Art Deco Jewelry reflects a bold style that symbolizes an era where people refused to look back, only forward. These pieces of jewelry are popular due to their unique design that got momentum during the 1920s to 1930s. Everybody’s spirits were lifted after the ending of World War 1, the time when the world saw a giant leap in technological advancements. This increased the need for freedom, in both men and women, who saw Art Deco jewelry as one of their forms of self-expression.
As for the designs, flamboyant and dazzling pieces pictured in accordance with geometrical motifs, is how every piece of jewelry should look like. It comprises geometric motifs, one of the most defining characteristics of Art Deco jewelry. These pieces feature a variety of shapes with straight lines, streamlining this way, the modern and complex spirit of that new era.
Enjoy reading and learning more about Art Deco Jewelry origins, why the style was formed, and where you can find some of the finest Art Deco timeless designs to add to your collection.
Brief Introduction to Art Deco Origins
To this day, we can enjoy the designs of some of the most reputable jewelry mansions that got their take on Art Deco style. Tiffany & Co, Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, among others, shaped the Art Deco jewelry form with their captivating creations. As a celebration of technological advancements and modernity, Art Deco designs were a form of self expression, a sense of freedom that people embraced after World War 1. Women paid more attention to expressing their individuality, and wearing more jewelry became easier thanks to the fashion of short hairstyles, sleeveless dresses, and plunging necklaces.
But what was the inspiration that initiated such a lovely artform like Art Deco?
As already mentioned, Art Deco focuses on repeated and symmetrical geometric designs and contrasting colors. It is now widely accepted that the art movements from which Art Deco drove inspiration were Cubism with its geometric shapes, and Fauvism, with its bright colors. Never was Art Deco a definitive style, as its designs were often shaped by various inspirations, like Cubism and Fauvism, daily life occurrences, and modernism and technological advancements.
The 1925’s Paris World Fair: The International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts, named this artform as Art Deco. Deco lasted until 1939, before the start of the second world war.
The Typical Characteristics of Art Deco Jewelry – Never Again Miss a Vintage Piece
Shopping for vintage pieces is as exciting as wearing them. You never know what you will find next in your local antique store, at estate sales, or thrift shops. It always resembles the feel of searching for hidden treasures. So, if you are in search of vintage or antique Art Deco jewelry, you will need to learn a thing or two about their characteristics. The typical designs/characteristics of art deco jewelry include the following:
- Geometric Motifs
Geometric motifs are the most distinguishing feature of Art Deco jewelry. Rectangles, triangles, and octagons, among other shapes with straight lines and angles, were combined to create intricate sculptures that mirrored the era’s contemporary and streamlined character. As a focal point, symmetry in Art Deco designs created this eye-catching complex aesthetic that made them so coveted.
- Geometric Shapes in Gemstone Cuts
Thanks to developments in cutting processes, geometric shapes were also apparent in the gemstone cuts that decorated Art Deco jewelry. Marquise, emeralds, baguettes, shields, and asschers were popular gemstone forms, which were painstakingly put together to create a mosaic.
- Colorful Stones
Diamonds remained popular, although colored gemstones were also used as the centerpiece or as accents in Art Deco jewelry. Sapphires, rubies, emeralds, turquoise, coral, aquamarine, moonstone, lapis lazuli, and onyx were among the most desirable colored stones. When all of these jewels were placed together, they produced a vibrant, contrasting color scheme.
- Pave Settings
This type of setting consists of little jewels crowded together, and is commonly used to create dimension to jewelry pieces. Because it resembled a paved or cobblestone road, the French word “paved” was used to name this jewelry method.
- Enamel Technique
During the Art Deco era, enamel accents were more popular since they added substantial blocks of color or striking contrasts to jewelry. Deep reds, greens, blues, and blacks were popular enamel hues. Along with Filigree, which is explained below, enamel is a delicate jewelry making technique (basically fusing molten colored glass to metal) that few professional jewelers can successfully achieve.
- Prevalence of White Metals
Silver, white gold, and platinum, were popular in Art Deco jewelry, whereas yellow gold was no longer in center stage. At that time, the world’s largest platinum deposit was discovered in northeast South Africa in 1924, resulting in a surge in demand for the durable metal, which does not tarnish like silver. The white color prevalence led Art Deco jewelry to a sleek and modern appearance.
- Filigree Technique
This elaborate openwork in metal resembles fine lance with flowers, foliage, and swirls reflected in it. Examples that echo the overall aesthetics of the central gemstone are also common from this era. The technique is easily distinguishable due to its curly lines, which in this case, make an exception from the other typical straight motifs of Art Deco. The Filigree process demands a professional jeweler who can weave metallurgical threads together in braids and curls. These are then welded into rings, pendants, necklaces, bracelets, and other jewelry.
Keep in mind that when shopping for jewelry from the Art Deco era, there are two types of main categories these pieces fall into: Vintage or Antique. Vintage jewelry includes every piece that was created between 50 to 100 years ago. Antique pieces are those that were created over 100 years ago. They’re both valuable, although antique Art Deco jewelry is more exclusive.
Following 3000 Years Old Designs
From all the Art Deco’ inspirational sources, the “Egyptian Revival” is what stands out in particular. The Tomb of Tutankhamun (Egyptian Pharaoh who reigned from 1333 BCE until his death in 1323 BCE), was discovered in 1922 by British archeologist, Howard Carter. The tomb contained over 3000 fabolous treasures, the walls of the burial chamber were painted with colorful scenes, and other talisman jewelry and objects that would accompany the pharaon to the afterlife like chariots, canopic jars, chairs, and model boats, were all included. The news of the discovery of such a well-preserved and immensely huge treasure spread in the whole world. This also had an influence on Art Deco design motifs.
The Pharaohs’ treasures inspired new material pairings, such as lapis lazuli with gold and cornelian with turquoise. Among the ancient Egyptian motifs seen in Art Deco jewelry are lotus blooms, scarabs, pyramids, and the eye of Horus.
Shopping for Art Deco Jewelry Online – Choices are Immense
Long strings of pearls and bib necklaces decorated with gemstones were fashionable with women’s new plunging neckline dresses. The sautoir was the iconic necklace of the 1920s. Those were all amazingly long and usually adorned with a tassel or a pendant. Depending on the design of the garment, long strands of pearls and beads were worn around the neck, down the front or back. Pearl necklaces were popular both during the day and at night. They were frequently created with cultured pearls – a revolutionary new concept – and were flattering on all skin tones.
Coco Chanel introduced long earrings that moved freely to complement bob hairstyles. Pieces that swing or move with the wearer were an unconventional, but popular type of Art Deco form in jewelries. In addition to drop earrings, pieces with movement, in contrast with geometric static shapes, involved a hanging piece that swings from the main design.
Pendants were a popular aspect of Art Deco jewelry. Designs were frequently geometric, with patterns and materials influenced by Chinese, Egyptian, and Indian cultures. Tassels or fringes dangled from the end of the pendants, in keeping with the tubular, fringed garments of the time. Pendants were hung from chains, which were typically studded with diamonds and pearls, or silk threads. They’d dangle at different lengths depending on the outfit they were accompanying.
Due to the popularity of sleeveless dresses, large and heavy bracelets with various jewels were used to create intricate patterns that could be easily noticed. Geometric patterns were one of the defining qualities of bracelets and bangles originating from this era.
Cocktail rings had a center gemstone cut in a fashionably geometric design that was surrounded by a plethora of accent stones of all shapes and hues. Filigree work, cabochon-cut colored gemstones, pavé ring settings, and calibre-cut gemstones – these are all typical characteristics that made Art Deco rings stand out.
Were a must-have accessory, whether worn on a cap or a dress. Numerous Art Deco motifs, techniques, and styles were used. Clip brooches became fashionable in the 1930s and were frequently worn in pairs that may or may not have had pins or frames. This allowed them to be worn as one bigger brooch or separately either side of a dress, for example.
Another Form of Art Inspired By The Need For Freedom
Art Deco jewelry is part of the whole wave of change that the new Art Deco Movement brought. If you’re a lover of classic glamor, art deco jewelry is a must-have. With its aspects of design, from architecture to dazzling gems, no wonder why this form of art defined the Roaring Twenties.