An Art Deco sapphire ring, by Raymond Templier. This lot was offered in Beyond Boundaries: Magnificent Jewels from a European Collection on 13 November 2017 at Christie’s in Geneva and sold for CHF 125,000 Art Déco Diamond Bracelet, old and single-cut diamonds, platinum, French marks, circa 1935. Length 18.5 cm. Estimate: £15,000-20,000. Offered in Important Jewels on 13 June 2018 at Christie’s in London
The Roaring Twenties were loud. The decade was defined by advances in technology, economic prosperity, artistic rebellion and of course, the flapper. Sporting a bob haircut, a cylindrical black dress and plenty of jewelry, she held a fan in one hand and a cigarette holder in another, dancing the night away at a jazz club. The party, of course, came to to a screeching halt when the stock market crashed in 1929. Yet the Art Deco period, encompassing the 1920s and ’30s, ushered in a very distinct look in jewelry design.
Let us bring you information on this most enduring and popular of jewelry styles. . . . The Art Deco period encompasses the 1920s and 1930s. The style began to emerge around 1915, just after WW1 when there was a huge amount of optimism in the air.
Revolutionary developments in stone cutting also contributed to the excitement of Art Deco design. Colored stones were now being cut “en calibré”. This was a very painstaking technique in which each stone was carefully cut into rectangles, squares, triangles, and often odd shapes to fit perfectly next to it’s neighbor, thus creating an unbroken line of color. The tops of the stoned were polished, with either subtle facets or a domed cushion surface.
An Art Deco diamond and onyx ring, by Georges Fouquet. This lot was offered in Beyond Boundaries: Magnificent Jewels from a European Collection on 13 November 2017 at Christie’s in Geneva and sold for CHF 75,000
Originally called ‘Style Moderne’, the new design aesthetic was famously showcased at the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts in Paris in 1925. And even before this, some jewellers had already been forging the new look – as Nothdruft explains: “I find Cartier the classic Art Deco jeweler. As a company they were already exploring modern styling before the Art Deco exhibition, what they went on to produce were classics of the era. Beside the jewellery, things like cigarette cases and watches were also masterpieces in miniature.”
Take extra special care when buying and identifying Art deco jewelry on-line because without close examination there’s not much way of knowing which is cheap or expensive.
An Art Nouveau opal and enamel brooch, by René Lalique, circa 1900. This lot was offered in Beyond Boundaries: Magnificent Jewels from a European Collection on 13 November 2017 at Christie’s in Geneva and sold for CHF 212,500
White metals, instead of yellow gold, geometric designs, gemstones cut to fit instead of settings made to hold a particular stone, often all three will be present. Intricate filigree was common on rings, but almost always in a symmetrical design. The Asscher cut and other geometric cuts became very popular, running alongside old European cut diamonds.
An Art Nouveau doublet opal, enamel and diamond ring, by Eugène Feuillâtre, circa 1900. This lot was offered in Beyond Boundaries: Magnificent Jewels from a European Collection on 13 November 2017 at Christie’s in Geneva and sold for CHF 27,500
Jean Fouquet was as passionate as his father about the need for newness. He was a founding member of the Union des Artistes Modernes, a group who were committed to promoting modern art. He wrote about the subject for his close friend, the architect Le Corbusier, in his journal L’Esprit Nouveau.
Geoge Jensen’s firm in Copenhagen continued to produce silver jewelry in the Art Deco era adding sharp geometric forms to it’s repertoire of stylised motifs, these in turn were imitated by a host of European jewellers.
Old high-rise buildings in cities like NY and Chicago are fine examples of Art Deco architecture. Square and straight as a die, a consistent uniform layout and not a curve in sight. All these things are what Art Deco gave to the expansion of our towns and cities in the 1920s. In terms of art and jewelry, there were certain things which made Art Deco pieces stand out.
An Art Deco ‘Tutti Frutti’ jabot pin, by Cartier, circa 1925. Sold for £40,000 on 13 June 2017 at Christie’s in London
Art Deco engagement rings recall an era of glamour and sophistication: elegant and timeless, this ring style is trending! Find out how to pick the right diamond shape, metal and more to create this style for your own engagement ring.
Here, a panel of leading experts dissect the movement, its influences and some of its greatest designers, including Lalique, Georges Fouquet, Henri Vever, Eugène Feuillâtre, Léopold Gautrait, and Lucien Gaillard.
The motifs of Art Deco Jewellery range from the sublime to the ridiculous: from stunning geometric configurations of paste to silly cherries dangling from a wooden bar. The former has borrowed its subject from deluxe jewellery of the time, but the latter, a joke, has come about more or less on its own.
Calibre cut stones are such an important part of Art Deco jewelry design. Calibre cut stones are custom gemstones that are cut specifically to fit into jewelry design. They are tightly spaced together against other stones or metal and have quite the impact on the overall design.
Mention Art Deco and most people think of architecture—from the Chrysler Building in New York City to the hotels and residences of South Beach in Miami.
‘That breaking free really begins with Art Nouveau, in the late 19th century, which emphasised, for instance, the use of the female figure in the decorative arts, inspired by the Renaissance. In the 19th century, creators rediscovered enamel techniques that would prove so important for Art Nouveau jewellery. The influence of nature was rediscovered as well, inspired by ceramicist Bernard Palissy and goldsmith Benvenuto Cellini.’