Examples from the Art Deco period are some of the strongest and most desired pieces in the
market. The Bauhaus, a school in Germany that combined crafts and the fine arts, was famous
for the approach to design that it publicized and taught. It was founded with the idea of creating a
'total' work of art in which all arts, including architecture would eventually be brought together.
The Bauhaus style became one of the most influential currents in Modernist Architecture and
modern design. It operated from 1919 to 1933. The period is characterized by geometric styles
and design and hit its peak in the mid-1920’s. The artist’s eye transforms the harsh, cold realities
of progress (apparent in machinery of war) and creates forms that reflect speed, simplicity and
power. Colors became more prominent in the Deco period—rubies, emeralds, and sapphires
were brought to the forefront and strong color contrast was combined with abstract and
geometric design. Pave and channel set mounts gained in popularity with white gold and
platinum being the metal color of choice, although you will find gold plating as well. In vogue
were large bold pieces including colorful beads, line bracelets, and fabulous diamond clip
brooches that celebrated women’s new role and new freedom.
During this time period you will find an Egyptian Period which includes pieces such as scarabs,
pyramid designs, hieroglyphic patterns and other motifs. Most commonly used materials
included turquoise, enamel, coral and lapis lazuli.
**Note that labels designate styles and periods. Many styles over-lap during periods of time and
nothing precisely begins and ends as we might wish in our attempt to classify antique jewelry.
The above designations of Periods/Styles must be considered only a GUIDE to learn about
Compete Price Guide to Antique Jewelry-First Edition
Richard E. Gilbert and James H. Wolf
Antique Jewelry History Seminar N.A.J.A. Annual Conference
Thomas Elliott, G.J.G (GIA)
North American Gemological Laboratory, LLC
13400 NE 20th St
Bellevue, WA 98005
The Modern Era: Art Deco, Retro, Cocktail, Studio Jewelers, etc (1919 to Present)