November 5th, 2018

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Art Nouveau diadem comb ca. 1900


Art Nouveau jewelers distinguished themselves from their predecessors through the use of their unorthodox mediums and methods. Prior to the 20th century, artisans working with jewelry prioritized precious metals and diamonds in their work. This was not true for Art Nouveau creators, whose production was focused on imagery, and vivid colors were needed to translate their visions of peacocks, ivy leaves and temptresses. 

Art Nouveau lasted for 15 years. The jewels, due their size and fragility (plique-à-jour enamel, for example, is quite delicate) were not very wearable and were acquired as objets d’art. Therefore, they were perceived as too decadent, too artistic and only for the select few who had the financial means or the eye to appreciate the pieces. (x)