Art Deco Style in Jewelry

The birth of a new style

The term art deco is an abbreviation for the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs Industriels et Modernes in Paris. The new modernist style along with craftsmanship and finest materials impressed the public and caught on. It is the most comprehensive of the recent styles that influenced the development of architecture, design and fashion of the first half of the twentieth century.

Signs of Art Deco

Art Deco was born in the center of Paris and between the two world wars. Its task was to recreate the myth of luxurious life for the “lost generation”. This is the era of jazz, endless parties and emancipation. The former softness of the Art Nouveau lines was replaced by geometric shapes. Behavior and fashion became more frank. Art Deco is synonymous with celebration. Loose, deliberate and brash. Jewelers used straight lines and angles, a combination of bright shades. The most expensive and rare materials. In short, Art Deco jewelry is:

  • architectural and technocratic
  • The parallel popularity of bright colors and white style
  • Symmetry and geometry
  • Exotic and Asian motifs.
  • Platinum and white gold.
  • Combination of enamel, precious and semiprecious stones.
  • long earrings, sotuars, head jewelry
  • brooches in the form of steam engines, cars, etc.
  • bracelets and wristwatches

Art Deco: variety and development

Skyscrapers, the latest technology, constructivism and cubism, surrealism and expressionism. Tastes of the people of the Art Deco era form a huge variety of jewelry. Diaghilev seasons in Paris, travels and borrowings from other cultures make a revolution in jewelry design of the twentieth century. Cartier launches a line of Egyptian-style jewelry after the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922. His interest in Africa introduced ivory, crocodile skin and rare woods. Jewelers skillfully combine them with precious stones and pearls. Egyptian, Assyrian, Persian, Indian, Japanese, Greek and Chinese motifs are combined.

Pioneers of the Art Deco style

Art Deco gave birth to a range of iconic jewelry. Van Cleef & Arpels and Cartier are considered pioneers of the style. Experiments led to innovation and discovery. Stones are cut and polished by hand to accentuate color and popular geometry. Van Cleef & Arpels invented the invisible setting of the stones. The stones are arranged closely together. This solid coating, similar to a mosaic, hid the metal.

Innovations in jewelry art

New ways of cutting diamonds appeared. And also began to use bright semiprecious stones. From turquoise and coral to lapis lazuli and black onyx. In 1926 Van Cleef & Arpels produced a trio of bracelets. They are made of gold with palladium coating. Instead of diamonds they are decorated with citrines, amethysts and peridots. Yellow gold and platinum ceased to be the main metals. White gold became popular, and the design was valued more than the cost of materials. You could say jewelers split into two groups. For the jewelers-craftsmen, design was above all important. And the jewelers in the famous Parisian houses created pieces with an emphasis on the size and authenticity of the stone.

Art Deco – the age of pearls

Pearls were beginning to be artificially cultivated. The cult ornament of the 1920s – flowing strands of pearls. Gabrielle Chanel turned them into a classic. At the neckline on the back, over the shoulder or in a few turns on the arm is worn sotuire (fr. sautoire). It is a long chain with stones and pendants. Fashionable women also choose headbands with inlays, long earrings, wide bracelets and large rings.

A riot of colors and “white art deco”

Art Deco jewelry was considered a golden age for Cartier. The Tutti Frutti collection brought it success in the 1920s. Jacques Cartier was inspired by a trip to India and used Indian engraved sapphires, rubies and emeralds in the collection. At the end of April 2020. Sotheby’s sold the Cartier Tutti Frutti bracelet for $1.34 million. This is the highest price for a jewel sold at auction online. The masters of the house also came up with the “white art deco”. It is a combination of white platinum and diamonds with black onyx and black enamel. The white platinum and black onyx and black enamel were named the “panther skin”, and the black wildcat became Cartier’s principal symbol. This motif is also used for wristwatches. At the same time colored stones were used for brooches in the form of vases of fruit or baskets of flowers, typical of the time.



Jewelry has been a huge passion of mine since my earliest years. Spending a lot of time looking at and studying them, I learned a lot of interesting things. Now I am ready to share this knowledge with you on the pages of my blog about jewelry. Nina

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