Art Deco

Let's enjoy Art Deco, the movement that influenced art at all levels, from architecture, through the world of cinema and, of course, jewelry.

In the sigh that was the interwar period of the 20th century is when this movement emerges and flourishes, although it had been gestating since the presentation of the avant-gardes (cubism, constructivism, futurism...), first by a few artists dedicated to the decorative arts. It would not be until 1925 with the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts that Art Deco would not enter forcefully into all areas of Western life. This new movement was no longer inspired by nature and its sinuous forms. Now people was looking for geometric shapes that could be found in machinery, in man-made constructions and in a technology that generated fascination for the automobile sector. As the Parisian jeweler Raymond Templier said:

"As I walk in the streets I see ideas for jewellery everywhere, the wheels, the cars, the machinery of today”

Other themes that influenced Art Deco and that were reflected in jewelry were Orientalism, that passion for cultures such as Chinese and Japanese, and the exoticism of the Ballets Russes with which Diaghilev enchanted the Parisian public in addition to Ancient Egypt since in In 1922 a monumental discovery was made that shock the world, the tomb of Tutankhamun. So much was the impact that the jeweler Pierre Cartier said in 1923:

"The discovery of the tomb will bring some radical changes in fashion jewelry"

And he was not mistaken, shapes of scarabs, pyramids, hieroglyphs and sunrights invaded the creations associated with the movement at all levels and, of course, also in jewelry.

But none of this would have had such an impact without the movie industry and without the "influencers" of the moment, the most golden Hollywood actresses. All actresses, from the silent vamps of the 1920s to the loud sirens of the 1930s, wore spectacular jewelry in the movies that an audience eager to live, dance and enjoy avidly consumed.

The jewelry perfectly reflected the geometry and symmetry with diamonds or faceted glass stones, cut in emerald or baguette and with a great predominance of black and white. White was made from diamonds, crystal and white gold, introduced in 1915 as an alternative to the much more expensive platinum, and black was made from enamel or onyx. However, on many occasions, the piece was enhanced with motifs of beautiful colors in enamel or stones such as emeralds, rubies, etc. or their crystal imitations

The materials were based on the budget to make the piece although, sometimes, the value of the piece was not directly proportional to the economic power of its wearer, since It was after the First World War that Coco Chanel democratized jewelry by creating a new concept that put at the mercy of each outfit, pieces of jewelry that would complete it by imitating precious materials with cheaper ones, deceiving the eye and putting the jewelry at the reach of rich and poor.

In any case, there was no lack of great jewelers such as Cartier, Fouquet, Van Cleef & Arpels, Boucheron or Templier who created true artworks and signed the most beautiful pieces of fine jewelry.

But since nothing is forever, Art Deco was dying when the 40s arrived and a brutal storm loomed over the world. A storm that would necessarily change humanity forever at all levels and that, once again, changed the rules of the game, of the arts and fashion, ending one of the richest artistic movements of the 20th century.