The roaring 20s was a time when society sparkled and fashion changed to be more flamboyant, glamorous, and glitzy. This decade, for many people, brings to mind Gatsby-type parties and also the emergence of jazz music, mass culture, and “new women.” Society in its entirety changed, and this showed in the fashion styles that went against all the rules, and can still be seen, decades later. This is the time when art deco jewellery was born.
What, Exactly, Is Art Deco Jewellery?
After the Great War, there were enormous moves into the modern era in the United States. Cultures changed rapidly, including politics, certain aspects of life, social matters, as well as fashion trends.
Art Deco styles, somewhat inspired by society’s new love of architecture and technology, started appearing. Designs, with their clear-cut, geometric and angular lines, resembled the new exhilarating spirit and cosmopolitan chic of that new culture.
The name “Art Deco” is derived from the Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, an exposition that took place in Paris in 1925, to demonstrate Art Deco, the innovative new movement in the world of design and jewellery, among many others.
More than 16 million people from all over the world visited the exhibition to experience this fascinating, modern style!
The height of 1920s glamour was represented by utter abandon and opulence. Fashion trends now became chic and extremely feminine. Streamlined and decorative, this style was the aesthetic culture of the time and became what we know it to be these days, American Art Deco.
Jewellery design changed drastically for many years after the birth of the Art Deco movement. This new type of design introduced itself with distinctive lines of symmetry and geometry, both front and centre. This resulted in a clean style, rather than the more natural styles of previous designs, yet the sparkling, brilliantly-coloured gemstones were still used in Art Deco jewellery to create an eye-popping statement.
What Materials Were Used In Art Deco Jewellery?
The materials that were used to create Art Deco jewellery pieces, as well as the designs, echoed the modern world. Most of the jewellery from that period was created with either platinum or white gold.
Platinum was a fairly new material for use in jewellery production. The metal was used for the first time in the Edwardian era, which was an enormous advance in technology at that time. Platinum was quite scarce before the 19th century, and jewellery makers still had to learn if it was capable of being worked.
After much testing and studying, platinum was exploited to the fullest and was used extensively in jewellery making, primarily because of its flexible work ability.
In 1915, rising platinum costs prompted the use of white gold, to meet the public demand for jewellery made from light-coloured metals.
Aft Deco jewellery made from yellow gold is scarce because it was deemed to be old-fashioned.
With the Art Deco trend, came the incorporation of only superior quality diamonds, jade, as well as other precious stones. Innovative gem cuts and facets of these made the stones even more luminous and brilliant than before Colour, too, was a top priority, which made classic stones like ruby, sapphire, and ruby, extremely popular.
Interpretations Of Art Deco Styles
There is a wide variety of Art Deco styles around, including the depictions of various themes and the emphasis on distinctive features.
For some people, interpretation relates to the accents and vibrant colours, while for others, it means highlighting the graceful and intrinsic value of the jewellery. On the other hand, many modern, astute jewellers, feel that interpretation relates to large-scale pieces and gemstones that reflect the free-flowing personality and exhilaration of culture during the 1920s.
Fine jewellery of the Art Deco era also featured non-western motifs prominently, with East and South Asian motifs also proving to be extremely popular. Jewellery pieces that were non-western inspired, frequently included a variety of colours and materials, with magnificent pieces being made with jade, or outstanding red and black enameling.
What Is It About Art Deco Jewellery Makes It So Special?
Exciting new fashions, many innovative technologies, as well as the flapper girl, were all characteristics of the glamorous Art Deco period.
With Europe and the USA picking up the pieces after the horrors of the Great War, and with the roaring 20s in the background, a new zest for life and diamonds was born. People realised just how short life could be and went out of their way to enjoy it, by dancing the night away at jazz clubs, dressed in their finest outfits, and wearing the best jewellery that they could afford.
Many aspects of Art Deco jewellery, such as straight lines, bold, geometric patterns, squares, triangles, pyramids, and arcs, were inspired by architecture, and together, created elaborate and breath-taking designs.
The Art Deco period, to all intents and purposes, was the age of excess and decadence.
Fashion Accessories – accessories were the best way to exude elegance, and it was not only common, but expected too, that women of a certain class wore an abundance of opulent barrettes and brooches, and carry jewel-encrusted cigarette cases and holders,
Backless evening dresses were worn with tasselled pearl necklaces, and it was highly fashionable too, to wear bangles and cocktail rings with short-sleeved dresses.
Art Deco fashion accessories also included diamond-encrusted dangling and drop earrings, which were incredibly trendy fashion items for women with short hair.
Art Deco jewellery was perfect for women who enjoyed making a statement, and who weren’t shy to wear tiaras, asymmetrical diamond pendants, or rings set with large gemstones to dazzle the crowds!
Art Deco period pieces have now, more than ever, enjoyed an exceptionally popular comeback in the world of jewellery, with movies like The Great Gatsby glorifying the vibrant age of jazz and all the glamour that was part of it.
If the Art Deco period has given you the inspiration to add stunning pieces of jewellery to your collection, then waste no time in finding and purchasing one or two glamorous Art Deco pieces to bring out your inner flapper girl!