Art Deco Jewellery - Key Style Features
One of the most popular and sought after types of vintage jewellery originated from the Art Deco Period. Throughout the 1920’s and 30’s both fine and fashion jewellery reflected the design trends of the Art Deco style where good design and use of colour was appreciated as much as the inherent value of the materials.
Two specific stages determined the Art Deco designs of this era .The period before 1925 saw opulent stylised figurative designs using precious materials such as diamonds and platinum. After 1925 the influences of mass production, African and Cubist art resulted in more geometric and abstract designs.
A demand for elaborate jewellery in the post war period resulted in ostentatious jewellery set with large precious stones and hardstones. Luxury jewellery companies such as Paris firms Boucheron and Cartier produced exquisitely crafted pieces in expensive materials most notably “the all white jewellery” which combined diamonds and platinum. Less expensive items became more evident after the 1930s and included large and colourful hardstones such as topaz, aquamarine and citrine. Costume jewellery in plastic, marquisite, paste and bright enamel on metal were a popular fashion trend. The wearer could update their costume jewellery with each new outfit due to the relatively inexpensive nature of the jewellery.
African Art had a strong influence on avant-garde art in Europe and eventually this filtered down to jewellery design in the mid 1920’s. Stylised face mask pendants in enamel and silver were an example of the influence of African Art on jewellery of this period. These were in contrast to the geometrical designs which were more typical of Art Deco jewellery of this time.
The slim , long outline of 1920’s style required distinctive types of jewellery. Long beaded necklaces using carnelian, ivory, coral, amber, and pearls, or plain chains with pendants were popular as they complemented the dropped waist typical of 1920’s dresses. Long necklaces of pearls or jewels including a tassel at the end (called sautoirs) were favoured. The trend for sleeveless dresses meant that decorative and elaborate bangles worn on the upper arms were popular as were bandeaux worn around the head. Long drop earrings were revived as they complemented the new short bob hairstyles of the 1920’s. The earrings often incorporated jewelled tassels to provide movement. Cocktail rings with large and chunky designs were widely worn. Geometrical designs were seen in all forms of jewellery during this period as oblongs, triangles, and linked circle designs came to the fore.
The wearing of brooches either on the coat collar or on evening dresses was very popular and one of the items that typified the Art Deco Style was the double-clip brooch. Clips were generally fabricated in pairs so that the wearer had the option of wearing them on either side of a necklace or lapel. The clips were varied in style and materials. A variety of geometric, floral or figurative designs could be seen and the clips and were made from various materials ranging from plastics up to precious gems. The variety of material meant that brooches were made to cater to all tastes and price ranges.
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