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The geometric Art Deco design period of the 1920s and 1930s came after the nature inspired designs of the Edwardian and Art Nouveau periods, leaving behind floral feminine and entering the world of bold and colourful. The First World War had come to an end, industry was changing and new technology was being embraced. Internationally people were ready for change and this translated directly into jewellery.
The movement began in the workshops of French master jewellers. The Parisian Exposition ‘Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes’ in June 1925, was a showcase to the world of what Art Deco encompassed – geometry, simple designs, clean lines and vibrant colours. Inspired by modern art, the jewellery was like an abstract artwork.
With this cutting edge style came new shapes and cuts of stones. Geometry was abundant, with sharp edges, lines and stepped shoulders, which welcomed the emerald-cut, asscher cut, step cut and baguette cut. These new cuts of stones provided a bolder look with clearly defined elegance and beauty. The discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in Egypt in 1922 inspired Art Deco jewellers to incorporate carved emeralds from India and lapis lazuli scarabs.
Platinum was the preferred metal, providing strength and malleability. It was perfect for intricate detailing and was the best background for setting exquisite coloured gemstones, which were an important feature of this period. Beautiful, colourful, translucent gemstones were contrasted with bright diamonds and the opaque colours of onyx, coral, jade and lapis. Revelling in colour, Art Deco announced combinations that are still used today.
Across the span of almost two decades, Art Deco jewellery varied from early ornate pieces featuring intricate metal work, through to ‘high’ Art Deco designs, of strong, overt and striking shapes. The jewellery produced in this period was of such influence that it has become one of the most easily recognisable design periods of all time.
To own an original piece of Art Deco jewellery is to own a treasure from one of the most prominent design eras in history. This jewellery is truly extraordinary in its uniqueness and timeless style.
Art Deco sapphire and diamond coronet cluster ring, circa 1925.
Art Deco sapphire and diamond coronet cluster ring. Centrally set with a rectangular step cut natural unenhanced sapphire in an open back half rubover setting with an approximate weight of 1.30 carats, further set with thirty four round eight cut diamonds in open back grain settings with an approximate combined weight of 1.00 carats, to an elegant openwork plaque form with pierced ornate gallery, open backholing, the slightly raised shoulders flowing to a solid D-shape shank. Marked platinum, numbered '464', circa 1935, accompanied by The Gem & Pearl Laboratory report #18759.