It makes sense that we’re big fans of Art Deco jewellery, although we’re aware we might be a little bit biased. Since we are such fans of the early 20th century beauties, however, we decided to put together a few of the reasons why we’re so keen on it. That way, you can learn a bit more about it, and maybe you’ll end up being as excited about all things Art Deco as we are.
Here are four reasons to love Art Deco jewellery.
1. Geometric Goodness
Following the time of Art Nouveau jewellery, jewellery designers in the 1920s and ‘30s wanted to embrace modernism. Opting to reject the traditions of Victorian and Art Nouveau jewellery, they moved away from the curving, soft shapes and styles of the past and instead created unique designs with strong, architectural shapes.
Advanced machinery meant that clean symmetry and intricate geometric designs were implemented in a way that had never been seen before, and the effect is jewellery that is bold, unique, and unmistakeable even as we approach a century since its beginnings.
One of the technological advancements that jewellery production saw during this time was the advancement of cutting. Gem cutters had developed the techniques and tools to create new gemstone cuts that hadn’t been utilised before, including sharp geometric shapes that could be set in tight mosaic settings.
2. Platinum Pleasantries
After the First World War met its end, the high-quality platinum that had been redirected to the war effort was once again available for jewellers to create beautiful pieces. The strength of platinum meant that jewellery could be intricate and gemstone-laden without sacrificing its delicacy as a piece.
Jewellery from the Art Deco period is visually light and airy, with minimal setting metal in place, allowing the visual to be dominated by the sparkling of gemstones. High quality platinum jewellery from the Art Deco period is something of a rare find today, especially pieces in exquisite condition.
The white-on-white style of platinum and diamonds together was very popular in the Art Deco period, representing the move away from chunky yellow gold pieces of jewellery from decades past. This style is most visible on brooches, rings, and bracelets.
3. Art Deco Specialties
Every era of design innovation comes with its own unique styles, technical abilities, and shapes that make it special. One of the most brilliant revolutions in the Art Deco jewellery period is invisible settings.
Developed by Van Cleef & Arpels, iconic in the jewellery world, the invisible setting – sometimes called the mystery setting – made it so that gemstones could be mounted on a piece of jewellery in a way so that the setting metal itself was hidden from view. Another piece of unique jewellery found in the Art Deco period is the double clip brooch. Often named the duette brooch, these are brooches that can be worn two ways.
The first way is as a singular, large brooch; and the second is split in two, as two smaller – usually symmetrical – brooches. Wearing a brooch was as second nature in the Art Deco period as wearing a coat, and double clip brooches epitomised versatility, wearable on jacket lapels, in hair, and even to accessorise a pair of shoes.
4. Precious Pearls
One of the main jewellery elements that carried over from Victorian jewellery and Art Nouveau jewellery was pearls. Featuring on everything from rings to Art Deco pendants, pearl jewellery was a mainstay until the late 20th century.
In the Art Deco period, oysters that held pearls were implanted with beads of mother-of-pearl in a process called cultivated pearls. The pearls that resulted from this were referred to as cultured pearls and they were a ubiquitous element of Art Deco jewellery. Pendants called sautoir pendants were often bedecked in pearls, whether they were cultured pearls, seed pearls, or another type of pearl such as baroque pearls.
Sautoir pendants hung, sometimes in many layers, very low on the body, often reaching the stomach in length. These versatile pieces were worn for day and night in a variety of ways, largely dependent on the outfit choice of the wearer. Today, they’re stunning accessories that immediately elevate any look.
These are only a few reasons why we love Art Deco jewellery, but hopefully they’re enough that you can see what is so special about it. Have we convinced you? What do you love about Art Deco jewellery?
Bethany Massey – Digital Assistant (Content Creator)
Having graduated university with a BA in English Literature and an MA in Creative Writing Bethany then joined the AC Silver team as a content creator. Bethany spends her days writing content for the AC Silver blog and other luxury goods/antique blogs.