Art Deco Jewelry Era

Learn about the Art Deco era, a period of expressive, bold and high-spirited styles.

Historical Context

The Art Deco era, running roughly from 1920 to 1935, was a high-spirited era of gangsters, flappers, and speakeasies. During the Roaring Twenties, the economy boomed and jazz blossomed just as Prohibition heightened the urge to cast aside Victorian restraints.

The Art Deco Style

Art Deco jewelry is stylish and fun. Jewelry, like other areas of fashion, became a realm in which women felt free to express their individuality. Styles became bolder, sharper, and more masculine than in previous periods. The lacy, filigree patterns of Edwardian jewelry and the soft pastels and curves of Art Nouveau jewelry gave way to brighter colors and straighter lines. A signature characteristic of Art Deco jewelry is the use of futuristic motifs and geometric forms, reflecting the confident and free-thinking spirit of the times. The soaring Empire State Building and Cubist paintings of Pablo Picasso perfectly embodied the new design choices of the Art Deco era.

During the Art Deco era, advancements in cutting techniques, including the advent of the modern round brilliant cut style, allowed for diamonds to become more dazzling and scintillating than ever before. Meanwhile, prosperity was permitting more people to afford diamond jewelry and engagement rings. New casting techniques further increased accessibility, as jewelers discovered more efficient ways to produce the most intricately detailed of settings. With platinum becoming a popular material, jewelers began using white gold—an alloyed form of gold—that was more affordable than either platinum or yellow gold though with a hue that was nearly identical to platinum.

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