The Art Deco period is in large a product of the roaring 20’s but its influence in the world of jewellery is far reaching and still massively popular today. The Art Deco movement spanned from the 1920’s to the 1930’s across the USA and Europe, originating from the Art Nouveau era of the 1910’s.
The central style of Art Deco was symmetry, geometry and bold colours and designs. Cool white platinum often used in Art Deco jewellery emphasizes clean geometric lines and the sparkling of diamonds. Colours were used in a dramatic fashion, boldly infused to highlight contrasts such as black enamel against white platinum. Stylish but not necessarily subtle. Whilst Art Nouveau encapsulated the flowing curves of nature, with designs that mimicked the organic world such as leaves and flowers with soft pastel tones, Art Deco did the converse. Confident straight lines and bold shades countered the soft gentle aesthetic of the world of Art Nouveau. Interestingly, Art Deco took great influence from the Edwardian era of jewellery. Art Deco jewellery drew upon Edwardian techniques and popular materials such as platinum and millegrain set diamonds.
Art Deco jewellery served as a physical narrative of the political climate of the time. The 1920’s saw more liberated women turn away from the styles, traditions and principles of the Victorian age. Short hair and plunging necklines were the fashion for the outlandish women of the 20’s Art Deco scene. Art Deco jewellery fitted perfectly with these new fashions as long pendants hung within low necklines, ornate ostentatious earrings dazzled under short hair and short sleeve dresses were accessorised with glittering bangles and bracelets. Brooches, wrist watches and cocktail rings also grew in popularity and were all styled in the Art Deco way.
Many major designer names such as Rene Lalique were central to the Art Deco movement and its roots were firmly placed in France. There were however other famous names from the world of Art Deco who originated from outside of France, for example Danish designer George Jensen and of course American jewellery house Tiffany’s.
As the Second World War consumed all areas of life and depleted the economy, the luxurious world of Art Deco diminished. Nonetheless the Art Deco movement continues to inspire jewellery and fashion today.