Art Deco

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The famous Art Deco style is one that still enjoys a lot of popularity today. Although the term Art Deco was not employed until the 1960s, its birthplace was the Exposition Internationale des Arts De´coratifs et Industriels Modernes held in Paris in 1925. Here the modernist adulation of geometrical shapes and linear symmetry was explored by jewellers, architects and designers throughout the aesthetic disciplines. Whilst many themes of the early 1920s continued, the bracelets became larger and heavier and took on a more three-dimensional quality. Rings became bigger and more ostentatious, and the sautoirs also became bolder, often suspending large pendants. The colour contrasts of the 1920s faded and the early 1930s saw the emergence of largely monochrome jewels in platinum and diamonds. The jewellery world was very influenced by the Fine Art movements of Cubism, Futurism and Fauvism popular at the time. As well as a continuation of the exotic influences, the shapes of Cubism, the industrial and mechanical worship of the Futurists and the palette of the Fauvists can all be found in the jewellery of the Art Deco period. Another important development came in 1933 when Van Cleef & Arpels began using the ‘serti invisible’ method of setting calibre´-cut gemstones seemingly without metal. This was then taken up in various forms by many of the big jewellery houses of the time in both Europe and America.