The Art Deco period is one of the most glamorous and influential of all time, with its bold geometric designs still just as popular today as they were back in the 1920s and 30s.
As the world began to recover from the First World War, people discovered a new found lust for life. Dance halls were packed with flapper girls and dapper gentlemen, entertained by the jazz of Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington. It was a time of excess, decadence and sparkle. Lots of sparkle. From the Chrysler Building to the Empire State, Rockefeller Plaza to The Grand Rex, Art Deco architecture was nothing short of amazing, filling skylines with shining gold, chrome and elaborate curves.
The style of the period was reflected in everything from paintings to fashion, and of course, jewellery was centre stage. If you’ve got a passion for fashion, it doesn’t get much better than Art Deco jewellery.
Coco Chanel was becoming a big name in Paris by the early 20’s, by which time she was also creating jewellery to sell in her luxurious boutiques. Other big name designers of the time included La Cloche Freres, Jakob Bengel and Fouquet, who were all combining influences from around the world to create show stopping pieces of jewellery.
Influential artists of the time included Rene Lalique, Tamara de Lempicka, Picasso and Frida Kahlo, and the Cubist and Futurist styles moved seamlessly into jewellery design too.
Art Deco jewellery often features platinum and chrome, with bold opaque stones including jade, coral, lapis lazuli, onyx and turquoise. Rubies and pearls were also hugely popular, as well as the new brightly coloured plastics emerging at the time. Bold patterns, straight lines, arcs and triangles all came together to make a unique look that’s stood the test of time.
The Art Deco period was greatly influenced by travel and history, notably Ancient Egypt. The discovery of King Tutankhamum’s tomb in 1922 sent the fashion world into a frenzy, and everyone in high society was desperate to show off their status with Egyptian motifs and symbols.
Dared to be different
Art Deco jewellery covers everything from opulent brooches to bangles, cocktail rings to pearl and sautoir necklaces. It was also common to find socialites of the 20s and 30s smoking long cigarettes in gem encrusted holders or carrying bejewelled purses with tassels that complimented the shimmy and shake of their dresses.
Art Deco jewellery is not for the faint of heart. It’s for women who like to make a statement and aren’t afraid to stand out. Like the flapper girls who broke the mold of what it meant to be a woman, chopping off their locks in favour of sharp bobs, women who wear Art Deco dare to be different. And since it’s arguably the most exciting period in the history of fashion, if you own a piece of jewellery from this era you’ll be part of something really special. So, brush off your gladrags, find your dancing shoes and get ready to dazzle.