Artistic Periods of Jewelry

artistic periods of jewelry

Please appreciate the classic styles that remind us of a time when most jewelry was made by hand, allowing for a great creative flair. Below is a brief description of some key time periods for specific styles and design. Many of our custom jewelry pieces are influenced by these artistic periods.

1830 to 1920 – Victorian

Victorian designers often used platinum with a lacy or delicate feel of sophistication and elegance. Many designs used lots of small diamonds in particular patterns to achieve the desired design. Due to the use of platinum, many of these fine pieces still exist today. White metal was used in a majority of designs. Cameos and silhouettes were also popular during this period.

1880-1930 – Art Nouveau

The Art Nouveau style finds its roots with organic impressions. Flowers, long curling leaves and flying insects were often the center of the design. The stones of choice are often opal, pearl, and moonstone. Colored stones took precedence in this period. Rene’ Lalique- was the most recognized and most successful designer of this period. Art Nouveau is somewhat mystical, surreal, or dreamlike. The design is easy to take in, smooth, flowing, and easy on the eye.

1910-1940- Art Deco

The deco period is “The Roaring 20’s” – bigger, bolder ideas. The industrial revolution was influencing jewelry designs worldwide. Designs from this era can often have sharply contrasting colors of material – for example platinum with diamond and onyx. Art Deco styles feature multiple lines and/or curves of varied thickness and lengths. The period was bold-look at me-we’ve arrived, new money and we’re enjoying the life of the roaring 20’s. A perfect example of art deco design is the Chrysler building in New York City.

1940-1960 – Retro

The war and its impact cut down on Victorian and Deco emotion. The feel was defined by bold lines but fewer gemstones. Industrial influenced, the feel is that of a ‘57 Chevy – angular-bold, stylish, pink gold, ruby, and semi-precious gems. Pieces featured floral sprays with wide curving, lines with gold accents. Nice lines and fun to look at. The look was optimistic – the war was over and things were looking up.

1960-1980 – Modern

A time of confusion the design world was searching. Designs were asymmetrical, but unbalanced. A Swedish designer Jorgensen was the best mostly in silver. Art Nouveau influenced but with a modern flair. Traditional designs of 3 stone rings did well. As designers, we were finding our way as Salvador Dali did best with his abstract designs. Nuggets and similar pieces were influenced by Alaska, incorporating little design but worthy of the time where hunky gold designs were popular.

1990-2018 – Contemporary

An artistic combination of all of the above can be found in and around my own studio. Simple designs of east west settings one stone – going the other way. Such as a marquise cut stone goes across the finger instead of lengthwise. New ideas, lots of diamonds with featured gemstones. Wonderful design elements contributing to a solid offering to the eye. A great time we live in. Our designs exemplify the here and now – simple – cool – unique. That’s what Jonathan’s Jewelers stands for.