Art Deco Jewellery – History & Characteristics

As someone who was fascinated with history at school and have watched many documentaries on TV in the ensuing years, you are often trying to visualise what it must have been like to live through certain periods. Apart from textbooks, lectures and documentaries, you also only get to have a glimpse of the bygone past through possessions or objects the people from that time had left behind.

Naturally, some eras engross you more than others. What would it have been like in the Swinging Sixties when love, peace and free love were all in vogue for the first time and music changed forever? It was also the time that reminded you of a similar vintage style, at least in character, that you really love finding out about – the 1920’s.

The Roaring 20s must have been fascinating, coming out of World War I with new modern inventions, jazz, dancing, liberated women with the Flappers in the USA, and what was thought of as being outrageous and daring fashion. You own some artefacts from the period, but want to add to your collection by always looking out for unique art deco jewellery for sale. But what characteristics should you consider when you make your purchase?

How The Style Came To Be

Art Deco originated from 1925’s Paris World Fair, Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Moderns. It was an exhibition of art and industry. Art Deco was shaped by Cubism’s geometric shapes and the bright colours of Fauvism. White gold or platinum was the predominant materials used on items; yellow gold was rare and often inauthentic.

How It Was Worn

Art Deco jewellery was available in necklaces, with plunging necklines offering a fantastic opportunity to show off a piece with large gemstones on more revealing skin. Earrings were perfect for the new bob hairstyle as the pieces became more visible than with long hair. Rings of the period contained countless accent stones while multiple gemstones gave bracelets intricate patterns. Brooches also became a must-have accessory.


Art Deco jewellery contains many geometric motifs. It has a variety of shapes with straight lines and angles; you can find rectangles, triangles and even octagons, sometimes combined together, perfectly encapsulating the attitude of the day.

Owing to advancements in techniques in the jewellery industry, it became possible to improve the cutting of stones, allowing popular gemstones to be made into shapes like marquise, emeralds, baguettes, shields, and asschers. These were then arranged to create a mosaic, with calibre cut stones being among the telltale signs of Art Deco jewellery.

Diamonds remained popular, as they have been since they were first discovered, but the advent of different coloured gemstones often became the centrepiece of Art Deco jewellery pieces. Coloured stones such as coral, sapphires, rubies, turquoise, emeralds, onyx, and coral offered contrasting shades to create striking items.

The use of enamel came to prominence during the decade. It offered striking colours like deep reds, greens, blues, and blacks.

Keeping these things in mind will ensure that you purchase an authentic piece of Art Deco jewellery from the Roaring 20s, a golden period when people had fun.

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