The Glamour of the Art Deco Era

By Florence Brabant

Platinum Art Deco Emerald and Diamonds Ring. New York, circa 1925. Courtesy of J. & S.S. DeYoung, Inc.

The Art Deco era was a very interesting and dynamic period in jewelry history. Even the depression happened in the middle of this era — people bounced back with luxury and style! Diamonds sparkle everywhere! Nothing is too much!

“What do you mean I can’t get a purse finished with diamonds?” Not in this era! Geometric cut diamonds such as baguettes, trapezoids, and marquises were introduced — creativity jumped to a higher level and innovation was tickling in the hands of jewelry craftsmen.

The most glamorous rings, bracelets, sautoirs, headbands, cuffs, and clips were designed. The pieces were living up along with the growing haute couture. One of the famous designers back then was Madame Grès. She was known for her elegant pleated Greek dress designs. She was quoted as saying, “For a dress to survive from one era to the next, it must be marked with an extreme purity.”

Others shared her vision in their creations: Cartier, Van Cleef and Arpels, Chaumet, Boucheron, and many other leading jewelry houses. Their quality and outstanding design were reflected in their jewelry. Many other anonymous artists were pushing to deliver the same quality as their leaders.

And here we are; their creations survived from one era to the next. Art deco glamour remains one of the most desirable styles in jewelry. Why don’t you treat yourself or your loved ones with something that is just as beautiful today as 100 years ago? It is the ideal accessory to mark the word “chic” in the “casual-chic” dress code of today.

Blue jeans topped with a white shirt and rocking an art deco cocktail ring might just do it. Or for an evening look, that same ring can be dressed up to celebrate even something as festive as New Year’s Eve… It will dazzle just as fabulously in the disco lights as in the morning daylight. Diamonds dance in any kind of light with a different charm.

If you want to go deeper into the history of glamour and luxury, a must-visit is the exposition “Luxes” in Paris. It is taking place at the musée des arts décoratifs and it runs until May 2nd 2021. There is a flow of different themes and it brings appreciation for designers and artists that made a difference in luxury history. Enjoy!

Boucheron velvet, platinum and diamond evening bag. Courtesy of Camille Bessard for La Galerie Parisienne

The Magic of Silver Over Gold Jewelry

By Florence Brabant

Silver over gold or silver-topped jewelry was very popular during the Georgian jewelry period. It dates from circa 1714 to 1835, spanning the reigns of four kings of England, all named George. It makes it easy to remember.

Back then, they used silver and gold for jewelry design. Platinum, although discovered in the 1700s, was not widely used in jewelry until the late 1800s.

The jewelry designs were inspired by the Baroque and Rococo style. Bow motifs and teardrop shapes were in fashion. Jewelry was set with colorful large stones such as sapphires, emeralds, topazes, citrines, amethysts, garnets, and diamonds, of course.

It was especially important for the security of the gemstones that they were set in gold. A layer of silver over the gold was added afterwards to get a different shiny look than the glowing gold one.

The silver topping works its magic when the diamonds sparkle in candlelight. It looks like the diamonds are floating out of their mountings. This unique appearance actually happened unintentionally.

We can all picture the elegant balls, dinners, and parties that were held with huge chandeliers and candle holders everywhere as electricity did not exist yet. The ladies were dressed up in large elegant dresses, wearing wigs and shined up with a ton of jewelry. The movie of “Marie Antoinette” of 2006 with Kirsten Dust has a few scenes where you can see this floating effect of the stones in candlelight (Fig. 1).

How to wear this jewelry today?

The elegant flows and romanticism in its design is in line with the boho chic dress code.  Earrings, rings, headbands and necklaces are especially popular in style.

Georgian silver over gold rose cut diamond pendant earrings. Courtesy of Paul Fisher Inc.