The Art Deco period is a stylistic movement that spanned from the 1920s to 30s and is characterised by strong lines and bold geometric forms. Taking its name from the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels that was held in Paris in 1925, the Art Deco movement marked a daring move away from the delicate garland styles of the Edwardian and Belle Époque periods. In the wake of the devastation wreaked by the Great War, a forward-looking society emerged that was keen to distance itself from the traditions of the past. It was a prosperous age, defined by a new-found freedom of expression, of emancipation, of Jazz.
Technological innovations were vital to the formation of this new style, which was directly influenced by the ground-breaking forms of the aeroplane and the skyscraper. An eclectic style, the Art Deco movement drew inspiration from many sources. Archaeological discoveries awakened an interest in Ancient Egypt and Mesoamerica, whilst African and East-Asian art also influenced designers. First appearing in jewellery in the early 1900s, by the 1920s platinum had replaced gold as the metal of choice and was used in conjunction with diamonds to achieve an ‘icy’ aesthetic. In keeping with the geometric nature of the wider Art Deco movement, square cuts, such as the asscher, emerald, baguette and step-cut, grew in prominence during this period. Unusual combinations of gemstones were highly prized, with turquoise, onyx, coral and lapis-lazuli juxtaposed with diamonds to create bold, colourful pieces.