The signature theme throughout the Art Nouveau period from 1890 to 1910 was the free-flowing line. There was a focus on nature and its associations with femininity and fertility. Favourite subjects included nature in all its forms, particularly the soft and flowing lines of female figures, weaving plant stems, flowers, insects, snakes and animals. Designs were sensuous, highly decorative, asymmetrical and were designed to enhance feminine beauty.
These romantic designs were a rebellion against the modest aesthetics of the preceding late Victorian period which brought a new naturalism and softness to jewellery.
Especially popular were toi et moi rings. Toi et moi refers to a ring with two gemstones that sit side by side or close to each other. Meaning ‘you and me’ in French, they symbolise two souls becoming one. The pairing of two stones was considered particularly romantic as the gemstones themselves carried symbolism. The combination of diamond with ruby was especially popular with the diamond symbolising love and prosperity and the ruby representing passion and devotion.
The tradition of giving toi et moi rings as a token of love dates back centuries but one very famous couple brought the style to the attention of a wider audience. In 1796, Napolean Bonaparte proposed to Joséphine de Beauharnais with a diamond and sapphire toi et moi ring. Their union was considered scandalous at the time as not only was Josephine six years older than Napoleon, she was also a widow with two children from her previous marriage. Theirs was a passionate love affair and although his parents opposed the union, they were married three weeks later.
Our collections at Berganza follow the innovation and romance seen in each time period. With ingenuity and skill seen in the craftsmanship of every piece, you are sure to find the perfect ring to mark your special occasion.