The Art Deco era was defined by linear, geometric and graphic designs. True Art Deco pieces were created from approximately 1910 until the mid 1940's. Platinum was the metal of choice and gemstones were incorporated into fascinating modern designs. Diamonds, sapphires, emeralds and rubies were quite popular.
The style took its name from the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs that was held in Paris in 1925. This international exposition showcased innovations in jewelry, furniture and other arts..
During the Art Deco era, buildings were embellished with hard-edged and low-relief designs. More geometric shapes were introduced, including chevrons, ziggurats as well as stylized floral and sunrise patterns. The shapes and decorations were inspired by motifs originally seen in Japan and China as well as Egypt.
The Art Deco era also promoted some of the most dynamic collaborations. Artists, architects, sculptors, painters and designers worked together to recreate the complete Art Deco environment.
Jewelry produced in this era is known as stylish and fun. Once again, jewelry became a realm where women felt free to express their individuality. The filigree patterns which were seen in Edwardian jewelry and the soft curves in the Art Nouveau era were followed by new designs with brighter colors and straighter lines.
One of the most significant characteristics of Art Deco jewelry is the use of new futuristic motifs as well as geometric forms. The confident and free-thinking spirit of the times was ideally expressed. From the soaring Empire State Building to the beaches in Miami and the Cubist paintings of Pablo Picasso, the Art Deco era influenced every industry.
The Art Deco era also brought several advancements in gemstone cutting techniques. This was a time when the advent of the modern round brilliant cut style was introduced - allowing for diamonds to become even more dazzling and more unique than any time before. Diamond jewelry was also becoming more affordable.
From casting to cutting and shaping, new techniques increased accessibility to gemstones and jewelers discovered numerous methods for producing finely detailed settings. Jewelers began using white gold which was the most sophisticated form of alloyed gold. Its hues made it nearly identical to platinum but it was quite a bit more affordable.
The lines in furniture, architecture, arts and jewelry make period Art Deco items distinct and identifiable.