Take one look at how popular estate jewelry is – a lot of people come into our store and bee-line it straight to our estate section – and you’ll find that most people are absolutely fascinated by jewelry from different eras. One of the most iconic periods of jewelry design, and many people’s favorite jewelry era, was in the early 20th century during the “Roaring 20’s” and into the 1930’s. Dubbed the Art Deco period, these were times of opulence and the jewelry styles of the era reflected this carefree and flamboyant attitude.
This was a time that was influenced by the end of World War I. During the war, women were forced to enter the workforce and their fashion changed with it. Gone were the days of corsets and restrictive garments and in came shorter hemlines, sleeves and haircuts. This new post-war woman had a sense of freedom not just reflected by her more provocative fashion, but also in her daily activities. She wore makeup, smoked cigarettes, drank cocktails, played sports and danced all night long. She was even allowed to vote!
Art Deco jewelry was a stark departure from the jewelry that defined the previous era, Art Nouveau. While Art Nouveau pieces focused on organic motifs and free flowing patterns, Art Deco was defined by geometric lines, symmetry and bold colors. The era embraced industrialization and the geometric designs reflect the marriage of art and industry.
Common gemstones you’ll see in Art Deco jewelry include colorless diamonds paired with stones that encouraged dramatic contrast, like bold colored rubies, emeralds, blue sapphires and black onyx. Most pieces you will find were set in platinum because of its color, strength and malleability for setting of precise geometric designs. New cuts of stones were being discovered during this period because they were used to bring these architectural designs and shapes to life. Cultured pearls also appeared on the market in the 1920’s and were a major part of jewelry fashions.
We have some new pieces in our cases that reflect Art Deco influence and we’ve also had several genuine Art Deco estate pieces in our possession, too. It’s easy to see the appeal of the geometric lines and vivid colors – but hard to choose a favorite!