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    

Vintage Antique 1.69ct Diamond Platinum Art Deco Engagement Wedding RingAntique Art Deco Real Platinum & Diamond RingPretty Antique Art Deco Sparkling White&blue Sapphires,silver &14ct Gold RingAntique Deco Diamond 21.30ct Sapphire Wide Bracelet 47.4 Grams NrVintage Antique 3/4ct Diamond 14k Yellow Gold Palladium Art Deco Engagement RingArt Deco Era 1.50ctw Antique Old Mine Cut Diamond 14k Rose Gold Anniversary RingVintage Antique .82ct Diamond 14k White Gold Deco Engagement Wedding RingVintage Art Deco 10k Gold Filigree Diamond Esemco PendantFine Pair Of Art Deco Design 5 Carat Ruby And Diamond Gold EarringsBeautiful Art Deco Platinum Precious Stone & Diamond Tutti Frutti Pin, 1930s*antique Deco 18ct White Gold 0.50ct Old Cut Diamond Solitaire Ring C1920*Vintage Antique 1ct Diamond Platinum Art Deco Engagement Wedding RingArt Deco Era 1.40ctw Natural Old European Diamond 14k White Gold Cocktail RingFine Pair Of Art Deco Design Emerald & Diamond 18k Gold EarringsDeco. Pretty 18ct. Gold & Platinum Set Diamond 5 - Stone Ring . Size - O 1/2Vintage Antique .55ct Diamond 14k Yellow Gold Art Deco Engagement Wedding RingStunning Art Deco Amethyst And Diamond 18ct White Gold Cluster RingFine Art Deco Design 3 Stone Sapphire And Diamond 18ct Gold RingStunning Heavy Art Deco Design 1.53 Carat Diamond 18ct Gold RingAntique Ladys Art Deco 18kt White Gold Diamond Onyx & Turquoise Ring ... NrArt Deco 18ct Gold & Plat 1/4 Carat Old European Cut Diamond Solitaire Ring.Fine Art Deco 18k Gold Emerald & Diamond Cluster RingStunning Heavy Art Deco Design Tourmaline And Diamond 14ct Gold RingAntique Art Deco 9ct Gold Diamond & Ruby Brooch In Original Box, Hallmarked.Art Deco Era .35ctw European Cut Diamond 18k White Gold Filigree Engagement RingBeautiful Rare Art Deco Cherry Amber Faturan Bakelite Bird Ashtray 176 Grams!Retro Deco 14k Gold Madeira Citrine Natural Ruby 1940s Vintage Ring Size 6Fine Pair Of Art Deco Amethyst And White Sapphire Gold Cluster Screw On EarringsArt Deco .60ct G-si Genuine Diamond & Muzo Emerald Sterling Silver Filigre Ring$2,250 .38ct Antique Art Deco Natural Diamond Engagement Ring Vs 14k White GoldFine Art Deco Design Heavy 18k Five Ringed,emerald,sapphire,ruby & Diamond RingVintage Antique Diamond 14kt Gold / Art Deco Engagement Ring/ Appraisal IncludedVintage Antique Certified 1ct Diamond 14k White Gold Art Deco Engagement RingAntique Vintage Art Deco Artistic 14k White Gold Floral Repousse Band RingNew York Designer 1.06ctw Colorless Diamond Art Deco Style 22k Yellow Gold RingAntique Art Deco 5ct Blue Sapphire Diamond Platinum Dangling Chandelier EarringsKrementz Art Deco 14k White Gold Diamond Blue Sapphire Camphor Glass Bracelet,7"Fine Art Deco Triple Cultured Pearl 18ct Gold RingStunning Art Deco Design 95 Point Diamond 18ct White Gold Cluster RingFine Heavy Art Deco Design 6 Carat Amethyst And Diamond 14ct White Gold RingGenuine Art Deco Large Silver Marcasite & Amber Glass Necklace Pendant Antique Antique Diamond Full Eternity Ring 18ct White Gold 1920s Art Deco No ReserveVintage 14k White Gold Filigree Cameo Art Deco Pendant 32mm X 39mm As Is S13Fine Art Deco 2.10 Carat Blue And White Sapphire Gold BraceletStunning Pair Of Art Deco Design Paste Set Gold And Silver Drop EarringsArt Deco Design 18ct Gold Diamond & Sapphire Ladies Engagement Ring F0172Fine Art Deco Design Amethyst And Diamond 14ct Gold RingRare Antique Art Deco 2ct Diamond Platinum Dangling Chandelier Cocktail EarringsArt Deco Platinum 2.75ct Old Cut Diamond & Ruby RingArt Deco French Handmade Ladies Platinum Miner Diamond .15ct Wedding Band RingArt Deco Vintage 1.20ctw Old European Diamond Platinum Anniversary Band RingFine Art Deco Design Emerald And Diamond 18ct White Gold RingVintage .925 Silver Filigree Art Deco Camphor Glass & Onyx Pendant & Chain 6486Vintage Long Art Deco Sterling Bezel Set Open Back Crystal Necklace 5'Vintage Art Deco Nouveau 10k Gold Antique Flip Ring Cameo Black Onyx Cross Sz 7Nice Art Deco 14k Yellow Gold & Amethyst Drop Earrings ... Retail $ 1500 Usd Fine Art Deco 1920's 18k Gold Diamond And Sapphire Ring 1.7 Gr - Size 8.5Antique Art Deco 14k White Gold Diamond Cocktail Evil Eye Style Ring Vintage N/rFine Ruby,sapphire & Emerald Art Deco Design Gold RingArt Deco 9 Ct / 9k Yellow Gold Opal Tear Drop / Dangling Earrings