Jewelry from the Art Nouveau Period (~1895–1910)

The Art Nouveau movement first began with a group of French designers who took a more artistic approach to their unique, one-of-a-kind jewelry designs. Previously, jewelers were seen more as craftsman who created traditional platinum jewelry settings as a way to mount and showcase diamonds and other precious stones used in the piece.

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During the Art Nouveau period, jewelers worked more as artisans who designed and created “works of art” often in gold or silver that were then enhanced and complimented with colored semi-precious gemstones like turquoise, opal, and moonstone. There was also a comeback in skilled enameling techniques. In plique-a-jour, unbacked wirework was filled with transparent enamel, resulting in a stained-glass effect. Cloisonné enamelwork involved areas separated by thin metal compartments filled with colored enamels.

Designs were also inspired by the natural world and the female figure. Common motifs were flowers, leaves, and insects, especially the dragonfly. Sometimes fantasy images were used by combining nature with the female form, like butterfly wings on a woman’s body or a woman’s head with a plant body. Colors were soft and pastel and the designs were curved and free-flowing.

Some of the important jewelers during this time were René Lalique, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Georges Fouquet, Lucien Gaillard, Henri Vever, and Gérard Sandoz.

Browse our Collection of Art Nouveau Jewelry here >

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