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Avant-Garde Jewellery

The term avant-garde is a French expression meaning ‘advanced guard’. This military term once referred to the vanguard in an army, but has since been reclaimed by the arts world. It was first used in the early 1800s in France to describe art that innovates. Pushing the boundaries of what is understood and accepted, avant-garde artwork forces its viewers to broaden their horizons and explore new options for beauty and meaning.

Due to the way that avant-garde work pushes the envelope of what art is, it is often met with resistance, particularly from the masses. Avant-garde jewellery does not often receive the same degree of criticism, however.

What Is Avant-Garde Jewellery?

Jewellery that is classed as being avant-garde is comparable to many other art forms in the same style. Its purpose is to blur the line between art and jewellery. Whilst jewellery-making is widely regarded as an art form, there are conventional expectations for the appearance of the finished product. Avant-garde jewellery seeks to explore new forms, shapes, and styles for jewellery.

Intended to redefine and question what is normal, avant-garde jewellery allows designers to express themselves and make their mark on the jewellery world. Subverting expectations and conventions, avant-garde jewellery seeks to stand out as individualistic pieces of art. The use of unique gemstone cuts and asymmetrical designs in combination with a range of gemstone colours can be used to identify an avant-garde piece of jewellery.

Avant Garde Jewellery
Avant Garde Ring
Avant Garde Gold Ring

Most luxury jewellery houses such as Cartier, Bulgari, and Garrard & Co regularly release new collections of high jewellery. Their master designers work tirelessly to advance the production of jewellery, blurring the line between wearable jewels and objets d’art.

Although the avant-garde movement began close to two-hundred years ago, it continues today, with even aspects of contemporary jewellery pushing boundaries.

Avant Garde White Gold Ring
Avant Garde Sapphire Necklace
Avant Garde Dress Ring

Although avant-garde jewellery is an unending style which is constantly in a state of flux, there are styles that have been heavily influenced by the avant-garde movement. Jewellery utilising many, small stones in a combination of cuts and colours – called Tutti Frutti jewellery – is an immediate outcome of avant-garde work from the turn of the 20th century. Experimental eras of design such as the Art Deco era have also produced avant-garde jewellery which has withstood the test of time.

Avant Garde Brooch
Avant Garde Platinum Ring
Avant Garde Diamond Earrings

Despite the common reaction of resistance to most aspects of avant-garde art, jewellery in this style often manages to influence the wider jewellery world. What was once considered avant-garde a century ago is now a highly-valued piece of antique jewellery.

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