Antique Jewelry in the most dramatic period had been recognized during the turn of the 20th century through the 1930s. It covered the 3 of the most powerful periods in the history of antique jewelry. The Art Nouveau and Art Deco movements shifted styles to jewels with a more sophisticated sensibility. Sandwiched between was the Edwardian Era, which covers the period between 1901 through World War I.
Beautiful Antique Jewelry
Whereas Art Nouveau was very much about the feminine form or nature as inspiration and Art Deco was anchored by geometric design and exotic influences, Edwardian jewels were generally more stylized and abstract. There was an austerity of colour due to the favoured use of platinum, diamonds and natural pearls, which gave the jewelry a very pristine look.
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Although the Edwardian period is named after a British King, the era’s distinctive jewel styles were French inspired. Most notably were the pieces created by Louis Cartier, who was keen to embrace the use of platinum, helping to set the standard of design for jewellery of this period. Cartier’s designers were encouraged to research original 18th century French pattern books and to observe and sketch details of the architectural elements on the buildings that lined the streets of Paris. These elements included bowknots, tassels, garlands, laurel wreaths and lace motifs.
The airy platinum setting allowed more light to reflect from the diamonds, making them more brilliant. The outward effects of Cartier’s pendants, tiaras, devant de corsages and dog collars attracted Cartier’s wealthy, antique jewelry more conservative clientele, wholesale antique jewelry who preferred and trusted classicism versus the challenging modernism of the style that came to be referred to as Art Nouveau.
Art Nouveau Jewelry
Flowing lines and curves marked the Art Nouveau style, with women and nature as its primary subjects. Along with nymph-like maidens, botanical themes, peacocks and insects such as dragonflies and butterflies are some of the recurrent motifs in Art Nouveau jewels. The influence of Darwin’s Origin of the Species is evident in realistic botanical and anatomical detail.
In René Lalique’s designs, the humble wasp becomes the focus of a highly detailed and elaborate pendant lavished with the most meticulous attention to detail.
Art Nouveau jewelers chose to work with non- and semi-precious materials and the focus was on the originality of design and craftsmanship over the material value of the components. Moulded glass, enamel, and even a new synthetic plastic material called Galalith were favored, framed by delicate goldwork, often in highly realistic organic forms.
Although intricate and often made using fragile materials and techniques such as thin opal slices or window enamel, the jewels were made to worn. Adhering to the highest standards of craftsmanship, each jewel is a one-off. Even the backs of the jewels were beautifully finished and articulation ensured that the larger pieces sat well on the body.
Art Deco Jewelry
When World War I began in 1914, manufacturing of jewelry came to a stop. The hard times brought on by the war also marked the end of the fashions and trends that were popular in the Edwardian era. Women were needed to take over men’s roles in the workplace while they were at war, and they started learning valuable skills and earning their own money. When the war ended, the “Roaring 20’s” ushered in a new attitude and an overall desire to live life to the fullest – an attitude that was very much reflected in the new jewelry design trends.
The most characteristic feature of Art Deco jewelry is the emphasis on bold, sharp and more masculine than previous periods. Brighter colors, futuristic motifs, geometric forms, antique jewelry, and straighter designs replaced the lacy look of Edwardian jewelry and the curvy lines of Art Nouveau.
Calibre cut sapphires, rubies, and emeralds were used to add splashes of color to otherwise diamond-centric jewelry. Black onyx and red coral were also used often as accent colors. antique jewelry Platinum was still the metal of choice, but white gold was also popular since the cost of platinum was so high.
Women wore multiple bracelets stacked on their wrists, as well as long strands of cultured pearls, which complemented flapper-style fringed skirts and backless dresses. antique jewelry Major designers of the time were Tiffany, Cartier, Van Cleef and Arpels, Harry Winston, Lalique and Mauboussin, among others. Their great influence of jewelry design and impeccable reputations were well earned and still stand true today.