Art Nouveau jewellery
The style of decoration current in the 1890s and early 1900s, the name being derived from a gallery for interior decoration opened by Samuel Bing in Paris in 1896, called the ‘Maison de l’Art Nouveau‘. It was introduced in England c. 1890, mainly as a product of the movement started by William Morris and the Pre-Raphaelites, which spread to the Continent and America.
It came to an end with the outbreak of World War I. The same style in Germany was called Jugendstil, after a magazine called Die Jugend (Youth), and in Italy Floreale or Stile Liberty (after the London store that featured it).
Applicable to all the decorative arts, it was adapted to jewellery in England and on the Continent. The style resulted from a revolt against the rigid styles of the previously mass-produced wares and a philosophy that sought to revive the craft movement and aestheticism in art.
It featured freeflowing, curving lines with asymmetrical natural motifs, such as intertwining floral patterns, butterflies and dragonflies, and ethereal, human, female faces, greatly influenced by Japanese art.
Art Nouveau jewellery used gemstones to emphasize their beauty, preferring pearls and cabochon opals and moonstones rather than faceted stones, and employed colorful enamelling. The pieces include pendants, necklaces, and elaborate hair ornaments.
Eventually its own extravagances led to its demise, c.1910-14.
Among its leading exponents in France were Rene Lalique, Maison Vever, Georges Fouquet, and Lucien Gaillard, in Belgium Philippe Wolfers, and in Vienna Josef Hoffmann (1870-1955).
In England the leaders were Charles R. Ashbee and Henry Wilsn, and in Scotland Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
Art Deco jewelry
A decorative style that originated in France in the 1920s and 1930s in protest against the Art Nouveau jewellery style and later art movements, and that was popularized in the United States. Scorned by many in its early period, it reacquired some popularity in the 1960s and 1970s.
The style emphasized abstract designs and geometric patterns. Examples are found in many branches of the decorative arts, including jewelry.
The name is derived from ‘L’ Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes’, held in Paris in 1925.
Geometric style jewelry
A decorative style for jewelry developed in the 1920-30s in which the form is in abstract geometric shapes, produced with great precision, and the articles generally are smooth and highly polished. Such jewelry was a development of the Art Deco jewelry style, and the designers who worked in this style included Georges Fouquet, Raymond Templier, and Wiven Nilsson.