Art Deco Jewelry

Written by Serena Berger
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Art Deco jewelry ranges from exquisite and costly pieces of fine jewelry to playful and affordable pieces of costume jewelry. In fact, the Art Deco period (roughly the 1920s and 30s) was the beginning of a widespread trend of costume jewelry. We had just come away from WWI, and many people felt as though expensive jewelry was frivolous and unnecessary.

Of course, it may be viewed as slightly ironic that outrageous costume jewelry was the answer to a disdain for the frivolity of expensive fine jewelry, but the 1920s were an era marked by tremendous frivolity in many respects. Just take a look F. Scott Fitzgerald's stories if you want to get a sense of many of the strange social tensions and dichotomies at work during this odd time in our history. Art Nouveau had already encouraged people to think that aesthetics could be separate from and even more important than money, and then Art Deco exploded with a casual, sporty, and bold new style. Initially it was mostly costume, but rapidly fine jewelers also incorporated many of the trends into pieces just as expensive as those which Art Deco has originally sought to subvert as bourgeois and unpatriotic.

Modern Replicas of Art Deco Jewelry

Both the costume and fine jewelry pieces from the Art Deco period are characterized by bold shapes and what most people call architectural design elements. Baguette cut stones became much more popular in the Art Deco movement, which made it possible to have some interesting contrast in the horizontal and vertical planes of a piece. To this day, you're likely to see settings such as a marquis cut diamond (which is elongated on the vertical axis) surrounded by baguettes which taper down more gently on the horizontal axis, all the while making the center stone seem even more brilliant and dramatic.

Replicas of Art Deco costume jewelry can be sophisticated and fun. You can also find pieces influenced by the style, but with a slightly more elegant modern twist than their sportier authentic counterparts. You can find lovely dangling earrings with affordable semi-precious stones, or much costlier gold, white gold, and platinum pieces that feature flawless gemstones.


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