Art Deco



Named for the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industrie Modernes held in Paris in 1925, Art Deco originated in France in the 1920s and 1930s and became popularized in the United States. The French designer Paul Irbe proclaimed the necessity to “sacrifice the flower on the alter of cubism and the machine.” In contrast to the Art Nouveau style that it supplanted, Art Deco championed sleek, bold designs and dynamic geometric patterns intensified by the exotic iconography of India, Egypt and the Orient.

In the early twenties, black and white reigned, with black onyx paired with sparkling diamonds. By the mid-thirties diamonds were mixed liberally with sapphires, emeralds and rubies to create an orgy of saturated color.

Modern women cropped their tresses and flaunted their exposed napes with slender, pendulous earrings and bold geometric necklaces. World War II marked the end of the movement and brought a great part of the European jewelry industry to a halt.

Further Reading:

Art Deco, Bev Hillier, 1968
Art Deco, T. Walters 1973

View the Wanton Art Deco collection >