The end of the 19th century summed up Romanticism and Neo-Styling. People were tired of them. But it is about fashionistas from 19th century. For us these styles are important and interesting once again. And you can read about them in the appropriate post. But the public of the last century yearned for something new. And it came in the early 90s of the 19th century. The Art Nouveau jewelry style appeared in France and Germany at first. And further it spread almost everywhere – in England, Belgium, Austria, Scandinavia and Russia. Now this style you can see in almost every modern collection. Interestingly, will you find the art nouveau style in your jewelry? Click To Tweet
Emerged in the late 19th-century, Art Nouveau (or its other names – Modern, Tiffany and so on) was processing everything antique in order to create the perfect jewelry item. Jewelers mixed clothing, architecture and accessories in order to create the perfect adornment. Of course, with such a delicate and complex studies of large objects, masters of jewelry had to correspond to the era.
Moderne/ Art Nouveau/ Jugendstil… This style distinctive feature is the rejection of straight lines and angles in favor of more natural lines, interest in new technologies (for example in architecture), the flowering of applied art. Art Nouveau sought to combine the artistic and utilitarian functions of the created works, to involve all spheres of human activity in the sphere of beauty.
The mood of Art Nouveau jewelry is soft, mystical, and romantic. Pale colors and flowing, undulating curves helped to establish a soothing aura. Victorian and Edwardian jewelers often borrowed ideas from ancient and classical art and architecture. Art Nouveau jewelers, greatly influenced by depictions of nature in Japanese art, looked to the natural world for inspiration. Orchids, irises, lilies, ferns, snakes, dragonflies, and butterflies were all prevalent motifs in Art Nouveau jewelry, as were depictions of the female form.” – from Brilliantearth.com
Personal exhibitions of jewelry art appeared during the very Art Nouveau era. Click To Tweet Catalogs of fashion adornments began to be printed in magazines. Museums began to buy jewelry collections. The World Exhibition, held in Paris in 1900, applauded to jewelers as to real art masters.
1. Jewelry materials
Art Nouveau style completely “blowed up” the jewelry world. The basis of the Art Nouveau style was not the value of jewelry, but the artistic taste. If earlier jewelry jewelers made of gold of the highest quality and precious stones of the first category such as diamonds, emeralds, rubies, sapphires and pearls, at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries artists appreciated charms of other materials. Bright colors of opals, tourmaline, chalcedony, moonstone , aquamarine and green pomegranates replaced the formalism of diamonds. Diamonds were just a backlighting background. A wrapper for the notion of other stones’ beauty.
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Among the movies, “Titanic” is a real guide for Art Nouveau jewelry style. Probably everyone remembers the scene, where the young artist Jack Dawson draws his beloved Rose. She had nothing on her body, except a luxury necklace with a dark blue stone – “Heart of the Ocean”. Now this scene is one of the most romantic and emotional. And this art nouveau jewelry item has gained the worldwide popularity. But not many people know that to make a beautiful pendant “Heart of the Ocean” from “Titanic” movie, jewelers have chosen a precious tanzanite.
The favorite technique of Art Nouveau jewelry was enamel. Click To TweetFor it jewelry masters invented new possibilities and revived old traditions. This is one of those things that jewelers of the new era have adopted from the Romanticism and Neo-styles epochs.
One of the brightest representatives of the Modern Age, who created art nouveau jewelry, was, undoubtedly, René Lalique. He was an outstanding jeweler and glass master. He combined amber, enamel, metal alloys, horn, tortoiseshell panzer in his products … While experimenting, he vividly conveyed images of seemingly simple plants.
2. Style directions
In the latter half of the nineteenth century, there were many forces at work in the world of decorative arts that would be propel artisans out of the humdrum and into the incredible. A marshaling force for inspiration in the arts was the reopening of the trade routes with the East in 1858. The Japanese were invited to participate in the 1862 International Exhibition in London and the Japanese prints and woodcuts, with their simple yet elegant interpretation of nature, Had a profound influence on those looking for a new aesthetic. Japonisme, as it came to be called, provided the antidote to the fussiness of Victorian era. Jewelers soaked up the Japanese bond between nature and design, its simplicity of form, the intense use of color and the concept of mixed metals, giving birth to an entirely new decorative style.” – from Langantiques.com
At first, Art Nouveau jewelry art was full of gothic culture. Click To Tweet It is about predominance of vertical compositions, frequent motif of the lily as a sign of detached refinement, image of a skinny melancholic virgin with closed eyes. By the way, quite a strange opposition to the Victorian era, don’t you think so? Also Art Nouveau art got features of the Creto-Mycenaean and Etruscan ancient cultures and even a bit of Ancient Egypt style. The ornamental series borrowed elements from Celtic culture and book patterns.
3. The most relevant jewelry
The appearance of female body in jewelry became the most significant innovation of that times. Until this time, female motifs appeared only in cameos and intaglios. The chaste era of the 19th century simply could not imagine that woman would wear jewelry that would portray another, sensual, seductive and desirable beauty. However, women of Art Nouveau epoch readily responded to this challenge of style. And jewelry with the image of beautiful and mysterious naked fairies or nymphs became very popular.
Among the jewelry and accessories of Art Nouveau era, necklaces were particularly popular. Necklace with “fringe” (pearl or diamond) ideally suited to the evening dress. Fashion world of that times also included wide “collars” with stones; elegant headbands with a stone on a long rod. Hair could be decorated with exquisite combs made of gold and precious stones.
Plants appeared not only as the blossoming flowers, but also buds, rudiments and withering inflorescences. Although, rose was not the favourite one in the era of Art Nouveau jewelry. But all the water flowers – primroses, erotic irises, orchids and foxgloves – appeared in fashion adornments. And also thanks to Macintosh arts, the image of thistle appeared in jewelers’ art as well.
4. Art Nouveau fashionistas
For a long time only noble and rich people could afford to buy jewelry. But the XIX century made many precious products more accessible to other segments of the population. Technical progress made possible to develop techniques that created jewelry cheaper. But at the same time – not the less quality. But, because of this, many jewelry brands began to go bankrupt.
This epoch, like all other epochs, had a summary of its rules, even a few strange and incomprehensible to us today. According to the rules of good tone, diamonds were worn by fashionistas only after 5 PM. Up to 5 PM they put on opaque stones: opal, nephrite, corals and hematite.
There’s no doubt Art Nouveau was meant for a very select sample of society. It also was expensive, so most pieces were donned by wealthy, artistic types. Demimonde, unmarried women who were supported by wealthy lovers and considered to be on the fringes of acceptable society, wore Art Nouveau jewelry as did a number of well-known entertainers.” – from Nationaljeweler.com
Since the beginning of the XX century Art Nouveau was declining.
The geometric decor replaced its flowing lines. And the floral flow of Art Nouveau got a geometric one. In late era of modernism, there already appeared features of constructivism and a new style with an interesting jewelry embodiment – the Art Deco.
Though highly influential, Art Nouveau was relatively short-lived, overtaken by the Arts and Crafts style that preceded it and the Art Deco look that would follow. Both emphasized graphic impact over the more illustrative details of Art Nouveau, while Art Deco in particular would usher in an aesthetic that seemed perfect for the Jazz Age.” – from Collectorsweekly.com