26 Popular Art Deco Jewelry History – A Story Of Flappers, Industry And Luxury

Like many 20th century movements, Art Deco is celebrated for its undeniable impact on the Modern Art movement. Unlike many other styles of art, however, Art Deco conveys an eclectic range of inspiration, from age-old antiquities to contemporaneous genres. Ironically, by combining such an array influences, artists working in this style crafted a one-of-a-kind movement that appeared to be entirely original. Art Deco is a modernist movement that emerged in 1920s Europe. While many different aesthetics compose the movement—including different color palettes and a range of materials, from ebony and ivory to wood and plastic—it is most frequently characterized by streamlined, geometric forms contrasted by rich ornamentation and linear decoration.

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The museum is now exhibiting Masterpieces of French Art Deco,which showcases a dress ornament of jade, onyx, diamonds, enamel and platinum, designed in 1923 by Georges Fouquet.

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Michel Perinet: ‘Art Nouveau was not intended for mere mortals, especially when it came to the jewellery. Originally, the women who ordered and wore these pieces were actresses like Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923), grandes cocottes  like La Belle Otero (1868-1965) and some worldly socialites like Countess Grefulhe (1860-1952). The general public eschewed it.’

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Deco Jewelry is may be confused with Costume Jewelry. Find Tips on Identifying Costume Jewelry Here.

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As for the names to know, there were two categories of jewelers during the Deco period: the bijoutiers-artistes and the bijoutiers-joailliers. The former category included jewelers like Després, Gérard Sandoz, Raymond Templier, René Boivin, Suzanne Belperron and Paul Brandt. The Bijoutiers-joailliers encompassed large jewelry houses such as Boucheron, Mauboussin, Tiffany & Co., Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels and Black, Starr & Frost.

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“Of all the periods, Art Deco’s value has held its own the best,” says Ann Lange, vice president and director of jewelry at the auction house Doyle in New York, of the era that began in the teens of the 20th century and lasted into the early 1940s.

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An emerald cut diamond, with its simple, clean and symmetrical outline evokes the understated elegance we often associate with the era. It was a popular choice in its day and is making a comeback – thanks in part to celebrities like George Clooney and Brad Pitt who gave their spouses emerald cut engagement rings. Clarity and color are two important quality characteristics for this style of cut. Learn what to look for in an emerald cut diamond.

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Because of its classic beauty and gorgeous design elements, Art Deco-style jewelry is timeless. Whether you’re a fan of vintage jewelry or simply love the look of this specific era, you’ll find that these pieces work well in your jewelry wardrobe.

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‘This symbolism is not found in all the jewellery designs or with all the plants depicted, but the symbolic tendency is conspicuous. Lalique’s jewels were not merely decorative — they had meaning, even if that meaning can be difficult to interpret.

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Evelyne Possémé, Head of the Ancient and Modern Jewellery department at Musée des Arts Décoratifs: ‘Art Nouveau is indeed an art total, but one of the greatest triumphs from that era is jewellery, particularly thanks to those such as René Lalique, Henri Vever and Georges Fouquet.’

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Equipped with the information here at Antique Jewelry Investor, specifically about identfying Art deco jewelry, you will be in a better position to acquire investment worthy genuine Art Deco jewels to either add too, or to commence your very own antique jewelry collection.

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Jacques Cartier designed and produced some of the most beautiful and important Art Deco jewelry. He was fascinated by Islamic art, and had many volumes of finely bound books on the subject in his library. He based some of his earliest designs on these bindings, and on the imagery that he found within. Beautiful “jardinières”, baskets of rounded vases filled with lush flowers were exquisitely translated into jewelry and objects of every description using diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds, often with touches of enamel. Fountains, birds and animals were given similar treatments. Turquoise, believed by Muslims to protect the wearer from evil, became newly popular. Other jewelers certainly took note of this, and also began using these Eastern elements in their designs.  Van Cleef and Arpels, Tiffany & Co., Mauboussin, Boucheron …virtually every jewelry house seized this wealth of fresh and exotic imagery and made it their own.

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Marie starts with plates of hand-blown glass in an opaque white that is rare and particularly striking. Tiny air bubbles which appear in the blowing process play with the light and create variations in the intensity of the color.

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Bold color contrasts were a signature style of the Art Deco era. Jewelry designers achieved dramatic results using diamonds with rubies, sapphires, and emeralds. They also relied on coral, jade, lapis lazuli, and turquoise to make colorful color contrasts.

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Understanding what makes a piece Art Deco can help you build a great jewelry wardrobe from this era. Whether you’re purchasing antique pieces or collecting modern reproductions, you’ll find that most items from the 1920s and 1930s include some or all of the following characteristics.

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GIA alum Sabine Getty clearly admires Art Deco. Her ring is made of simple geometric shapes using 0.16 carats of diamonds and 0.43 carats of yellow sapphire. Courtesy: 1stdibs

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If you see a piece in our collection titled “antique style” it often means that we have taken antique or vintage gemstones and recreated some of our favorite designs using styles and techniques that were popular in the Victorian, Edwardian and Art Deco eras.  Although our focus at Filigree Jewelers is on antique, vintage and estate pieces; we often find items of jewelry that are beyond restoration. We relish in re-purposing the gemstones and diamonds into jewelry that evokes a vintage or antique feel. It is luxury up-cycling at it’s best.  Even some of our modern pieces are constructed with vintage gemstones!

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Women celebrated their postwar success by piling on the jewelry. Evening fashion of fluid, low belted, sleeveless tunics, was perfect for showcasing multiple Art Deco bracelets. Platinum and diamonds were again in vogue but the Art Deco jewelry style was more geometric and linear than the earlier Edwardian “belle époque” jewels. Jewelry sales in the 1920’s were stellar. This reflected not only the affluence of the general public but the trend for unbridled consumerism. Endless variations of Art Deco bracelets were designed and referred to as plaque, flexible link, box, strap, band or straight-line.

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Animals and people inhabit the world of 1920s and 30s costume jewelry, from gentle playful fawns and playful plastic Scotty dogs to paste, turquoise and Marchasite Chinamen and elegant, gilt metal cloche hatted vamps.

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Be wary of jewelry with the description “Art Deco style.” If there is no indication that this item was specifically made in the early 20th century, you are likely looking at a reproduction.

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An Art Nouveau diamond, enamel and glass ‘Hawthorn’ brooch, by René Lalique, 1899-1901. 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 287,500

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Exquisite hand-painted glass jewelry box designed and handmade by Marie Grillo, using the Tiffany technique. Add our Art Deco Jewelry Box to your treasures! Read more

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Some of the finest pieces of art deco jewelry of the 1920s was made by Cartier, who combined superb stones with excellent design and stringent quality control.

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Here original jade carvings were often incorporated with delicate borders of diamonds and geometric bands of black onyx.

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Mid-Century jewelry is dated between 1950 till 1960. During this time the economy was booming and so was the love affair of large diamonds. Major jewelry houses were advertising and appealing to the masses. DeBeers’ iconic “Diamonds are Forever” campaign created a buzz around diamonds again and every woman had to have one. Hollywood continued to play a large role in the increase of jewelry designs. The 1953 movie Gentlemen Prefer Blondes staring Marylyn Monroe and Jane Russell placated to the trend with the infamous “diamonds are a girls best friend” musical number. Marylyn Monroe was simply dripping in diamonds. Designers such as Tiffany and Co, Cartier and Van Cleef and Arpels created massive diamond collars, bracelets and clip earrings. Platinum was once again available after World War II and was the preferred metal on choice in the 1950’s. Later in the period, textured, finished gold was gaining in popularity. Some of the most popular designs late in the Retro time period were rope gold necklaces, bark finished bracelets and whimsical animal brooches.

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This led to the development of  “pavé”  work in which the stones could be set so closely to each other as to create, literally a “paved” surface of diamonds in which the settings are all but invisible. The effect was a solid area of sparkle. Colored stoned could also be “pavé” set, creating an unbroken expanse of shimmering color, with no metallic intrusions to disturb the eye.

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