Vintage jewelry is experiencing a revival in popularity, perhaps inspired by a surge of period movies and shows like the PBS hit Downton Abbey. Art Nouveau in particular influences many contemporary jewelry designs today. The Art Nouveau design period lasted between 1890 and 1914, and was in many ways a response to the Industrial Revolution.
Art Nouveau pieces are often inspired by nature, featuring celestial bodies, flowers, animals and insects, inspirations which some design historians attribute to a reaction against the industrialization of the time. Gemstones were used to add accents of color and enhance the inherent romance of the jewelry created during this period. One particularly noteworthy Art Nouveau form, the whiplash line, is a visual expression of breaking away from convention.
Art Nouveau experienced its first revival in the 1960s, appearing as psychedelic art. The romantic, otherworldly designs provided an escape during another tumultuous period in history. Now, more than a century after its height, Art Nouveau continues to inspire artists and designers with its dramatic allure.
If you are shopping for Art Nouveau jewelry, here are some exciting characteristics to look for:
1. Art Nouveau jewelry features mythological and fantastical imagery in extraordinary detail.
2. The whiplash line is essential to the composition of the pieces.
3. Gemstones are used sparingly to accent the jewelry, rather than as a focal point.
4. If you believe a piece may be vintage, look for a signature, which would increase the piece’s significance and value.
Do you currently own any jewelry either inspired by Art Nouveau, or vintage?