Feature Gems & Gemology, Spring 1983, Vol. 19, No. 1

Art Deco: The Period, the Jewelry

Although the Art Deco period extends roughly from 1910 to well into the 1930s, it was primarily a product of the "Roaring '20s." This was a wonderfully decadent era. It was an age of Prohibition and cocktail parties, of flappers and the Charleston, of racketeers and G-men, of nouveau riche and credit spending. These were merely some of the manifestations of the social turmoil that resulted from the extreme disillusionment that followed the "war to end all wars," a violent reaction to and rejection of the strict Victorian ideals that had prevailed. Eat, drink, and be merry! The gospel according to Freud! Sexual revolution! Women were emancipated - voting, smoking, and drinking. The "modern" woman saw herself as sophisticated, worldly, even jaded, with brazenly short skirts, plunging necklines, short hair, and the "flagrant" use of rouge, lipstick, and other cosmetics. These, then, were the times that stimulated the Art Deco movement, the period and the jewelry.