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 JewelHistory blog have been treated to her weekly (sometim… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Stunning Art Deco 1.20 Carat Diamond 18ct Gold And Platinum 5 Stone RingFine Art Deco 1/2 Carat Sapphire & 1.10 Carat Diamond 18ct Gold Marquise RingAntique Deco 2.96ct Emerald Diamond Platinum Pendant Earrings NrFine Art Deco 1.15 Carat Diamond 18ct Gold And Platinum 5 Stone Ring Antique Art Deco Chinese Sterling Silver Apple Green Jade Bird Floral RingAntique Deco Diamond 9.35ct Amethyst 18k Gold Ring 9.7 Grams NrRare Antique Art Nouveau Deco Solid Silver Cicada Insect Brooch PinStunning Art Deco 3 Carat Amethyst And 1.12 Carat Diamond Gold Cluster RingFine Art Deco 4 Carat Ruby 14ct Gold RingStunning Art Deco 1.28 Carat Diamond 14ct Gold Cluster RingStunning Art Deco 4 Carat Sapphire & 1.20 Carat Diamond 18ct Gold Cluster RingAntique Art Deco Silver Enamel And Coral Necklace Beautiful Art Deco 1923 Charles Horner Egyptian Revival Silver & Enamel Brooch14k Solid White Gold Antique Art Deco .40ct Tw 19 Diamond Ring Sz 7.5 ExquisiteFine 1940 Art Deco Blue Zircon And Diamond 3 Stone 22ct Gold RingAntique English Art Deco 18k White Gold Diamond Sapphire Cluster Ring 85 PtsAntique Deco Sapphire Diamond 18k Gold Hexagon Ring NrAntique English Art Deco 18k White Gold Emerald & Diamond Ring C1920Art Deco Old European Mine Cut Natural Unheated Ruby And Diamond Bangle BraceletEstate Art Deco Grade A Natural Jadeite Jade Earrings Imperial Green 8.5tcw. 18kAntique Deco 0.80ct Diamond Platinum Eternity Band Ring Nr14k Solid White Gold Antique Art Deco 21 Diamond Ring Sz 7.5 SpectacularFine Heavy Art Deco 7 Carat Orange Sapphire Gold RingAntique Deco 1.14ct Diamond 18k Gold Circle Clip Earrings 7.8 Grams NrFine Art Deco Carved Coral And Marcasite Silver RingVintage Estate Deco Retro 14k White Gold Diamond Cocktail Ring Size 7Fine Art Deco 1 Carat Cabochon Ruby And Diamond 14ct Gold RingAntique Art Deco Platinum Rare Elegant 1.0ct Diamond/sapphire Cocktail RingAntique Art Deco 18ct Gold Egyptian Revival Swivel Scarab Beetle Ring Birks Art Deco Vintage Rare Red Garnet & Old European Diamond 18k Gold Halo RingArt Deco .63ct Colorless European Diamond 14k Gold Engagement Wedding RingBeautiful Antique English Art Deco Platinum Diamond Set Clasp 60 Pts C1920sAntique Art Deco 18kt White Gold .20ct Diamond & .20ct Sapphire Estate RingFinest Antique Art Deco 18ct Gold Platinum Square Cut Sapphire Diamond Ring Stunning Quality Antique Vintage Art Deco Design Black Opal & Diamond Gold RingAntique Art Deco Silver Guilloche Enamel Brooch Chester 1916 By Charles HornerVintage Art Deco Estate 18k White Gold 4.5 Carat Star Ruby Unheated Diamond Ring14k Solid Gold Antique Art Deco .46ct Tw 8 Diamond Wedding Ring Set Sz 8 AmazingFine Art Deco Sapphire And Diamond 18ct Gold Cluster RingAntique Deco Diamond 1.58ct Sapphire Platinum Ring 7.3 Grams NrFine Art Deco 1/2 Carat Diamond 18ct Gold And Platinum Trilogy RingExquisite 1920’s Art Deco Belais 18kt White Gold, Pearl & Jade Pendant EarringsArt Deco Sterling Silver Emerald Green Crystal Rhinestone Buckle BraceletAntique Art Deco Chinese Natural Jadeite Jade Silver Cabochon Ring Signed No ResArt Deco Platinum Ladies Square Sapphire Band Ring Eternity Ring14k Solid Gold Antique Art Deco 7 Diamond Ring Sz 7 Exquisite Top Grade14k Solid White Gold Antique Art Deco 13 Diamond Ring Sz 9 SpectacularArt Deco18ct Gold And Plat 3/4 Carat Diamond Ring.Art Deco Egyptian Revival Charles Horner Silver Enamel Scarab Brooch Pin 3.6gmsFine Art Deco Design Ruby And Diamond Gold RingArt Deco 1.31ctw European Diamond Platinum Filigree Engagement RingSuperb Antique Vintage Art Deco Design Sapphire & Diamond Gold RingFine Art Deco Ruby And Diamond 18ct Gold Cluster RingFine Art Deco 2 Carat Blue Spinel 14ct Gold RingStunning Fine Antique Vintage Art Deco Design Sapphire & Diamond White Gold RingAntique Deco 14k Gold Engraved Flowers Eternity Wedding Band Ring - Sz 4 3/414k Solid (y/w) Gold Antique Art Deco 3 Diamond Ring Sz 4.75 Top Grade Rare FindUnusual Art Deco 14ct Gold Cufflinks With Genuine Amethyst & Citrine C 1920's14k Solid White Gold Antique Art Deco .34ct Tw 7 Diamond Ring Sz 6.25 ExquisiteFine Art Deco Design Blue Topaz & Diamond Gold Cluster Ring