Art Nouveau jewelry, popular from the late 1890s until the mid-1910s, is characterized by soft, curved shapes and lines, and usually featured natural designs, such as flowers, birds, and animals. The female body was a popular theme and was featured on a variety of jewelry pieces, especially cameos.
Louis Comfort Tiffany and Rene Jules Lalique created beautiful pieces of Art Noveau jewelry. Towards the end of the period, however, Art Nouveau jewelry pieces were often cheaply imitated.
The Art Nouveau movement gave way to Art Deco, which grew in popularity between the mid-1920s and '30s. Art Deco originated in France, but soon spread throughout Europe and the United States. Unlike the softness of Art Nouveau pieces, Art Deco jewelry is characterized by geometric lines, sharp angles, and bright colors.
With the end of World War I and the evolution of women’s role in society, jewelry became highly desirable during the Art Deco period. Although fairly rare in Art Nouveau jewelry, diamonds became popular again in the Art Deco period. Watches made with diamond bracelets, called cocktail watches, were introduced in the 1920s, and strings of pearls continued to be in vogue, worn either as a necklace or a bracelet.
Many Art Deco pieces were made of bakelite, celluloid, or enamel. Amber stones and beads were also popular.
Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)
All About Jewels Dictionary
Art Deco 1910-1939
Morning Glory Antiques and Jewelry
Cathy Gordon's Jewelry Gallery
Clubs & Associations
- American Society of Jewelry Historians
- Association for the Study of Jewelry and Related Arts
- Society of Jewellery Historians