All about Art Deco Jewelry

Art deco jewelry refers to the stylized designs of the 1920s to 1930s in the United States and Europe. The moniker “art deco” was coined by the French Société des Artistes Décorateurs at the 1925 Paris Exposition. Art deco jewelry especially reflects modern architecture of the day, such as the Chrysler Building in New York.
What is art deco jewelry?
Art deco jewelry is a design aesthetic of geometric shapes, straight lines and details. Ancient Egyptian revival, Asian, Persian, Aztec or Mayan patterns frequently appear.

Deco designers were inspired by everything, including archeological exploration, transportation, fine and graphic arts. People wore fine jewelry as the economy on both sides of the Atlantic soared. Pendant earrings, rings, bracelets and necklaces paired with chic silk cut on the bias dresses and tuxedos at parties and dance clubs.

What era does it come from?
Art deco jewelry reflects an exuberant post-World War I era. Men bought expensive jewelry as business and investments made them rich. Women cut their hair, and earrings complemented short flapper bobs. Jeweled rope necklaces glittered day and night, attesting to the wearer’s wealth.
How can you tell if a piece is art deco?

  • Shape. Straight lines and geometric gemstone cuts, including emerald, triangle, baguette, shield or caliber types, point to art deco.
  • Colors. Distinctively bright and bold colors or contrasting and monochromatic color schemes appear.
  • Materials. Diamonds set in white gold or platinum; rubies, emeralds, and sapphires (or synthetic or colored glass simulants); contrasting dark sapphires, onyx, or coral mounted with precious gems. Bakelite, a new 1920s plastic, pairs with links of precious white metal.
  • Designers. Signed/hallmarked works of Lalique, Bradt, Boucheron, Fouquet, Belperron, Boivin, Durand, Desprês, Sandoz and Raymond Templier, are important names. Haute jewelers marks, such as Van Cleef & Arpels, Tiffany, Winston, Spaulding, or Cartier, assist in authentication.
  • Influences. Look for:
    1. Oriental, Egyptian, Native American, etc., motifs
    2. Transportation themes, such as cars, trains, and airplanes
    3. Power animals, such as panthers or tigers

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Contact Ben Shemano to learn more about buying or selling art deco jewelry at 415-362-7777 or

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