The 1920s and the 1930s revealed a revolution in the popular decorative art style which developed to define this time, aptly named ‘Art Deco’. It came after the nature inspired designs of the Edwardian and Art Nouveau periods, leaving behind floral feminine and entering into 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 really began in the workshops of French master jewellers, or ‘Joaillerie’ as they were named, due to their use of gemstones. 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, and, like a painting, was signed by their skilful makers. Some of the most exquisite jewels were created by names such as Maison Fouquet, Belperron, Mauboussin, Boivin, Cartier, Boucheron and Van Cleef & Arpels. We are extremely lucky to have a range of Art Deco jewellery from these top French jewellery houses in our collection, which illustrate this decorative style beautifully.
With this new style came new shapes and cuts of stones. Geometry was everywhere, with sharp edges, lines and steps, which welcomed the emerald cut, step cut, baguette cut and asscher cut. These cuts of stones provided a stronger, bolder look with an undeniable elegance and beauty. These were often worked into pieces and motifs inspired by civilizations in Africa and China of baskets, flowers, and decorative vases. Ancient Egypt and the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922 inspired Art Deco jewellers, along with carved emeralds from India and lapis lazuli scarabs. Abstraction was prominent, with sculptural feminine curves opposing straight, crisp lines.
Platinum was the metal of choice providing strength and malleability. It was perfect for intricate detailing and was the best background for setting exquisite coloured stones, 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.
It was towards the end of the 1930s that Art Deco began to diminish. This was mainly due to the outbreak of the Second World War. Across the span of almost two decades, Art Deco jewellery varied from 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 became one of the most recognisable 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 is incredibly wearable and timeless. Find the perfect piece of Art Deco jewellery among our collection at Berganza.