Art Nouveau Period Jewelry

Russian and Japanese influences shaped the thin, delicate jewelry of the Art Nouveau period. Glass and metals were used in pendants, and their shape often mimicked nature in the form of dragonflies and dandelions.

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1890-1914 Art Nouveau

  • The styles of the period were influenced by the Japanese work and artisanship displayed at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia.
  • One of the most popular designers of the period was Rene Jules Lalique; he garnered even more attention when the French actress Sarah Bernhardt began wearing his pieces.Art Nouveau
  • Lalique focused on dramatic and colorful motifs consisting of orchids, irises, dragonflies and delicate women’s heads with flowing hair.  Accent stones were typically moonstone, opal, and other common colored gemstones.
  • The elaborate and decorative styles of the period could be seen in the art, architecture, and furniture of the time.
  • Organic materials like horn, ivory, and tortoiseshell were frequently used in the designs and added to the unique and dramatic style.
  • In the US, Tiffany & Co was a major proponent of the Art Nouveau style under the direction of artist and jewelry designer Louis C. Tiffany, the son of Tiffany’s founder Charles Lewis Tiffany.Art Nouveau_212-3002015
  • Another major designer of the time was George Jensen of Denmark. His pieces are still highly collectible today, as he combined the styles of the Arts and Crafts movement and Art Nouveau in his designs.
  • Art Nouveau, the French term for “New Art”, also went by other names during this time. For example, it was known as “Stile Liberty” in Italy, and “Jugendstil” or “youth style” in Germany.

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The delicate outlines of jewelry in the Art Nouveau period demonstrate more advances in design and craftsmanship. This period is also known for placing higher significance on the design of the setting, as opposed to the center stone of a ring, pendant, or bracelet.

Stay tuned! Next week we will take a look at the Art Deco period- when even swimwear demanded the accompaniment of jewels and jewelry!

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