The dawn of Art Deco design style originated in France, circa 1910, just before World War I. It is also commonly called “Deco” which derives from the French word Arts Décoratifs. A decade later, through the 20’s and 30’s, this form of art flourished in the United States of America and all over Europe inspiring the designs of buildings, bridges, interiors, furniture, glassware, jewellery, apparel as well as other everyday objects.
The most distinguishing feature of ‘Art Deco’ is geometric shapes. Other popular characteristics are linear repeats of geometric motifs, symmetry, layered shapes, concentric designs, angles, and zig-zags to name a few. During the rise of Art Deco around the world, there was also a rise of new materials showing popularity in art and architecture. Prominent examples such as stainless steel, Bakelite and chrome paint was a regular commodity. The amalgamation of these materials with Art Deco saw marvelous monuments come to life with intricate geometric features and metallic accents.
Notable buildings such as the Empire State building and Chrysler in New York, Pallais de Chaillot in Paris, and the National Basilica of the Sacred Heart are well known structures with prominent Art Deco influence. An interesting fact is that Art Deco artists stylized the motifs that they used from non-western areas such as ancient Greece, Chinese, Japanese and African art.
Art Deco in Jewellery
Traditional Art Deco in Jewellery
By the early 40’s, the Art Deco trend began to die. However, it slowly gained back its popularity, more so in the 21st century. As history goes, Art Deco grew from Europe’s fine and decorative art tradition. It was a symbol of luxury. Bespoke objects were handcrafted from the finest materials including Ivory, Onyx and Emeralds. Today the trend has filtered down from the wealthy parts of society to simple day to day designs. But no doubt, the luxury aspect has had a long lasting influence on jewellery.
Traditionally Art Deco jewellery was made by the big design houses of the world such as Cartier, Boucheron and Van Cleef and Arpels amongst other reputed high jewelers.
Predominantly Art Deco styles were made with Platinum and studded with precious gemstones such as Rubies, Emeralds and Sapphires. However, some bold coloured semi-precious gemstones like Turquoise, Coral, Onyx and Lapis Lazuli have also made appearances in Art Deco pieces. Coloured stones often were the eye-catching centerpiece of the jewellery often set in a bezel setting and surrounded with paved diamonds.
Traditional Art Deco jewellery had intricate negative cutouts and repetitive symmetrical patterns.
Modern Art Deco in Jewellery
With the modernization of technology and innovation of new diamond cuts, as well as precious gemstones set in channels became an apt rendition of Art Deco.
Sapphire and diamond brooch-clip, Cartier, 1937.
The Nuée d’Émeraudes necklace from Van Cleef & Arpels features emeralds, s.apphires and diamonds.
Col émeraudes ring by Boucheron creatively comprising of an Emerald gemstone in a precise frame of rock crystal, diamonds and onyx.
The modern influence in jewellery design has evolved with use of mixed materials such as enamel paired with various gemstones. Black and white, a classic Art Deco colour combination is still prevalent even today. Whilst Emeralds were a traditional gemstone adorned in Art Deco jewellery due to the nature of their geometric shape, today designers mix and match with a variety of different gemstones of geometric cuts and colours.
Art Deco and Gemstones
With modern advancements in gem cutting, a large variety of geometric shaped stones from atypical baguettes to trapezoids, trillions and other linear cuts have given Art Deco a new revival. The use of modern settings and mixed gold-tones add to the novelty of Art Deco designs keeping them fresh for evolving consumers. Today, Art Deco designs are chic, yet bold; simple and linear, yet statement-making. Celebrities adorn them, although Art Deco is a trend that is now accessible to anyone who chooses to adorn it!
At The Gem Monarchy, we specialize in a vast array of traditional cuts like Baguettes, Emerald cuts and Princesses, but also in unique custom cut gemstones in plenty of colours and patterns. Here are a few special cuts to get you fantasizing about your dream Art Deco piece of jewellery.
The Gem Monarchy and Art Deco
Some of our jewellers and customers have already made their dream pieces!
Ellen Johnston Jewels uses a traditional bezel setting to create a symmetrical Art Deco center with our Ceylon Sapphire as the hero in the center, surrounded by an alternation of round and marquise diamonds to create a pattern.
Nicole Winkler Jewellery designed a classic Art Deco ring with a gorgeous Peacock Blue Sri Lankan Sapphire in the centre, with a halo of custom cut Sapphire baguettes channel set with intervals of round and princess diamonds perfectly enhancing the shape of the halo at cardinal points, boldly set in bezels. The craftsmanship on this is spectacular- from gem cutting to setting!
Lisa Littlewood Designs gives Art Deco a modern chic look with a beautiful dusty purple Princess cut Sapphire defined in a yellow gold bezel rim, sitting in the center of a unique grid set geometric pattern studded with diamonds.
Eli Speaks Jewellery adds a feminine touch to her Art Deco ring with an oval peach Sapphire set in a warm tone of rose gold surrounded by a modern pave halo. We love the rose gold set accent pears on either side and its dual tone, making it a spectacular statement ring.
Last, but certainly not the least, Lados Jewellery Studio’s stunning, sharp and slick Art Deco inspired ring hosts a rare parti-coloured Sapphire in the middle, set with ultra modern claws and encased in a perfect Emerald shape diamond halo. The shoulders of the ring have round diamonds set in a mix of round and v shaped claws to accentuate the kite shape motif. A great example of modern day Art Deco.
Art Deco is a classic case of history repeating itself. Its influence is immense and you’ll notice its ‘art’ all around you. Whether your style is simple or bold, Art Deco is surely going to be part of your wardrobe, hopefully in your jewellery box. May be this is the dawn of Art Deco jewellery for you?
Visit our selection of Deco gemstones here: https://www.instagram.com/the.gem.monarchy/
Samantha C. Pais, GIA GG
Samantha is a Graduate Gemologist from the Gemological Institute of America. Founder of Curious Carat on Instagram, Samantha has over a decade of experience in the international jewellery industry, which shines through her work for The Gem Monarchy.
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