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    

An Exceptional Art Deco Design 1 Carat Diamond 18ct Gold RingFine Art Deco Design 3.1/2 Carat Opal And Diamond 14ct Gold RingArt Deco Period 2.36ctw Near Flawless European Diamond Platinum Engagement RingStunning Art Deco 1.10 Carat Diamond 18ct Gold And Platinum 5 Stone RingAntique Art Deco Chinese 14k Yellow Gold Carved Jadeite Jade Pendant NecklaceAntique 1920s Art Deco Solid Platinum 1/2 Carat Rose Cut Diamond Engagement RingArt Deco Designer 1.15ctw Old European Cut Diamond Platinum Engagement RingStunning Art Deco 1/2 Carat Diamond 18ct Gold And Platinum 5 Stone RingStunning Art Deco 1 Carat Diamond 18ct White Gold 3 Stone RingStunning Art Deco 1.30 Carat Aquamarine And Diamond Platinum RingFine Authentic Art Deco 18k Gold Platinum Diamond Drop Earrings Early 20th CVintage Antique Certified .80ct Diamond 18k White Gold Art Deco Engagement RingArt Deco Designer 0.90ctw Old European Diamond Sapphire Platinum Engagement RingArt Deco Period 11.25ctw Jadeite Jade Diamond 8mm Akoya Pearl 14k Gold NeckalceStunning Art Deco 1.1/2 Carat Emerald And 1.70 Carat Diamond 18ct Gold RingStunning Vintage Platinum 2.0ctw Ultra Fine Vs Diamond Art Deco Pin Brooch 1930sArt Deco 2.35ctw Flawless European Diamond 14k White Gold Engagement Ring Exceptional Art Deco 2.1/2 Carat Emerald & 1 Carat Diamond 18ct Gold RingVintage Art Deco Estate Natural 4.0ct Imperial Green Jadeite Jade 14k Gold RingFine Quality Antique Red Coral Bead Necklace 9ct Gold Clasp 37'' Art Deco 36g NrFine Art Deco Design Coral And Diamond Gold Pendant And ChainFine Art Deco Moonstone And Diamond 18ct Gold RingA Vintage Art Deco Style Natural Baltic Butterscotch / Egg Yolk Amber Bracelet. Stunning Large Art Deco 12 Carat Blue Topaz And 90 Point Diamond Platinum RingStunning Heavy Art Deco Design Sapphire And Diamond 18ct Gold RingAntique Art Deco Chinese Silver Filigree Enamel Carved Jade Dragon Brooch Antique 1920s Art Deco Solid Platinum Blue Zircon & Diamond Large Cocktail RingAntique Art Deco Chinese Sterling Silver Carved Salmon Coral Floral Ring Size 8Vintage Antique Certified 1ct Diamond 18k White Gold Art Deco Engagement Ring Vintage Antique 1ct Diamond 14k White Gold Art Deco Engagement Ring Bridal SetStunning Art Deco 45 Point Diamond 18ct Gold Trilogy RingBeautiful Art Deco Sterling Silver & Guilloche With Enamel Bracelet €Fine Art Deco Emerald And White Sapphire 18ct Gold RingArt Deco Designer 1.30ctw Round European Cut Diamond Baguette Platinum Fan RingVintage Antique Certified .55ct Diamond Platinum Art Deco Engagement RingAntique....14k....art Deco.....carved Jade....ring..no ReserveAntique Art Deco Chinese Double Loop White Jade Peking Glass Pendant NecklaceAntique Art Deco Chinese Silver Carved Carnelian Jade Pendant Peach NecklaceFine Pair Of Art Deco Design Diamond And Pearl Gold Cluster EarringsSterling Marcasite & Green Stone Art Deco Screw Back Earrings Vintage Germany Fine Art Deco Moonstone Silver Flapper NecklaceFine Art Deco Sapphire And Diamond 18ct Gold Cluster RingArt Deco Period .85ctw Colorless Old European Cut Diamond Platinum Filigree RingStunning Art Deco Design 1.1/4 Sapphire & 80 Point Diamond 18ct Gold RingVintage 1920's - 30's Art Deco Sterling Silver Blue Chalcedony NecklaceStunning Art Deco Sapphire And Diamond 18ct Gold Cluster RingFinest Antique Art Deco 18ct Gold Cabochon Turquoise Cluster Ring 1930 Fine Art Deco Design Sapphire And Diamond 18ct White Gold Half Eternity RingStunning Art Deco 1 Carat Ceylon Sapphire & 48 Point Diamond 18ct Gold RingArt Deco 9ct Gold Carved Green Jade Ladies RingStunning Heavy Art Deco 4 Carat Aquamarine & 94 Point Diamond 18ct Gold RingFine Pair Of Art Deco Design Emerald And Diamond Gold Drop Earrings Fine Art Deco 35 Diamond 18ct Gold 5 Stone RingVintage,diamond,art Deco,solitare W/ Accents,platinum,estate,unique,ring Size 7Vintage 14k Yellow Gold & Opal Mens Art Deco Ring Size 8.5 No ReserveArt Deco Period 5.15ctw Rose Cut Diamond 14k Yellow Gold Large Mens RingFine Art Deco 3 Carat Sapphire And 1/2 Carat Diamond 18ct Gold RingArt Deco 9 Ct / 9k Yellow Gold Opal Tear Drop / Dangling EarringsArt Deco Platinum Ladies Square Sapphire Band Ring Eternity RingA Large Art Deco Era 'egyptian Revival' Silver / Silver Plated Bracelet / Bangle