Art Deco was a movement in decorative arts and architecture that originated in the 1920’s and developed into a major influence in western Europe and the United States during the 1930’s. The term “Art Deco” is taken from the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, which was a World’s Fair held in Paris, France, in 1925, although the name was not used until after the 1960’s in reference. The style at the time, was referred to as Style Moderne.
In August 1925, Vogue magazine commented in an article: “The wealth in jewellery continues in Paris, and Diamonds are the foundation. These are combined with Emeralds, Rubies and Sapphires – the royal family of gems – in brooches, bracelets, earrings and necklaces “
The future has arrived
The time “between the wars” has been characterised as a time of grandiose displays of opulence in society. Now, it was catalysed with a radical design change from the naturalistic and fantastical art nouveau, to a fascination with the exotic, combined with stream-lined mechanics and fantasies of the future. An important player in the movement, French designer, Paul Uribe wrote a critique; “sacrifice the flower on the altar of Cubism and machinery of progress”, in 1930 and sure enough, although the stylised forms representing nature continued, abstract schemes began to dominate in design. The style of the jewellery designs were inspired heavily by modern architectural forms and machinery. The most exotic features intertwined with these influences were elements inspired by Indian jewellery, Chinese and Japanese art and Egyptian iconography. The ‘exotic’. Dense concentrations of precious stones set in white gold or platinum, clear geometric lines, black or vivid colours, polished cabochons, strung one next to the other stylishly combining curved and straight lines.
Art Deco Fashion Revolution
Hair styles changed radically as well. Women opted for short boyish bob cuts, to go with the straight lines and boyish silhouettes of the clothing. This led to a trend of long earrings, extremely long pearl necklaces and long chains with large, stylised pendants.
Bracelets made a breakthrough not only in the wrist but were also fashionably to worn as upper armbands.
New inspirations from the distant past
Today there is an abundance of Art Deco inspired jewellery designs. Using a range of silver or white gold, often with good amounts of Marcasite, Spinel, Onyx, Chalcedony or Jade as well as white Topaz or other transparent stones.