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Periods of Jewellery History - Art Deco Period

February 27, 2014
Home / The Vault / Periods of Jewellery History - Art Deco Period

Art Deco: 1920’s -1940: The Art Deco era is without a doubt one of the more popular eras of history today. Limited to not only jewellery, but furniture, cars, clothing and architecture such as the Chrysler Building all conjure up romantic thoughts of an era gone past.

Truly taking off after the Exposition Internationale des Arts Dcoratifs et Industriels Modernes, the Art Deco period is one that though brief compared to other eras such as the Georgian and Victorian eras, there was so much inspiration for the pieces drawn up from all corners of the world.

Cubism, Aztec, Futurism and after the discovery of Tutankhanum's tomb in 1922, Egyptian are all terms and styles that were used to create a style of jewellery never before seen.

All this was following the end of World War I, and with many economies around the world now in a boom time, gemstones were now being used in jewellery like never before.

Diamonds and perhaps sapphires or rubies, were being set into not only a ladies watch case, but all along the watch band right to the end.

However they were not set just randomly or without a great deal of thought. The era bought the world a style of geometry. Shapes imitating Aztec or Egyptian artwork now produced designs of great attention to detail and design.

A shape in a shapes is a term that can be used to describe the jewellery of the Art Deco period. A rectangular shaped brooch would perhaps be set with round diamonds in a triangular setting. A wonderful gemstone set bracelet will, upon closer inspection reveal a fan or grid like structure.

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This was also able to be achieved with the use of a metal being used in the manufacture of jewellery, platinum. Even though platinum had been discovered in the mid 1700's, it wasn't until the Art Deco era that it came into use for jewellery. Being a very fine and pure metal, an expert jeweller could draw the platinum into a very fine wire, one that used only the smallest of solder point and therefore be able to make very fine and precise jewellery.

Platinum also had another impact in the designs. Being a pure white in colour, the use of platinum and black materials such as onyx came to be. Platinum diamond set rings with onyx, is a style that is even today highly sought after.

Gemstones such as the more traditional diamonds and sapphires, emerald etc were not the only ones to be used. Wonderful masterpieces made with natural green jade, or the blue of Lapis Lazuli were just 2 materials of many now being used.

Enamelling too became wide spread and perfected. Of course the traditional method of enamelling was used, but also this era saw the widespread use of enamelling techniques such as guilloche and Plique-a-jour enamelling on not only jewellery, but also items such as cigarette and card cases and watches.

Famous jewellers and firms such as Cartier, Rene Lalique, Van Cleef and Arpels, Tiffany and Co, Georges Fouquet and Bucheron and are just some of the more famous and influential people and firms of the era.

Decadent and inspirational, it is an era that has left a lasting legacy to this day.

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