Collecting Jewelry: ART NOUVEAU 1890-1914 | Jill Maurer
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Collecting Jewelry: ART NOUVEAU 1890-1914 | Jill Maurer

Art Nouveau. I don’t have a clever quip for this. Today we’re doing Art Nouveau jewelry. I’m Jill Maurer. I am a jewelry designer, and today we’re exploring
the world of Art Nouveau jewelry. Art Nouveau is jewelry created between 1890
and 1914. It runs between the Victorian period and the
Edwardian period. It is not a period in and of itself. It’s more of a style, and it was a reaction
to jewelry becoming machine made and taking on a certain look. So Art Nouveau is very naturalist. It’s hand made. It is artistically created, and it has a very
specific look. And this look starts with a curving line. There’s nothing straight in Art Nouveau jewelry. There’s no angle, no straightness. It is all very very curved. There are a lot of motifs within Art Nouveau
jewelry, but they take on that same look. It’s sort of a willowy look. So Art Nouveau is really dominated by this
flowing line and natural motifs. One natural element that you see a lot is
plants, and they’re done in a flowing way. They’ll be flowers, lily pads, vines that
sort of flow around a piece. Prior to this time you didn’t see people in
jewelry other than in mourning jewelry, and here you see a lot of women. And it’s the flowing curve of the body. There’s a real emphasis on flowing hair, and
sometimes the women are even given wings. Insects show up a lot, especially dragonflies
and butterflies. And sometimes you’ll see things that are sort
of even half man and half dragonfly or part woman and part dragonfly. But again it’s always in this flowy beautiful
form, natural form. The animals you see are swans and peacocks
and you do see snakes. And they’re different from Victorian snakes
because they’re coiled and sinewy. Mythical creatures also appear like dragons
and mermaids. An interesting point of Art Nouveau jewelry
is it is about the form. The entire piece is about the form. It’s not about the stones. So prior to this you often see a piece of
jewelry being created around a beautiful stone to show off that stone. That does not happen in Art Nouveau jewelry. Stones are used if they add to the color and
to the look of the piece, but the overall point of the piece is to create a beautiful
natural form, a flowing form. A stone could be a centerpiece in it, but
it is because it creates the right look. It may be carved to be the torso of a body
or it may just be smaller stones that are decorating the wings of an animal. One element that you find a lot in Art Nouveau
jewelry is plique-a-jour, and this is a form of enamel that is translucent, so it looks
a lot like stained glass. They’re pretty amazing because when you look
at them in the light you can almost see through them, and it creates this lustrous color without
being flashy. So that is Art Nouveau jewelry. This is one of my favorite types of jewelry. They were very inventive. They were creative. They seem to tell a story. You’re looking at an image or a picture. There’s more … the stones and the the metal
really become more than just stones and metals in good art nouveau jewelry. This is where design and art really come together
to create Art Nouveau pieces. So you know Art Nouveau is one of my favorite
styles of jewelry. Is it one of your favorites? Let me know in the comments below. And please be sure to subscribe. Until next time!



    This is my first know this . What people use Art Nouveau ? It for display? Where can I find this type of jewelry? Thank You so much dear for sharing dear. So good to know. ❤️

  • Athena Sizemore

    This was so interesting Jill. I really appreciate that you are educating us; I'm really interested in art (jewelry and pottery are my favorites). This is not my favorite style but I do appreciate how beautiful and intricate these pieces are.

  • Leslie Craven

    Oh yes I do love the style I gave my mother an art nouveau slide mirror pendent necklace by Emile Dropsy. It features a beautiful lady among the irises with flowing hair the reverse has a very nice raised flower pattern. I bought it from Vintageatmums which is my favorite Etsy jewelry site

  • ediena hawkes

    Art nouveau jewelry is whimsical to me. My first piece was a lady with wings, a necklace done in silver. I worked across from an antique store, in the early 80s, and spent many lunch hours browsing there and being carried away to a dreamlike place.

  • Lee Lee LV

    Loved this Jill , this was a new learning experience for me for sure ,I knew nothing of this type of Jewelry ,very beautiful ,very interesting ,I will say I have always loved butterflies ,I used to have a beautiful white gold simple butterfly necklace that I loved and I have not seen it in years ,I somehow lost it in a move years ago . Thank you for sharing your love and knowledge of these different types of jewelry ! Xoxo

  • Total Bullion

    How funny! Art nouveau jewelry is not something I would normally buy, but a couple days ago I bought this really awesome Sterling Brooch of a Woman with a flowing dress. The design is so awesome I had to buy it. My intention is to Re-cast it in .999 Silver! I may just make it a point to start buying these pieces and recasting to preserve the beauty and history of these artists. I would recommend searching ebay for art nouveau brooches and belt buckles if you want to see some great stuff!

  • Michele Salter

    There is something about this style that speaks to me. I immediately thought of Joan Crawford movies. I love how you are able to get so much information about a topic in such a short amount of time.

  • kathy scott

    I truly enjoyed this segment. They are definitely one of my favorite styles of jewelry. I have seen several reproduction pieces in my hunt so one has to be careful and have a reputable dealer. I especially love the pieces with the beautiful women as the main part of the design. Such a shame this era of jewelry was so short! Kat

  • Hristina Kostova

    My absolute jewelry dream is to one day own a piece by Rene Lalique. I just adore this style of jewelry and his mastership is unmatchable. I also love enamel and opals, and both are frequent elements in his work.

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