Art Deco Jewellery


As the world recovered from WWI, the Art Deco movement saw jewellery go from simple and sophisticated to captivatingly ornate. With contrast, colour, geometry, detail and creativity at the fore front of the Art Deco jewellery movement, it was clear that this was a very special moment in jewellery history.

Our range of antique Art Deco jewellery shows off the creativity that was on display in the period, making for fascinating additions to any vintage Art Deco jewellery collection.

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The popularity of Art Deco jewellery rose throughout the 1920s, a period of decadence born following the troubles of the First World War.

Embodied by bright colours and intricate, geometric detailing, its influence on jewellery design is clear even today. Modern jewellery designers often from the trademarks of this opulent and vibrant period in history, though there is nothing quite like the beauty of authentic antique Art Deco jewellery.

At the time, although the country was still recovering from war, many people were prospering financially. Young people were rebelling against the common rules of etiquette in society and creating new rules of their own. This rebelliousness resulted in a boom in the jewellery industry, as flapper girls, excited by the prospect of nightlife, bejewelled themselves in diamonds and pearls.

At the time, brooches and dress clips were worn attached to blouses or cloche hats, and long pearl necklaces rose to fame. The fashion for short, closely cropped hair on women created another canvas for jewellery, and dangle earrings soon came into fashion.

Even accessories such as cigarette holders and cases, watches, and evening bags were being produced by jewellery houses – it was truly an age of glamour.

When was the Art Deco period?

Historians mark the beginning of the Art Deco period at between 1910 and 1920, initially originating in Paris.

However, the rise of the Art Deco movement is more commonly associated with the period following the First World War, increasing in prominence throughout the 1920s and 1930s, when demand for bright, extravagant Art Deco jewellery, fashion and design was at its highest in the United Kingdom and the United States.

With this in mind, the Art Deco era is generally placed at 1910 – 1939, ending at the beginning of WWII.

What are the characteristics of Art Deco jewellery?

The most famous trademarks of vintage Art Deco jewellery are clean lines and geometric shapes, as well as vibrant gemstones, diamonds and pearls.

Gemstones associated with antique Art Deco pieces include amethyst, emerald and sapphire. This period also saw a rise in the use of white metals – platinum, white gold and silver.

For a deeper look at what makes Art Deco jewellery so special, make sure that you take a look at the Gatsby Jewellery blog.

Who were the most famous Art Deco jewellery designers?

Amongst the most famous jewellery designers of the Art Deco period were Raymond Templier, Jean Fouquet, Jeanne Bovin and, of course, Cartier.

These are just a few of the stalwarts of the Art Deco movement, with many of the period’s most popular designers originating in Europe.

For more information on Art Deco jewellery designers, as well as the signatures of each designer’s work, be sure to read our look at influential Art Deco jewellers.

What influenced the Art Deco movement?

The booming popularity of the Art Deco period throughout the 1920s and 1930s is generally credited to the increased demand for bright, ornate designs following WWI. However, the designs themselves were influenced greatly by an eclectic mix of world cultures.

In particular, the excavation of King Tutankhamun’s tomb in Egypt in 1922 inspired jewellers and designers all over the world. The colours and shapes of the treasures found inside the tomb influenced the common use of enamelling and stones such as onyx or coral throughout the era.

How do you identify Art Deco jewellery?

Aside from the signature design features of Art Deco jewellery (geometric shapes, clean lines), you can generally identify authentic antique Art Deco jewellery by the quality and style of craftsmanship and the stones used in the design.

Popular stones include emeralds, sapphires, diamonds, amethysts and pearls, often placed using pavé settings.

The pieces above are all authentic antique and vintage Art Deco jewellery pieces, lovingly selected by Gatsby Jewellery.

What’s the difference between Art Deco and Art Nouveau?

The Art Nouveau period preceded the Art Deco era – a fleeting movement which took place between 1898 – 1910 and was characterised by diamonds, pearls and intricate designs.

For more information on Art Nouveau jewellery, take a look at our blog on the history of Art Nouveau jewellery or browse our own collection of antique Art Nouveau jewellery here.