The genesis of the Art Deco movement came from a world fair in Paris France, The Exposition des Arts Decoratifs et Industrials.
The Art Deco era eschewed the feminine designs of the Edwardian era for the bold geometric designs of a modern world. An industrial age, more and more people were driving cars, flying in planes and generally leading a more modern life. This change could be seen in the artistic movements of the time: Bauhaus, Cubism, Empire Neoclassicism and Futurism.
It was also an era that looked to the rest of the world for inspiration. Like Picasso and many other artists, jewelers drew inspiration from the Ancient Aztecs, Egyptians, Tribal Africa, American Indians, Asia as well as Greek and Roman architecture.
Jewelers also looked to society for inspiration. The 1920's were a time of great change. World War I had just ended and women had a new place in the world. They had the right to vote and many had moved into the work place for the first time.
It was also the era known as “The Roaring Twenties", the era of F. Scott Fitzgerald and the Great Gatsby. Women wore high hemmed, sleeveless tunic dresses to dance the Charleston. With their arms newly exposed, women wore bracelets, bangles and watches. Some wore bracelets high on the arm. Others piled them on the wrist. Beautiful line bracelets, were the thing, encrusted with diamonds and accented with synthetic rubies, sapphires and emeralds. Also the cocktail watch was in, as was anything cocktail, to those rebelling from the strictures of the prohibition movement.
Dresses were often backless and women wore long sautoirs as well as strands of pearls down their exposed back. With the trend for short bobbed hair, many women wore long dangle earrings.
The jewelry was visually clean and geometric with bold, architectural shapes as well as striking contrasting colors. Diamonds were often paired with black onyx, bold rubies and deep blue sapphires. The stones were set in platinum, palladium and white gold for the "white look". Other popular stones were emeralds, coral, ivory, jade, mother of pearl and quartz crystal.
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