The Art Nouveau movement, or New Art Movement, came into being right on the cusp of a new century. Like the Arts & Crafts movement, it emphasized craftsmanship and design above all else, often eschewing precious stones for materials less conventional.
Influenced by the Symbolist movement, the Pre-Raphaelites, the poetry of William Blake, religious mysticism and eroticism, Art Nouveau jewelry was characterized by curving, undulating lines, asymmetry, elements of fantasy and the female image.
Combining nature and design, the jewelry of the Art Nouveau movement was populated by lush plants, birds, snakes, poppies, orchids, irises, dragonflies, butterflies and women with long flowing hair.
The Art Nouveau artists loved to mix metal and use less conventional materials like enamel, ivory, bone, shell, glass, horn, moonstone, peridot, opal, amethyst, citirine and freshwater pearl.
Lalique was one of this period’s preeminent designers and none wore it as well as the famous actress Sarah Bernhardt.
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