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Art Deco for Short

April 02, 2015 at 12:31 PM




Art Deco is a term we use to describe jewelry and architecture from the twenties and thirties, but where did this term come from? 

The International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts (FrenchL'Exp osition internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes) was a World's fair held in ParisFrance, from April to October 1925.   While many exhibitions during this time would contribute to what would eventually be known as “art deco”, this event would become ground zero for the movement and epitomized a “modern” style characterized by streamlined geometric and symmetric compositions and a sleek machine age look.


The term "Art Deco" was derived by shortening the words Arts Décoratifs, in the title of this exposition, and it was popularized in the late 1960s by British art critic and historian, Bevis Hillier.

The Exhibition would bring together thousands of artists and over the five month duration and over 16 million attendees.  The exhibition was heavily influenced by France’s post war ambitions and its aim was to re-establish French taste and luxury goods as the gold standard of the day and Paris as the world center for shopping. 

With large pavilions for major manufacturers and small boutiques lining the side streets, the exhibition transformed Paris and drew volumes of people during the day and the city was ablaze with light in the evening.  Major landmarks such as the Eiffel tower were transformed into giant advertisements (the Eiffel tower was outfitted with a giant Citroen logo) and in a time when electricity was still fairly new, lighting on this scale was a modern marvel and a sight to behold in and of itself.


Exhibition rules called for “modern” inspiration.  Boasting a taste for straight lines and geometric interpretations of shapes from nature, art deco, with its simplicity and faithfulness to French tradition would eventually take the place of art nouveau and was influenced by cubism, Fauvism, the Russian Ballet and Black art and is typified by an audacious color palette and a mix of diverse materials. 


The jewelry of flappers and the jazz age, unlike art nouveau jewelry, was in harmony with the machine age and made use of new materials like plastics and metals such as platinum. Incorporating new materials, Art Deco designs were flamboyant and relied on art of the era for inspiration. The strong geometrical component of art deco jewels was directly related to the modern art produced alongside it. Straight lines, squares, triangles, rectangles, arrows, but also circles and arcs combined in stunning designs which have become highly desirable and sought after collectibles today.

See our gorgeous collection of original antique art deco jewelry here:






Tags: Antique Jewelry, antique engagement rings Art Deco period Art Deco Paris World's Fair Art Deco Engagement ring
Category: Art Deco

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