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The Timelessness of Art Deco Jewelry

The Timelessness of Art Deco Jewelry

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The Timelessness of Art Deco Jewelry

A century after its initial popularity, art deco jewelry is still in high demand. It's a style that dominated fashion the 1920s and 1930s, with an emphasis on simplicity, symmetry and geometry. Here are essential reasons why this style of jewelry lives on in the 21st century.

Symbolism and Characteristics

The widespread popularity of art deco jewelry grew after it was showcased at the 1925 World's Fair in Paris. Art deco was a fashion that went beyond jewelry and included clothing, architecture and graphic art. It was an optimistic period of breaking away from older, more elaborate designs following the art nouveau period.

Many people today still confuse art nouveau with art deco jewelry, yet they have striking differences. Both fashions came from France, but were otherwise generally far apart in design. While art nouveau offered more detailed designs, art deco focused on basic straight lines, angles, sharp corners and cubism.

In the roaring '20s, art deco was an expression for women to celebrate freedom after gaining the right to vote in 1920. Women typically wore shorter hair to show off long earrings and long necklaces. Linear qualities stand out in art deco, as the Empire State Building was built in the early '30s and is an example of art deco architecture.

A primary theme of art deco jewelry was minimal metal, which was usually comprised of yellow, white gold or platinum. Sometimes silver was used, along with other eye-catching elements, such as crystals or enamel to add to the artistry. Overall, art deco jewelry is associated with beauty, glamor, and romance.

Authentic vs. Modern Art Deco Style

Some of the features of original art deco jewelry included diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires. A select range of colored stones were also common, as well as tiny rhinestones. Much of the style was meant to be casual, although it also crossed over into fine jewelry. Popular brands of the 1920s included Tiffany & Co. and Cartier.

Authentic art deco from the 1920s/1930s era should include a manufacturer's hallmark to indicate the year it was made. More modern versions fit into a category known as "art deco style," which simulates characteristics of the original era. The original jewelry, of course, commands more value if it can be authenticated by a professional gemologist.

Why Art Deco Is Still Popular

Enduring interest in art deco style is a result of its wide selection of creativity, despite a move toward minimalism. Part of the hypnotic effect of this jewelry style stems from its emphasis more on stones than metal. At the same time, the minimal metal adds a subtle quality to the overall presentation.

Art deco jewelry is common for both wedding rings and a more casual look. The focus on straight lines and unique but simple geometric shapes gives it a timeless appeal. The original jewelry of the period is now considered antique, which makes it more collectable.


Understanding the value and demand of art deco jewelry is important before making a purchase. Contact us at Ralph Mueller & Associates to learn more about how we can assist you in your search for desirable art deco jewelry.