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The Art Nouveau Jewellery Era

1890-1915

The Art Nouveau Period spanned from 1890 until approximately 1915. Art Nouveau was a wonderful, intense but short lived period in jewellery history. A creative and courageous art movement, it swept through the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States.

The style was based on free flowing sinuous lines, natural and organic motifs, flowers, leaves, insects and feminine, romantic dreamlike figures and faces with flowing gowns and hair. It was alive with new movement and sensuality which was called decadent at the time. Art Nouveau expressed a revolt against the long series of borrowed styles of the Victorian era, against mass-production, and against restrictions and conventions which suffocated individuality and imagination.

This was an era where art ruled supreme and the use of materials to bring the subject matter alive was not based on how precious those materials were, but on the life they could breathe into the piece. The use of glass and Plique-à-jour (an enamelling technique creating transparency, French for “letting in daylight”) feature quite strongly in a lot of the jewellery, as does bone, horn, and many other semi precious stones.

Great jewellers and jewellery houses rose during this time. Perhaps the greatest of all was the French jeweller Rene Lalique whose name is inextricably linked to Art Nouveau. He was a most creative and imaginative designer as well as a highly skilled craftsman, who without a doubt exerted the greatest influence on the turn of the century jewellery design. Other noted masters are French jewellers Henri Vever and Lucien Gaillard. Another jewellery House to flourish through this time was an English company called Liberty which was involved in the Arts and Crafts movement.

Discover our current Art Nouveau Collection here.