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 Carat Diamond 18ct Gold Solitaire RingAntique Deco Green Emerald Diamond 18k Gold Platinum Ring NrStunning Art Deco 90 Point Diamond 18ct Gold And Platinum Trilogy RingAntique Deco 0.90ct Diamond 18k Gold Round Ring NrVintage Antique Certified 1.21ct Diamond Platinum Art Deco Engagement RingAntique Deco 1.08ct Diamond Platinum Engagement Filigree Band Ring NrAntique Deco Diamond 2.70ct Emerald 18k Gold Drop Dangle Earrings NrVintage Antique Certified .40ct Diamond Platinum Art Deco Engagement RingAntique Deco 2.48ct Diamond Platinum Drop Dangle Earrings 8.7 Grams NrAntique Deco 0.78ct Diamond 18k Gold Platinum Ring NrFine Art Deco 3/4 Carat Sapphire And 1/2 Carat Diamond 18ct Gold 3 Stone RingStunning Art Deco Emerald And Diamond 18ct Gold Cluster RingExtraordinary & Fine Art Deco Era Jadeite Jade Bead Necklace W/ Gia CertificateVintage Antique .21ct Diamond Sapphire 14k Gold Art Deco Filigree PendantFinest Antique Art Deco 18ct Gold Platinum Ruby Diamond Three Stone Ring Rare Antique Art Nouveau Deco Solid Silver Cicada Insect Brooch PinFine Art Deco Design 92 Point Diamond And Ruby 18ct Gold RingArt Deco Old European Mine Cut Natural Unheated Ruby And Diamond Bangle BraceletFine Art Deco Design Diamond 18ct Gold Daisy Ring18k Old European Cut Diamond Blue Sapphire Art Deco Circa 1930's Retro By BelaisArt Deco Vintage Estate Natural 1/4ctw Diamond Filigree 14k White Gold PendantAntique Art Deco Gold And Real Coral RingBirks Art Deco Vintage Rare Red Garnet & Old European Diamond 18k Gold Halo RingAntique Art Deco Solid 18ct Gold & Platinum Rose Cut Diamond RingVintage Antique 1/5ct Diamond Platinum Art Deco Wedding / Anniversary Ring BandVintage Art Deco Fine 14k Gold Wide Band Ruby Starburst Ring Size 6.5Antique Deco 0.86ct Diamond Square Stud Earrings NrIncomparable 20s German Art Deco Chrysoprase, Marcasite & Sterling Silver BroochStunning Art Deco 40 Point Diamond 18ct Gold And Platinum Solitaire RingAntique English Art Deco 18k White Gold Engraved Diamond Full Eternity Ring 25ptArt Deco Sterling & Camphor Glass Necklace/pendantAntique Art Deco 10k Gold Aquamarine & Diamond Ring $9.99 Diamond HeartsVintage Antique 1.5ct Sapphire & Diamond Platinum Art Deco Engagement RingAntique Art Deco Platinum Rare Elegant 1.0ct Diamond/sapphire Cocktail RingStunning Art Deco Design Sapphire And Diamond 18ct Gold Cluster RingStunning Art Deco Diamond 2 Stone 18ct Gold RingVintage Antique 3/4ct Vivid Blue Diamond 18k White Gold Art Deco Engagement RingAntique Art Deco 14k White Gold Platinum Emerald Filigree And NecklaceAntique Art Deco 14k White Gold Natural 2ct Carved Jade Diamond Leafy Ring 3.6gStunning Art Deco Silver Snake BangleCertified Natural 20cts Vs G Diamond Emerald 18k Gold Art Deco Vintage NecklaceFine Art Deco Design Diamond 18ct White Gold Cluster RingAntique Art Deco Diamond Platinum Wedding Engagement Ring Setting Semi MountingArt Deco Carved Floral Leaf Jade 18k White Gold Diamond Ring Size 4.5 Antique18ct Gold 1920s Art Deco Natural Old Cut Diamond Trilogy Ring Art Deco 18ct Gold Platinum Ladies 5 Stone Diamond RingAntique Art Deco 18ct Gold Egyptian Revival Swivel Scarab Beetle Ring Antique Vintage Art Deco English 9ct Solid Gold Seed Pearl Large Dress Ring 9k $5100 Antique Deco 18k W Gold 4ct Natural Oval Cut Aquamarine Solitaire Ring 3gArt Deco Modernist 1930's Jakob Bengel Necklace In Chrome & GalalithFine Art Deco18k Gold Diamond Platinum Drop EarringsVintage Antique 1.62ct Diamond Sapphire 14k White Gold Art Deco Engagement RingEstate Art Deco .60 Ctw Old Cut Diamond & 18k Gold 3 Stone Trilogy Ring StackedBeautiful C1930s Deco Solid 18ct Gold & Platinum 5 Natural Diamond Set Ring Large Art Deco Silver And Enamel Butterfly Brooch 1919 By TlmGtr Estate Antique Size 6.5 Diamond Deco 10kt Yellow Gold Ring 2.3g Ot ScrapOrnate 1920s Deco Gatsby Era Filigree Camphor Glass Rhodium 2tone Gold NecklaceArt Deco .63ct Colorless European Diamond 14k Gold Engagement Wedding RingVintage Antique Deco Jade 10kt Yellow Gold Bracelet Antique English Art Deco Platinum Square Sapphire Full Eternity Ring Band C1920