Art Nouveau Jewelry - History

Decorative art know as Art Nouveau reached the height of its popularity between 1890 and 1910. As a reaction to the academic and classical arts, Art Nouveau focused itself on the future. This modernism movement was inspired by the works of Czech artist Alphonse Maria Mucha (1860-1939), Swiss decorative artist Eugène Samuel Grasset (1845-1917), and English illustrator Aubrey Vincent Beardsley (1872-1898).

Described during those years as "modern" and "youth style", it was entirely focused natural forms, color, flora, fauna, fantasy, female form, sensual scenes, organic growth, and general theme of curved lines. Found in many architectural and furniture solutions of that time, Art Nouveau also produced entire new wave of jewelry designs. Jewelry of Art Nouveau style featured motifs of various plants, orchids, vines, animals, butterflies, birds, swans, snakes, peacock feathers, mythological creatures, feminine faeries, nymphs, mermaids and female forms with long and twisty hair.

Some of the most recognizable and celebrated jewelry artist of Art Nouveau were Georges Fouquet, Lucien Gautrait, Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933) and René Jules Lalique (1860-1945). As the World War I engulfed Europe, style of Art Nouveau slowly started to fade and was replaced by more serious and somber fashion, and eventually Art Deco in 1920s.