What is art deco jewelry? / Art deco jewelry history
Art deco as a style emerged in 1925 as a result of the exhibits held in the World’s Fair, Paris. The term itself is short for “Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes”, the original name of the event.
Art deco style jewelry is a form of vintage jewelry that is still highly valued, today. The style is characterized by certain design elements found not just in the jewelry of the period, but also in cars, buildings and other types of fashion. As far as the jewelry is concerned, there are certain characteristics that can be used to identify art deco jewelry.
What are the key features of Art Deco?
First and foremost, the 1920s was a time when metals such as Platinum and white gold were extremely popular, and the yellow gold was out of style. White gold had gained popularity because of the similarities in looks that it shared with platinum, along with the extremely high prices of the latter.
Further, art deco designs are characterized by the old European cuts of the diamonds and other gemstones that were used, such as the antique cushion cut, or the asscher cut. The various modern cut varieties that I see today were not in use, back then. Further, the idea of beauty in jewelry has evolved over time, and back then geometrically symmetrical jewelry designs were extremely popular.
Another characteristic element of art deco styles is the existence of caliber cut stones. Back then, most pieces were handmade, and the kinds of tools available to artisans were not at all comparable with the kind of machinery available today. Due to this, caliber gemstones cut to fit specifically into jewelry pieces were used. These stones are easy to spot due to the hand-created intricacies of the stones that seem to perfectly fit into the rest of the piece.
Finally, a vast majority of art deco jewelry has filigree work, which is characterized by the small intricate cut outs and crispness that seems to exist in every piece. Filigree work was done using die-cast machines, and because today most jewelry is made using wax molds, the level of intricacy that is seen in the filigree work of 1920s and 30s exceeds the quality of what we have today. Wax molds do not give the jewelry the same amount of crispness and sharpness along the edges that is fairly common in art deco jewelry.
When was art deco jewelry popular? / Art deco jewelry time period
While the art deco period roughly started around the 1910s and went on until the 40s, it was most popular during the twenties. The twenties were a time of prohibition, of flashy spending, and of the Nouveau riche who wanted the things they buy to reflect their levels of success. Due to this, the aesthetics of designs of cars, fashion, and buildings were given great importance.
Art deco jewelry was extremely popular towards the end of the twenties, and the craze did not die down until the Second World War, the years of economic turmoil substantially decreasing the overall money spent on buying jewelry by the rich, and artisans around the world began to research and look for cheaper methods to create jewelry. It was also around this time that increasing levels of technology and the growing demand led to a shift in the way artisans created jewelry, and art deco engagement rings, and art deco necklaces began to lose popularity in the market.
How can you tell if the jewelry is art deco?
While the characteristic features that I have talked about are important to recognize art deco jewelry, there are some other factors that can be scrutinized in order to be sure of their authenticity. Jewelry from the art deco period uses clever and unusual shapes, and is generally bright and multicolored. Further, the finish on these pieces is crisp, and the edges are sharp and well differentiated.
Regardless, there are a large number of fakes in the market that often have forged certifications. If the source from where you buy these vintage pieces is not 100% trustworthy, consulting a certified gemologist is recommended. While it is fairly easy to recognize genuine pieces due to the various specific features, art deco jewelry is highly valued, and people must be careful while buying.
Is art deco jewelry still popular today?
Fashion trends have been historically cyclical, and art deco jewelry is no different. Various trends that were developed during the art deco period, such as fancy-shaped diamond cuts and gemstones with customized engravings are still popular in the market. Further, art deco necklaces and pendants with multi-colored gemstones have also seen periodic revivals over the past century.
The art deco period is often heralded as the time when jewelry making transformed into an art form, and designers around the world saw incentive in creating unique pieces with crisp finishes. Today, due to the stagnation in the types and designs of mass-produced jewelry, craftsmen spend hours and days coming up with one of a kind intricately made pieces with creative designs.
What sets the art deco period apart from other time periods is the finesse and the beauty of each piece, and these trends have stood the test of time. At Marla Trudine, I create unique handmade fashion jewelry such as necklaces, bracelets, and rings that are majorly inspired by the various trends developed during the art deco period. Like most vintage jewelry, every piece that I create is handcrafted with intricately detailed craftsmanship.