It’s no secret that I love the precision and beauty of Art Deco design. With a new collection of art deco inspired jewellery on the way, I thought I’d share some of the fascinating history of Art Deco and its origins.
What is Art Deco, anyway?
Art Deco is best characterised by precise and bold geometric shapes, using rich and strong colours and contrasts. You’ll find it most commonly in architecture (think the Chrysler Building in New York), household objects, as well as fashion and graphic design.
Art Deco first appeared as a reaction to Art Nouveau, which itself was full of flowing sinuous lines, heavy floral decoration and intricate detail. Art Deco had a more fragmented, geometric nature with inspiration from a wide range of influences. Creative inspirations were taken from around the globe, the tomb of the boy pharaoh, Tutankhamun, had just been uncovered in Eygpt, the abstract geometry of African textiles, the sleek sophistication of Paris, right through to the design of modern trains, ships and automobiles.
Art Deco was set against the backdrop of the ‘Roaring twenties’, a time of exuberant wild youth recovering from the horrors of The Great War, embracing prosperity and fast cars – and defying prohibition. People wanted to indulge in new styles of dressing and dancing that rejected many traditional moral standards.
Art Deco fashion was characterised by long sleek lines with geometric detailing, it had an elegance of Hollywood-esque glamour which allowed for statement jewellery to shine.
Jewellery in the 1920s and 30s borrowed heavily from the architecture of the time, with geometric shapes, bold contrasting colours and crisp, straight lines. Art Deco Jewellery is designed to make a statement, but one of sophistication!
The style exudes glamour and luxury and is epitomised by symmetrical designs and exuberant shapes.
By the 30’s mass production meant that the style was easily replicated and allowed for the masses to have a little of this everyday luxe in their lives.
This idea of everyday luxury, sophistication, crisp lines and contrasting shapes is what draws me to this era time and time again and form the basis of my silver art deco jewellery range.
The 20’s felt like an age of decadence and excess, after WW1, people were all too aware of how short life could be – so of course they decided to enjoy it! Dancing the night away in Jazz clubs, dressed in your finest with the best jewellery you could afford. But was it excess or smart thinking? After all, these jewels were made to last, they made people feel good after making do for so long.
Old school Hollywood glamour has never gone out of style and using timeless, high quality materials is something that feels more and more important in our modern world.