality, gold glasses remain a fashionable choice that transcends fleeting trends.