top of page

A Guide to Art Deco Jewellery

The Art Deco era was a whirlwind of excitement and innovation and is particularly remembered for its flamboyant fashion choices, fringe shaking flapper dresses, bold geometric shapes and people living their Great Gatsby lifestyle. An element of this era that is still popular today is the spectacular, bold geometric art deco jewellery.

Diamond and Ruby Art deco Ring
Diamond & Ruby Art Deco Ring

In the 1920's women's fashion changed dramatically, particularly after the horrors of WW1. People were all too aware of how short life could be so they embraced life! And what better way to do so than by dancing the night away in a 1920s jazz club dressed in their finest; wearing statement jewels and the best clothes that money could buy.  It was an era of decadence and excess, spurred on by a significant economic boom, the rise of consumerism, the emergence of women in the workforce and a culture of rebellion. These shifts in lifestyle had a profound impact on fashion, ushering in an era of liberation from restrictive corsets, conservative styles, and the elegant silhouettes of the Edwardian era. Instead, hemlines rose, waistlines dropped, and looser, more relaxed styles were preferred. This huge sense of freedom and fun was reflected in fashion and jewellery.

Sapphire and Diamond Art Deco Ring
Sapphire and Diamond Art Deco Ring

Geometrical Design

Geometrical design was influenced by several factors that reflected the social, cultural, and artistic climate of the Art Deco period. The 1920s represented a period of significant societal transformation, characterised by rapid technological advancements and evolving social norms. These shifts toward modernity and urban lifestyles were mirrored in the design trends of the era. Geometric jewellery designs symbolised progress, sophistication, and the excitement of the modern age, resonating with individuals keen to embrace the spirit of the times.

Diamond Art Deco Ring
Diamond Art Deco Ring

Invisible settings

It was popular for jewellery of this time to have invisible settings. This technique involves setting gemstones in such a way that the metal holding them in place is hidden from view, giving the illusion that the stones are magically suspended or floating. There are several reasons for the rise in popularity of this style which are:

Aesthetic: The art deco movement was fascinated by geometric designs, clean lines, bold designs. Invisible settings perfectly complemented this aesthetic.

Technical Innovation: The development of new techniques and technologies during the Art Deco period facilitated the rise of invisible settings. Advances in metalwork and gemstone cutting made it possible for jewellers to securely hold gemstones in place without the need for traditional settings.

Modernity: The Art Deco period was a time of rapid technological advancement and social change. Invisible settings symbolised the modernity and innovation of the era, reflecting a departure from traditional jewellery-making techniques and embracing cutting-edge design principles.

Art Deco Aquamarine Necklace
Art Deco Aquamarine Necklace

Gem Cutting

Gem cutting in the 1920s saw significant advancements and innovations, reflecting both technological developments and evolving artistic trends. Advances in machinery meant that cutting gemstones into new exciting shapes had never been easier and allowed jewellers to be creative by producing innovative mosaic like designs which before weren't possible.

Ruby, Sapphire & Diamond Eternity Band
Ruby, Sapphire & Diamond Eternity Band

Synthetic Materials

Bakelite was the most popular synthetic material of the Art Deco period, it revolutionised the world of jewellery during this time as the first synthetic plastic material. Bakelite become ever more popular in jewellery due to it's versatility and durability. It was used to imitate gemstones, amber, wood and bone and other natural materials.

Cultured Pearls

The process of culturing pearls was developed during the Art Deco period through a process of stimulating pearl growth within oysters, this offered a more affordable alternative as natural pearls were highly rare and expensive. As a result, cultured pearls became increasingly popular among consumers who desired the lustrous beauty of pearls without the exorbitant price tag.

Women wearing a Pearl Necklace
Pearl Necklace

International Influence

During the Art Deco period there were a handful of international influence, but one that particularly stands out is the exciting new archaeological discoveries made in Egypt, the tomb of Tutankhamen was discovered and excavated. This had huge influence on the Art Deco design motifs. Geometric motifs, which were prevalent in the art and architecture of these civilisations, were reinterpreted and incorporated into Art Deco jewellery designs. This fusion of ancient and modern elements imbued jewellery with a sense of timelessness and exoticism.

What was different about Art Deco jewellery?

Art deco jewellery was heavily influenced by architecture, with bold statement designs, geometric patterns, straight lines, squares, triangles, pyramids and arcs to create breathtakingly beautiful intricate statement designs. During the previous decade of 1910, the Edwardian era, it was popular for jewellery to be delicate and intricate, pieces often featured filigree work, milgrain detailing, and lace-like motifs inspired by nature, such as garlands, bows, and floral patterns. Both eras represent distinct periods in jewellery design history. Edwardian jewellery is renowned for its delicate, romantic designs and use of platinum and diamonds, while Art Deco jewellery is celebrated for its bold, geometric shapes, vibrant colours, and modernist aesthetic.

What metal was the most popular in the Art Deco period?

After the war there was a rise in popularity for platinum, as well as a new, less expensive material called osmior, plator or platinor. These materials were strong and malleable which made it easier to create intricate designs.

Why is Art Deco jewellery so popular?

Art Deco jewellery remains highly popular for several reasons. During the 1920s, it became a symbol of bold self-expression, with many women opting for striking geometric designs such as gemstone and diamond rings, dazzling tiaras, or large brooches to make a statement. These pieces reflected the spirit of the era, characterised by a desire for innovation, glamour, and individuality.

Today, Art Deco jewellery continues to captivate enthusiasts for its timeless elegance and historical significance. Antique jewellers offer a treasure trove of unique pieces that embody the glamour and sophistication of the Art Deco period.

Why buy Art Deco jewellery?

If you're a lover of statement styles and unforgettable geometric designs, purchasing an Art Deco piece of jewellery would be a great addition to your collection, plus owning a little piece from this era offers a unique connection to one of the most exciting periods in fashion history.

Why choose an Art Deco Engagement Ring?

Art Deco engagement rings are renowned for their timeless elegance and sophistication. Inspired by the glamorous and dynamic aesthetic of the Roaring Twenties, these rings exude a sense of luxury and refinement that transcends trends and fads. With their clean lines, geometric shapes, and bold detailing, Art Deco rings make a striking statement that stands the test of time. Another reason to choose an Art Deco engagement ring would be its uniqueness. Unlike modern rings that often follow similar design, Art Deco rings feature bold, innovative designs that are truly one-of-a-kind. From geometric motifs and intricate filigree work to vibrant gemstones and contrasting metals. And lastly, their historical significance. Art Deco engagement rings carry a sense of history and heritage that adds depth and meaning to the piece.

Art Deco Rings

Explore our selection of Art Deco and Art Deco style rings.

Diamond Art Deco Engagement Ring
Diamond Art Deco Engagement Ring

Art Deco Earrings

Discover our selection of intricate Art Deco Earrings

Art Deco Drop Earrings
Art Deco Drop Earrings

Art Deco Necklaces

Discover our Art deco necklaces

Women wearing a Sapphire & Diamond Pendant
Art Deco Style Sapphire & Diamond Pendant

Art Deco Brooches

View our selection of beautiful Art Deco brooches.

Art Deco Diamond and Pearl Brooch
Art Deco Diamond and Pearl Brooch