The Art Deco style is one of the most beloved and desired of all jewelry aesthetics in both American and European history. Replacing the organic, flowing lines that dominated the Art Nouveau movement of the early twentieth century, Art Deco embraced sleek geometry and perfect symmetrical patterns. The development of industrial machinery allowed for not just accurate precision in the production of the jewelry, but also mass manufacturing of the pieces, which meant beautiful, high-quality jewels were not limited to only the elite.
Besides clean, strong lines, Art Deco is also characterized by striking contrasts of colors, typically using enamel and materials such as onyx and coral. Both of these aspects were reflective of modern artistic movements of the time: the strong lines imitated Cubism while the intense colors emulated Parisian Fauvism.
Earrings were now long and feminine, contrasting with the shorter hairstyles of the period. Linear and geometric, earrings usually terminated with larger gemstones of color.
Like earrings, necklaces were often long and flirty, with tassel pendants or intricate beading. Necklaces emphasized the low-cuts of short dresses and complimented the newly popular tassels on clothing.
Brooches were worn on every feasible part of the clothing, including the hat or scarf. Coral, onyx and Jade were incorporated into many brooches, and an Asian motif of pagodas and flowers was often represented in many of these jewels.
Art Deco was also influenced by Egyptian Revival, which is my personal favorite. The bracelet below is a perfect example of Egyptian Revival in Art Deco, and one of my favorite pieces at Shreve, Crump & Low.