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Article: Art Nouveau Rings, Pendants & Brooches - Rare & Beautiful Art Objects

Art Nouveau Rings, Pendants & Brooches - Rare & Beautiful Art Objects - DSF Antique Jewelry
Antique Jewelry

Art Nouveau Rings, Pendants & Brooches - Rare & Beautiful Art Objects

Art Nouveau jewelry is in trend again! Gold rings, pendants, brooches, or earrings - Art Nouveau pieces are not only spectacular and rare but also an excellent investment.

Art Nouveau Jewelry - Short History

Art Nouveau jewelry was crafted during the highly creative era between 1890 - 1915 which began in the Late Victorian Era and lasted through the brief Edwardian Age. Art Nouveau jewelry is the result of an exceptional artistic movement in the history of the 20th century.

Created by a group of avant-garde artists, the Art Nouveau jewelry pieces originated in France, Belgium, and other parts of Europe, and they are treasured for their originality and design excellence.

These "Belle Epoque" fantastic jewels are extremely rare due to their limited production and the relatively short duration of the artistic movement. This is why 1900 Art Nouveau gold rings, earrings, pendants, and brooches are sought-after by many collectors and art lovers.
DSF Antique Jewelry shop, specializing in this type of rare jewelry, is pleased to offer you a beautiful collection of Art Nouveau pieces.

Art Nouveau Motifs And Designs

The 1900 jewels were inspired by nature as well as the mysterious women. Art Nouveau jewelry often highlights natural shapes and magical inventions such as the dragonfly woman. This is why we find a large number of Art Nouveau brooches, rings, or pendants representing female faces with dragonfly bodies, as well as other insect bodies. Nature is evoked in a more classic way with curved lines. The artists of the time feared symmetry and wanted to restore art to its organic essence by working with unexpected forms.
Beetles, locusts, spiders, and other insects also inspired jewelers working in Art Nouveau aesthetics. The Victorian snake, so gently wrapped in 19th-century jewelry, has been reinterpreted in new, sensual movements, details, and colors.
Other reptiles have come out of their rigid and outdated forms, becoming alive, moving, and in glorious shades. Peacocks, with their magnificent plumage, have taken on new forms with vibrant pigmentation and sinuous movements. Swans, swallows, and roosters strolled playfully and sensually among those Art Nouveau jewels.

But even the dark mythological creatures, bats, owls, eagles fabulously decorated in threatening interpretations were reinvented as fresh and revitalizing motifs in Art Nouveau jewelry design. The less adventurous, miniature landscapes, in combination with elements of nature, have also found their interpretation in jewelry.

Asian themes and iconography were also very popular among jewelry designers, so we find them in the form of dragons, Buddhas, and by the presence of the red color (a sacred color in China) through stones such as garnet, carnelian, or red jasper which will adorn bracelets, earrings, pendants rings, and brooches.

Japonisme - A Strong Influence In Art Nouveau Jewelry

Not many people know, but Japan had a strong influence on Art Nouveau jewelry. The Japanese were invited to attend the 1862 London International Exposition, and Japanese woodcuts and engravings, with their simple and elegant interpretation of nature, had a profound influence on those seeking a new aesthetic. Japonisme, as it was called, quickly became the antidote to the whims of Victorian-era design, which the new generation of artisans was looking for.
Jewelers were the first to take inspiration from the Japanese connection between nature and design, the simplicity of shape, the intense use of color, and the concept of metal mixing, thus giving birth to a completely new decorative style. The revolution that triggered the Arts and Crafts movement in England was born out of public dissatisfaction with the machine-made goods of the time that had many design deficiencies. The artisans of the new movement propelled the inclusion of art in utilitarian objects, to enjoy art in everyday life.
This led to the emergence of guilds and cooperatives. In France, Europe, and the United States, the Arts and Crafts Movement has provided a stable framework for the emergence of new ideas in art, especially in the field of jewelry and metalworking. This predilection for hand-crafted decorative objects, combined with the popular Japonisme, were the ingredients that led to the birth of Art Nouveau.

In Paris, art dealer Samuel Bing reopened his Asian art gallery, dubbing it "L'Art Nouveau," accidentally renaming the aesthetic. In 1895, Bing organized an international exhibition to celebrate the reopening of its gallery. It brought together many of the artists who formed the core of the Art Nouveau movement. The exhibition at L’Art Nouveau displayed all types and styles of decorative objects, including Tiffany’s Favrile Crystals, Gallé glass, and objects from various Lalique decorative arts.

Art Nouveau Jewelry Techniques 

Art Nouveau jewelers chose to work with semi-precious and even non-precious materials and they are famous for the skillful treatment of surface decoration. The most important technique used by Art Nouveau designers was enameling, specifically plique-à-jour.

Known as backless enamel, plique-à-jour, a vitreous enameling technique where the enamel is applied in cells so light can shine through the transparent or translucent enamel, which creates an effect of translucence and lightness. First used in the 15th century by Benvenuto Cellini, plique-à-jour was soared to new heights during the Art Nouveau period.

This technique was difficult and time-consuming, requiring the highest standards of craftsmanship.

Basse-Taille and Guilloche

Plique-à-jour was often combined with other techniques such as basse-taille, an enameling technique in which the artist creates a low-relief pattern in metal, usually silver or gold, by engraving or chasing. The entire pattern is created in such a way that its highest point is lower than the surrounding metal. Translucent enamel is then applied to the metal, allowing light to reflect from the relief and creating an artistic effect. This special technique was used in the late Middle Ages, and then again in the 17th century.

Guilloche was another popular technique leveraged by makers of Art Nouveau jewelry. This design technique produces intricate and repetitive patterns by mechanically engraving into an underlying material.

Favored Materials

Art Nouveau jewelers have been revolutionary in choosing new materials as well as in using old ones in new ways. Gold and silver were processed to a gentleness that made the jewels seem alive. Stones like opal,  lapis lazuli, and moonstone, shining delicately and mysteriously, "crowned" the new look. The horn, bone, and ivory could be textured and sculpted according to the new "line" thus becoming important elements.

A renaissance and reinvention of enamel were essential in adding color and texture to the works. The technique of enamel plique-à-jour has been rediscovered and used magnificently to create translucent natural interpretations of plants and insect wings, capturing the light and mixing in background colors, bringing Art Nouveau jewelry to life. Champlevé email has been fully applied in new ways to add depth and mystery to jewels. Pâté de Verre, a kind of glass that could be handled in a stone-like way, could be shaped and polished in all objects and was widely used during this period.

Organic materials such as coral, mother-of-pearl, or pearls were also used to make rings and necklaces. Diamonds were used more as accent stones, while moonstone, amethyst, opal, amber, citrine, peridot, and freshwater pearls were more common.

Famous Art Nouveau Jewelry Artisans

The most famous Art Nouveau jewlery artisans were Rene Lalique, George Fouqet, Lucien Gaillard, Paul et Henri Vever, Falize, Charles Boutet de Monvel, Edmond Henri Becker, Paul Follot…

Rene Lalique - The Master of Masters

René Lalique (1860-1945) was one of Art Nouveau’s most renowned craftsmen. Although trained as a jeweler, Lalique has worked in many different fields of decorative arts. Early in his career, he sold his designs to large jewelry houses from that period, such as Boucheron, Cartier, and Vever.

In 1885, Lalique took over the workshop of Parisian jeweler Jules Destape and began working independently for private clients like Sarah Bernhardt, as well as Paris’s finest jewelry retailers. His jewelry became a must-have for the celebrities of the day, from opera stars to aristocrats.

René Lalique created exquisite pieces such as chokers, pendants, bracelets, and earrings, with the most meticulous attention to detail. He used a range of new materials: semi-precious stones, amber, mother-of-pearl, tortoise-shell, horn, pearls, and base metals. The master jeweler's pieces were greatly admired for their creative styling and brilliant use of new materials like plique-à-jour enamel, ivory, semi-precious stones, and horn.

While experimenting with enamel, Lalique became completely fascinated by glass, a material that eventually turned it into a lifelong project. After causing quite a stir in the art world with her female nudes - considered an immoral theme those days -  they became his trademark. Needless to say, it was copied on a large scale.

Art Nouveau Movement In The USA

In the United States, the Art Nouveau movement can be recognized in the design of mass-produced jewelry in Newark, New Jersey, and Providence, Rhode Island. Small, cheap items with Art Neauvou motifs were created for small traders in abundance.

But the major American houses have also created unique Art Nouveau jewelry. Tiffany & Company has set up Tiffany Studios specifically to produce hand-crafted Art Nouveau pieces. Tiffany used unusual stones and baroque pearls with flowing lines and nature-inspired motifs.

Another prominent jeweler, Marcus & Co., produced a significant amount of Art Nouveau jewelry derived from French floral-themed jewelry, using extensive enamel.

No need to say that genuine Art Nouveau Jewelry is rare and precious. Gold rings, pendants, and brooches crafted in Art Nouveau style are often true works of art. We invite you to discover our collection of exquisite Art Nouveau jewelry selected to satisfy even the most refined tastes.
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