“Art Deco reflected the plurality of the contemporary world. Unlike its functionalist sibling, Modernism, it responded to the human need for pleasure and escape.”
Do you remember the classic cheetah by Cartier? This luxury brand is using the movement of the cheetah to present its own interpretation of Art Deco jewelry.
For the first time, speed and power was showcased in jewelry, breaking down the the tradition of jewelry design.
Art Deco Period: Art Deco Versus Art Nouveau
Back in the early 20th century, Europe was undergoing a profound social transformation. After a terrible war, everything seemed to have restarted from scratch and a new world was born in the ashes.
People came out of the gloom of death, and the revolution in thoughts was gradually weakening the influence of culture bound by traditions and as a result, a new art emerged.
Art Deco originated from the Art Nouveau movement at the end of the nineteenth century in Paris.
Art Nouveau was a popular style pursued by the middle class in Europe and the United States at that time. Its main feature was those elegant and sensitive lines found in nature, called Organic Lines, such as the shape of flowers and animals.
Artists of this school especially preferred to use lines to depict vine plants and oriental cultural patterns, such as Japanese ukiyoe.
Characterisctis of Art Deco
But unlike Art Nouveau, Art Deco seems to favor mechanical, geometric and pure decorative lines to express the beauty of the Industrial Age.
Typical patterns include fan-shaped radial sunlight, gear-shaped or streamlined lines, symmetrical and simple geometric composition and so on.
In terms of colors, Art Deco uses a lot of bright and contrasting colors, with a strong visual impact, such as bright red, scary pink, electrical blue, alarming yellow, metallic gold or silver white and so on.
In the later period, with archaeological discoveries, objects or totems of ancient cultures such as the Far East, the Middle East, Greece, Rome, Egypt, and Maya have also become inspirations for Art Deco,
Such as funerary items of Egyptian tombs, African wood carvings, and Greek classical column architecture and so on.
Diamond Multi-Shape Drop Earrings by Ross-Simons, $221.
Art Deco is diverse and full of charm. To be brief, its main feature is the regular repetition of a simple geometric pattern, which eventually forms a more complex but highly rhythmic pattern that brings strong visual impacts.
What makes Art Deco Jewelry so special?
1. Bold colors as a key element in design.
The 1920s that gave birth to Art Deco jewelry was not gray-toned era. In fact, these colorful jewelry pieces successfully captured the vibrant and optimistic mood of European society at that time.
Art deco jewelry emphasizes the use of bright, solid, contrasting and metallic colors to create a gorgeous visual feast, which is actually a major breakthrough for jewelry design.
2. A clear reference to exotic cultures.
Within 10 years after archaeologists discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922, a new trend of Egyptian decoration swept the jewelry industry.
As European and American capitalism expanded outwards and explored the rest of the world, Art Deco was also getting influenced by Persian, Indian, and Far Eastern cultures.
Inspired by these ancient exotic cultures, large amounts of exquisite Art Deco works were born.
3. Geometric symmetry with sharp edges.
Combined with the mechanical aesthetics that emerged in the industrial era, Art Deco jewelry emphasizes mechanical and purely decorative lines, mostly using geometric shapes or polylines to decorate.
CZ Openwork Zigzag Cuff Bracelet in Sterling Silver, $124.
However, this inspiration is still originated from ancient Egyptian and ancient Indian culture in Central and South America.
In addition, Art Deco jewelry, which is characterized by a typical symmetrical design, replaced the old cumbersome jewelry style, with rigor, stability and modernity.
Although its design is relatively simple and regular, it did set the trend and bring about a brand new concept.
4. New cutting techniques.
During this period, innovative gem-cutting techniques such as square, rectangular, kite-shaped have injected new vitality into jewelry design.
Amethyst and White Topaz Drop Earrings With Black Enamel, $184.
Before the 20th century, gemstones were mainly cut into round, oval, pointed oval, pear, etc. The pursuit of geometry of Art Deco prompted a variety of geometric cuts in gemstones, such as square, rectangular, kite shape, bullet shape, triangle, half moon, swing shape and so on.
Among all brands, Tiffany has made an important contribution to this progress.
5. New materials: color, color, color!
During the Art Deco period, platinum was the most widely used metal. In terms of stones, designers preferred diamonds and colored gemstones, especially the most important three: sapphire, emerald and ruby.
Blue and White Topaz Drop Earrings, $221.
All these efforts to make the pieces bright, shining and colorful! Of course, as mentioned above, new fancy cuts were also invented to show the unparalleled beauty of such gemstones.
Regarding purchases, Art Deco Jewelry or Style?
First of all, as editors we want to remind you that there are two types of Art Deco jewelry on the market: first one is “jewelry made during the Art Deco period “, which means antique jewelry;
The latter is “Art Deco style jewelry”, which refers to the new reproduction of “jewelry made during the Art Deco period”.
The former “jewelry made during the Art Deco period” is often found in auctions, usually expensive and requires strong financial resources.
It is worth noting that this type of antique jewelry usually has some wear and flaws due to the passage of time or improper preservation of its predecessors.
This is unavoidable and normal, and it is also one of the basis for identification.
If you mind this then it is not recommended for you to collect antique Art Deco jewelry. Of course, there are well-preserved ones too, but such are is very precious.
The latter “Art Deco style jewelry” can be found in high-end brands. Although they are usually a replica or a resign, they are still stunning with such a distinctive style and therefore worth buying.
Pink Sapphire and White Zircon Hoop Earrings, $139.
Cultured Pearl and Diamond Multi-Strand Bracelet, $337.
Aquamarine and Diamond Drop Earrings, $372.
Diamond Cluster Earrings in 18kt Gold Over Sterling, $221.