I.- Art Déco
Originated in France, Art Déco was an eclectic style that emerged from the Interwar period when rapid industrialization was transforming the western world, embracing traditional craft motifs with Machine Age imagery and materials. It flourished internationally in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s before its popularity waned after World War II.
The first use of the term Art Déco has been attributed to architect Le Corbusier, who wrote a few articles in his journal L’Esprit nouveau under the headline 1925 Expo: Arts Déco referring to the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts).
However, the term Art Déco did not became popular until 1966, when a French exhibition celebrating the 1925 event was held under the title Les Années 25: Art Déco/Bauhaus/Stijl/Esprit Nouveau. It was used to distinguish the new styles of French decorative crafts that had emerged since the Belle Epoque and this term has been applied since then to a wide variety of works produced during the Interwar period and even to those of the Bauhaus art school in Germany.
We have previously spoken about the artistic use of natural motifs during the Victorian era (let’s remember this short blog post about flora and fauna in Victorian jewelry featuring an astonishing hummingbird brooch, for example). Artists in general and goldsmiths in particular benefited from this, leaving an amazing legacy behind.
In addition to this trend, the influence of Scottish design was evident during the Romantic Period (1837-1860). In fact, Queen Victoria herself was proud of her Scottish ancestry and some traditional Scottish jewelry pieces became all the rage. Without hesitation, this brooch that incorporates the talon of a game bird set in gold and adorned with gems is an outstanding example of the convergence of these trends in the field of jewelry.