Art Nouveau Era Jewelry
This era of jewelry was during the same time period as the Victorian era. The Art Nouveau began in France and was commonly called La Belle Epoche or The Beautiful Time. This style was created in rebellion against the industry of jewelry making.
The designs of the jewelry were completely different from other pieces of jewelry around that time being more curvy often-depicting nude females, crescents, heads, and common plants. The majority of these styles were believed to have been intended to evoke mystical symbols or even magical powers. For a person to wear this jewelry they had to quite daring.
One such actress that was daring enough not only to wear the jewelry but was behind the creation was Sarah Bernhardt.
The jewelry did was not blended as most pieces such as combinations put precious gems with horn, amber, ivory, or blister pearls. The appeal of this jewelry was more of an artistic form rather than the materials used. So many of the designs used common plants and animals, that had prior to this time, been considered to bland to use in jewelry making. The Art Nouveau Era gave birth to the reality that even the most common animals and plants were beautiful.
Some of the most popular designs were butterflies, wasps, dragonflies, bees, swans, owls, bats, peacocks, dragons, poppies, sunflowers, dandelions, mums, and fantasy creatures such as unicorns and fairies.
Japan had quite a bit to do with this unique jewelry trend. Japan was opened up to the west in 1853 and along with this came their beautiful art and the jewel toned enamels. This brought about the use of enamel in various pieces of jewelry. The types of enamel you could see during the Art Nouveau era were Basse – Taille, Champleve, Cloisonne, Limoge, and Plique A’Jour.
The Plique a Jour was the most popular. The technique used very thin layers of enamel that had the look of stained glass. Many of these pieces were created by Rene Lalique. He used such items as glass, horn, and semi precious gems to create his masterpieces.
Other famous jewelry makers during the Art Nouveau include Louis Tiffany, George Fouquet, and Karl Faberge. You can find many of their artwork in museums today.
Silver jewelry pieces were very popular as well with such designers as the Unger Brothers and William Kerr.
By 1915, the Art Nouveau era was gone. The jewelry created during this time was hidden away since many claimed the pieces to be old fashioned and ugly. Some people even melted down what they could and created new and more modern items going to extreme lengths to create something out of the jewelry no longer acceptable.
The Art Nouveau came in with ridicule and left the same way. Today, it is only admired as artwork and still would never be worn. If you search far and wide, you may find some reproductions out there but are you daring enough to wear a piece of Plique a Jour jewelry?