Glitzy. Glamourous. Flamboyant. The Roaring 20s were a period of evolving fashion and sparkling society. For many, this decade evokes ostentatious “Gatsby-esque” celebrations, as well as the birth of mass culture, jazz music, and the ‘new woman’. The onset of new fashion trends that broke all the rules mimicked the changing society as a whole, and those changes continue to reverberate through the decades.
Following the Great War, culture in the United States experienced a seismic shift into the modern era. Monumental skyscrapers, like the Empire State Building, soared above cities, and the brilliant sheen of steel that seemed to nearly swallow New York City. Airplanes and automobiles made travel easier than ever before. The rapidly changing culture expanded throughout all aspects of life: politics, social issues, and even fashion. As society shrugged off the final vestiges of Victorian era culture, modern women in the machine age traded in their old-fashioned corsets for the low waistlines and loose silhouettes that today epitomize the flapper style.
The opulence and abandon during the 1920s certainly shows American glamour at its height. Coupled with the push and pull of the ever stimulating new metropolis, fashion now established itself as ultra-feminine and chic. This streamlined decorative art style was seen throughout the aesthetic culture of the age, becoming what we know today as American Art Deco. The birth of the art deco movement changed the way jewelry would be designed for years to come. In this emerald and diamond bracelet, the striking effects of geometry and symmetry are most evident. This piece reflects designs reduced to its rudimentary geometric essence, resulting in cleaner style, yet still incorporating brilliant colored stones for vibrant effect.
Inspired, in part, by society’s new adoration of technology and art deco architecture design, Art Deco jewelry mimicked the streamlined aesthetics of these crisp angular and geometric styles. This statement period diamond brooch fully embraces this new “cosmopolitan chic” which surged with popularity. Reverberating with the crisp angles, symmetry, and high stylization of the Art Deco style, it represents the exuberant spirit of the culture.
The interpretation of the Art Deco style varied widely, from emphasizing separate aspects to depictions of different themes. For some, this interpretation resulted in energetic colors and accents; for others, this meant emphasizing jewelry’s intrinsic, graceful values, like in this elegant emerald and diamond pin. However, for many savvy and modern Art Deco jewelers, this interpretation resulted in large scale pieces and gemstones. For instance, this rubellite cocktail ring brings a unique example of the taste and personality of Art Deco era characteristics. At a monumental 16.12cts, the rubellite gemstone reflects the exuberance of the 1920s culture. Almost certainly worn as a cocktail ring, it is the epitome of the free-flowing personality and high style of the time.
Now, more than ever, Art Deco period pieces have experienced a particularly popular resurgence in the jewelry world – movies such as The Great Gatsby glorify the high-spirited Jazz Age and all the glamour that came with it. Exploring the boundaries of geometry in a way that is both stylish and fun, Art Deco jewelry reflects the confidence of its age. The Art deco design movement has inspired everything from interior design and furniture, to fashion and jewelry with its geometric shapes, seamless patterns, and vibrant colors. Classic, yet bold, vintage Art Deco designs remain one of the most enduring sought after styles of the last century.