Perhaps Art Nouveau jewelry doesn’t receive the cultural recognition it quite deserves because it held a rather short peak of popularity, from 1890 to about 1915. Having its roots in Europe, but popular in the United States, Art Nouveau refers to the new age, the new art that spread throughout the continent at the time, complementing the paintings of the era.
Art Nouveau was inspired by a breakthrough in the form and function of the Victoria era, a rebellion from the academic art of the period before. It also took inspiration from Japanese art (and its obsession with orchards, irises and mystical animals) and other natural sightings in the world. It was inspired by nature and flow – flowers, curved and soft lines, plants and animals. More notably, it highlighted the female body.
Art Nouveau held a controversial style, denounced by Paris and London for being sensuous and erotic. Jewelry highlights the ethereal femininity of its time with highly stylized, whimsical and curvy lines. It was in strong contrast of the earlier and straight Victorian era. Art Nouveau jewelry used vibrant and natural colors, dipped in flowery images of brown, lilacs and sages and intersected with sharp blue and green. This color scheme is characterized as ‘greenery valley.’
Art Nouveau jewelry used agate and opal stones and enameling to mix powder or other materials onto metal objects to create a pure surface. Enameling techniques allowed for a stained glass effect and translucent effects, perfect for the female form or scenery. With a smooth and polished matte, jewelry could show intense colors and effective patterns after the metal background was hollowed out and filled with colored enamel.
It featured rings with animals and other living things that fit the natural and flowery feel. It also featured long earrings, chain earrings and modern oversized jewel rocks on rings. It is similar to arts and crafts jewelry and makes a nice addition to anyone interested in vintage jewelry as well. Nowadays Art Nouveau jewelry is still used to reflect the freedom and form of a more open society. The quality of material and the artistic interludes thrives in the modern outlook of fashion.
(photo credit) vsemart.com/art-nouveau-jewelry