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Jewelry Periods – Art Deco

I  signed up for the Christies History of Jewelry Design course. The course is delivered via Canvas, an online learning platform and is facilitated by Vanessa Cron, an independent Jewelry Historian who delivers the course over 6 bite sized modules covering the History of Jewelry design from 1880 till today.   

Over the course of 6 weeks, you go on a discovery journey uncovering some facts, stories and geopolitical context around the history of jewelry design from the Belle Epoque era all the way to the contemporary period. 

In this second blog post in this series, I shed the light on Art Deco Jewelry, a personal favorite art movement!

Art Deco – 1918-1935

This was no time for joy nor a place for the wealthy. Post wold war 1, a total art movement calling for minimal, geometric and stylized ornamentation erupted. 

The Art Deco era is a very close design period that personally resonates with me as it was a total art movement influenced by Cubism, abstract art, expressionism and futurism, easily identified in the works of Picasso and George Braque. 

Post WW1, women embarked on their journey of liberation, leaving behind elaborate figure hugging corsets and full coverage clothing and took on more free flowing and shorter dresses exposing their arms. 

Flappers, were the young and free women with energetic spirits often recognized by their bob haircuts, short skirts and their outgoing lifestyle and nightlife of elaborate drinking. 

Naturally jewelry design followed the fashion trends introducing longer necklaces with chunky pendants or tassels (Sautoirs), ear pendants (dangling earrings shoulder length) and layers and layers of chunky diamond bracelets 

Color contrast, or two tone, of black and white were design staples of that era. Bold chunky domes, sculptural and flat geometry are few ways to identify jewelry from that period

Art Deco jewelry was heavily influenced by eastern cultures. The discovery of King Tut’s tomb in Egupt in 1922 created an obsession of Ancient Egyptian history, Egyptomania, that translated into iconic jewels, clocks and accessories crafted with Lapis, Turquoise, Carnelian and coral, the typical colors and gemstones used by the early Egyptians. 

Solving a problem..

Women in the 20’s struggled to find the perfect sized purse that would fit their cigarettes, lighters, lipstick and perfume which were essentials for their night routine and lifestyle at the time.

Vanity cases were introduced combing both form and functionality of an evening bag. They became part of the overall jewelry look as they were adorned with gorgeous gemstones and other colored elements that made those cases wearable art. Colored mother of pearl, enamel, lacquer and precious colored stones to create statement vanity cases with built in compartments for a lady’s essentials.  

Chinese and Japanese influence on Art Deco motifs and designs

The iconic Cartier Tutti Fruitti design was a result of the access to gemstones brought by Indian moguls and royalties making them accessible to the French Jewelry Maison resulting in these fruity and Delicious designs made of carved Emeralds, Sapphires, Rubies.

I can go on and on with the wonderful Art Deco creations, they were very futuristic and with a big personality and are a definite style inspiration for many jewelry designers to date. 



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