Posted on June 23, 2016 by Mary Hood | 0 Comments
Niagara Mohawk Building - Syracuse, New York, 1932
From jewelry to buildings, art deco style reflected technological progress and urban luxury.
What Is Art Deco Style?
"Art Deco" describes a style or architecture, vehicle design, clothing, and jewelry that came to prominence during the 1920s and continued into the mid-thirties. The distinct style has never completely vanished, however, and, nearly a century later, continues to inspire many designers and artists of today. In fact, art deco jewelry is one of the most enduring jewelry trends in modern times.
Art Deco, short for "Decorative Arts," is characterized by a flamboyant playfulness. Using precise lines, sharp angles, basic shapes (like triangles, circles, rectangles, squares, and other polygons), zigzags, sunbursts, geometric themes, and bold, contrasting colors, art deco reflects the swell of industrialization in the early 20th century. Indeed, art deco style echoed the "machine age" with its penchant for shine and hard lines.
Indeed, art deco style echoed the emerging "machine age" and abandoned the smooth curves and organic lines of its predecessor, art nouveau. In addition to symbolizing technological progress, art deco's futuristic style also reflected the luxury fashion and lavish lifestyle of the 1920s.
Art Nouveau Poster, Alphonse Mucha
Art deco cover of Vogue, September 1926
Art deco style evolved with the times. As depression-era financial limitations and WWII austerity measures replaced the opulence of the 1920s, the flamboyance of art deco was pared down, resulting in more modest, minimal details.
Art Deco Jewelry
The 1925 World Fair, held in Paris, cemented the art-deco jewelry trend. Art deco jewelry reflected a blend of styles from Egypt, Greece, Mesoamerica, Africa, and East Asia. Like its counterparts in architecture and visual arts, art-deco jewelry also spoke to an urban future, rich with luxury and industrial glamour.
Art-deco jewelry often features contrasting gemstones, including diamonds, rubies, sapphires, black onyx, and emeralds. White metals, including platinum and white gold, held futuristic appeal and were often incorporated into art-deco jewelry.
Cocktail rings were one of the most popular types of art-deco jewelry. These oversized and eye-catching pieces usually featured a large, center gem. The art-deco period witnessed several other jewelry trends, including diamond watches with square or circular faces, thin bangles, layered pearl necklaces, thick, cuff-like bracelets, and long pendant earrings.
Do you own any vintage art deco or art deco-inspired jewelry?