In the mid-1920s, the Art Nouveau movement gave way to Art Deco, which was popular throughout the 1930s. Like Art Nouveau, Art Deco had strong roots in France, and while the name is thought to have been taken from L’Exposition des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Moderne in Paris in 1925, the phrase was not commonly ascribed to the aesthetic until 1968, when English art historian Bevis Hillier wrote his definitive "Art Deco of the 20s and 30s."

Unlike Art Nouveau jewelry, which celebrated organic and flowing forms, Art Deco jewelry is marked by its geometry and symmetry. In this respect, Art Deco has more in common with the highly graphic and stylized designs of Arts and Crafts than Art Nouveau. In addition, Art Deco is a product of the machine age. Thus, Art Deco designs often adhere to grids, while other examples appear to be in motion, as if their lines had been pulled by the mechanical acceleration of the object itself.

Two of the most revered jewelry designers of the period were Cartier and Van Cleef and Arpels, whose diamond-studded bracelets, ruby-flecked brooches, and sapphire earrings expressed the opulence and free-spending abandon of the 1920s. Black onyx and red coral were also popular materials, for the graphic properties if not their intrinsic value.

Of course, Art Deco jewelry did more than just reference geometry and machines. Many pieces were influenced by trends in fine art, particularly Cubism and Futurism. Indeed, in a later book called “Style of the Century,” Hillier describes Art Deco as “tamed Cubism.” In the 1930s, numerous artists contributed to the so-called "pseudo-barbaric" offshoot of Art Deco, among them Georges Braque, Jean Dubuffet, and Pablo Picasso.

Egyptian Revival designs are also sometimes lumped into the sphere of Art Deco, thanks to their repeated and radiating patterns in colored enamels as well as precious metals and stones. And Art Deco jewelry was produced in gold, perhaps nowhere better than in Pforzheim, Germany, where goldsmiths such as Emil Lettre and Theodor Wende made pendants, brooches, and other forms in graphic, geometric designs, sometimes incorporating emeralds and pearls into their work.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

All About Jewels Dictionary

All About Jewels Dictionary

This incredible reference dictionary on jewelry, from Enchantedlearning.com, is both beautiful and comprehensive. S… [read review or visit site]

Art Deco 1910-1939

Art Deco 1910-1939

This Victoria and Albert Museum has a terrific collection of Art Deco objects. On the VAM's website, you can learn … [read review or visit site]

Morning Glory Antiques and Jewelry

Morning Glory Antiques and Jewelry

Jewelry collectors, feast your eyes on this internet gem! It's a goldmine of jewelry information featuring all styl… [read review or visit site]

Decopix

Decopix

Randy Juster's survey of Art Deco imagery and reference on all things Deco. Includes pages on murals, houses, gov… [read review or visit site]

Cathy Gordon's Jewelry Gallery

Cathy Gordon's Jewelry Gallery

With its vast galleries featuring clear images of jewelry and style, this site really covers it all! Divided up by … [read review or visit site]

Modernism

Modernism

This archived overview produced by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts offers thumbnail sketches of the design moveme… [read review or visit site]

Jewel History

Jewel History

Since March of 2007, readers of Lori Ettlinger Gross’s Jewel History blog have been treated to her weekly (someti… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Old Euro Diamond Platinum 2.40ctw Antique Fancy Filigree 1930s Art Deco RingAntique Deco 10.40ct Diamond Platinum Flower Double Clip Pin 50.0 Grams Nr5ctw Old Euro Diamond Platinum Sapphire Genuine Art Deco Antique BraceletAntique Deco Diamond 5.71ct Emerald Platinum Filigree Pin Pendant 8.5 Grams NrVintage Art Deco Graduated Natural 15mm Pink Angel Skin Coral Bead Necklace 55gFine Art Deco 18ct Gold And Platinum Old Cut Diamond Cluster Ring 18k 750Superb Art Deco 14ct White Gold Apple Jade Drop EarringsAntique Old European Cut Diamond Ring Art Deco Vintage 18k White Gold EstateVintage Stephen Dweck Art Deco Revival Sterling Silver Diamond Onyx EarringsStunning Pair Art Deco 4 Carat Blue Zircon18ct Gold Diamond Drop Dangly EarringsSweet Art Deco 14k Solid White Gold Old Mine Cut Diamond Stone Flower Ring18ct/ 18k Gold Diamond & Baroque Pearl Art Deco Drop Earrings, 750 Diamond & Two Stone 8ct Ruby Art Deco Platinum Ring, D&f, 375Vintage Art Deco 14k White Gold Carved Green Jade Collar NecklaceArt Deco Natural 3.11ctw Colombian Emerald Diamond 14k White Gold Ribbon Ring18ct/ 18k Gold Diamond & Ruby Cluster Art Deco Stud Earrings, 75018ct/ 18k Rose Gold Huge 15ct Alexandrite Heavy Art Deco Ring, 750Antique Vintage Deco 14k Gold Chinese High Relief Carved Salmon Coral Pendant!Antique Art Deco Cherry Amber Bakelite Graduated Bead Necklace 44.1 Grams.Vtg Antique 14k Gold Art Deco Belle Epoque Ruby Iolite Zircon Sz 6.5 Ring1930s Deco 14k White Gold 0.23 Ct European Cut Diamond Ring 0.31 Cts TotalAntique 10k Gold Signed Esemco Art Deco Victorian Period Ring Rose Gold Size 7Art Deco Norwegian Guilloche Enamel And Silver Brooch By Norsk FiligransfabrikkAntique Vintage Deco 14k Gold Platinum Chinese Jade Ruby Diamond Pearl Earrings!Vtg Art Deco Sterling Silver Channel Set Amethyst Glass Paste Bangle BraceletAntique Deco 0.21ct Diamond 18k White Gold Filigree Dangle Earrings NrVtg Art Deco Sterling Silver Channel Set Sapphire Glass Paste Bangle BraceletFine Sapphire Seed Pearl And Diamond 18ct Gold Art Deco Ring 1905 Lw 18k 750Antique Art Deco Long Cherry Amber Bakelite Graduated Bead Necklace 83.9 Grams.Vintage Art Deco 14k White Gold Genuine Diamond Camphor Glass Pendant NecklaceAntique Art Deco Cherry Amber Bakelite Beads Long Necklace 120g$7500 Stunning Art Deco 14k White Gold 1.70ctw Natural Diamond Ladies Ring 4.9g18ct/ 18k Gold & Platinum 2.3/4ct Old Cut Pink Sapphire Art Deco Ring, 750Art Deco 1/2ct Diamond Two Stone Cross Over Platinum RingFine Natural Emerald Diamond 2.65ctw Retro Deco Platinum Mid Century Ring Sz 4Antique Vintage Art Deco 14k Gold Chinese Carved Dragon Bangle Chased Bracelet!18ct/ 18k Gold Diamond & Three Stone Ruby Art Deco Ring, Chester 1913, 750Vintage Germany Sterling Silver Art Deco Marcasite Enamel Lapis Brooch Pin 925Gorgeous Vintage Art Deco 14k Yellow Gold 0.85ct Miner Diamond Filigree Ring11.20ct Aquamarine Diamond 14k Gold Retro Art Deco Genuine Vintage Ring Size 7 Art Deco Vintage Estate Natural 3/4ctw Diamond 14k White Gold 8.8mm Band RingAntique Art Deco 4.2ct Aquamarine 14k White Gold Filigree Ring Size 6 C1920'sAntique Art Deco 18 K White Gold Diamond Filigree Ring$5,000 .76ct Antique Art Deco Natural Round Diamond Engagement Ring 14k GoldFinest Old Euro Diamond Sapphire Platinum Filigree Genuine Antique Art Deco RingAntique Art Deco Large Silver & Faceted Pear Shaped Citrine Pendant. Art Deco 1/2ct Diamond Two Stone Cross Over 18ct White Gold RingGood Antique Art Deco Faturan Marbled Bakelite Cherry Amber Beads 94 GramsVintage 14k Peridot Ring White Gold Fine Estate Art Deco Nouveau Filigree Size 6$2,500 1.05ct Antique Art Deco Natural Sapphire & Diamond Necklace 14k BeautifulAntique Art Deco Silver Gilt & Enamel Egyptian Revival Mummy Case, With Mummy.Antique 18k Gold 18ct Gold Art Deco Diamond Ring Size N9k Gold 9ct Solid Gold Sapphire Art Deco Vintage Design Ring Size O BoxedVintage Ostby & Barton Ob 10k Yellow Gold Art Deco Amethyst Cabochon Ring Size 8Fine Art Deco Banded Agate, Lapiz Lazuli , Tigers Eye And Malachite Necklace Antique Old Euro Diamond Filigree Art Deco 18k White Gold Ladies Solitaire RingAntique Art Deco Diamond Pearl 14k White Gold Finigree Pendant C1920sAntique Vintage 2.42ct 2 Stone Diamond Sapphire Art Deco Engagement Wedding RingAntique Retro Vintage Art Deco 18k Gold Amethyst Aquamarine Sputnik Ring! Sz 6.518ct/ 18k Gold & Platinum Diamond & Sapphire Art Deco Five Stone Ring, Hg&s, 750