Jewellery of the 1925 Paris Exhibition

 Words found in an exhibition catalog read,  ‘France owes it to herself to prove to the world that her artists, craftsmen and manufacturers have not lost their innovative ingenuity, the quality of balance and logic, especially allied to gifts of grace and fantasy, that have earned her, in the past, a universal sovereignty surer and more durable than that which flows from the power of arms.’

Words found in an exhibition catalog read, ‘France owes it to herself to prove to the world that her artists, craftsmen and manufacturers have not lost their innovative ingenuity, the quality of balance and logic, especially allied to gifts of grace and fantasy, that have earned her, in the past, a universal sovereignty surer and more durable than that which flows from the power of arms.’

The Paris 1925 Exhibition was an international exhibition devoted to the decorative arts. With it was born the spread of the movement which we now know as 'Art Deco'.

Style Moderne

The Paris Exhibition was France's demonstration to the world that it continued to be the greatest nation as far as the applied arts were concerned and, in particular, fashion and luxury goods. Britain and Italy also played leading roles at the exhibition. Germany and the USA were conspicuously absent.

Modernism and originality were emphasised. The term 'Art Deco' was not coined until the 1960s. At the time, people thought of the Art Deco style as simply 'modern or contemporary' style or 'style moderne'.

 Henry Wilson, a British Jeweller, described the exhibit as follows: ' There was very much that was new in the French Section of Jewellery, and much that was very beautiful. Jade, black onyx and enamel were freely used to give contrast and richness.   Rainbow effects of the prismatic colours natural to coloured gems were much sought after, and the combinations in most cases were rich and beautiful.   In fact, colour was being sought instead of mere brilliance. In addition to this there was a tendency towards oriental effects in design. [It was] derived possibly from the use of oriental carved stones as centres of ornament.’

Henry Wilson, a British Jeweller, described the exhibit as follows: 'There was very much that was new in the French Section of Jewellery, and much that was very beautiful. Jade, black onyx and enamel were freely used to give contrast and richness. Rainbow effects of the prismatic colours natural to coloured gems were much sought after, and the combinations in most cases were rich and beautiful. In fact, colour was being sought instead of mere brilliance. In addition to this there was a tendency towards oriental effects in design. [It was] derived possibly from the use of oriental carved stones as centres of ornament.’

Designers 

Three design companies were prominent at the exhibit. These were: Cartier, Després and Van Cleef & Arpels. All of these companies are now considered defining forces behind the Art Deco style.  At the exhibit, Van Cleef & Arpels won a grand prix for a half-open rose in diamond-studed rubies and emeralds. Cartier, however, had the highest status, showing their work separately from the other designers in the Pavillon de l’Élégance, instead of in the main Grand Palais. Other companies were Fouquet, Chaumet, Dusausoy, Lacloche Frères, Linseler & Machack, Boivin, Mauboussin, Mellerio and Ostertag. Jewellery artists included Raymond Templier, Paul-Émile Brant and Gérard.

Materials

Platinum and chromium-plated metal made a strong appearance in keeping with the theme of 'modernism'.  Other popular materials included rubies, onyx, lacquered silver, jade, enamel, rock crystal, gold, lapis lazuli and diamonds. Flattened silver necklaces were presented by Després. Emeralds were showcased in the form of a spectacular shoulder necklace by Cartier with a matching diadem and brooch. It incorporated three enormous Mughal emeralds. (It remained unsold as it seemed it was too lavish to be worn by anyone.)

 The Cartier Timken necklace, designed in 1925. It is one of the most important examples of Cartier jewellery from the Art Deco era. It is set with three rare Mughal emeralds carved on the front and reverse weighing 71.91ct, 30.27ct and 29.21ct, sapphire beads, buff-top cabochon sapphires, emerald beads and diamonds

The Cartier Timken necklace, designed in 1925. It is one of the most important examples of Cartier jewellery from the Art Deco era. It is set with three rare Mughal emeralds carved on the front and reverse weighing 71.91ct, 30.27ct and 29.21ct, sapphire beads, buff-top cabochon sapphires, emerald beads and diamonds

Monochrome and Pavé

Black and white jewellery was prevalent, in particular Cartier pieces of pavé diamonds and dyed onyx. This showcasing of pavé went on to greatly influence costume jewellery styles. Monochrome styles continue to be strongly associated with Art Deco. 

 Dyed bone inlay and brass Art Deco theatre bag. Elder and Bloom. 

Dyed bone inlay and brass Art Deco theatre bag. Elder and Bloom. 

Islamic Influences

Stars and geometrical themes were featured.

Chinese Influences

Dragons, chimeras, Buddhas and pagodas made a strong appearance. 

 Art Deco silk theatre purse with Chinese motifs. Elder and Bloom. 

Art Deco silk theatre purse with Chinese motifs. Elder and Bloom. 

Egyptian Influences

Falcons, lotus flowers, snakes and winged female figures were showcased. 

 Art Deco Snake Bangle. Elder and Bloom. 

Art Deco Snake Bangle. Elder and Bloom. 

Carved Gemstones

Baskets of fruits and flowers made from carved gemstones dazzled the exhibition visitors. (See also 'Tutti Fruitti.')

In Conclusion

The Paris 1925 Exposition has gone on to be considered the apex of Art Deco style and has forever brought French design to the forefront of the applied arts. How marvellous it must have been for those who love beauty and style to stroll past those dazzling exhibitions! Because of the 1925 Paris Exposition Art Deco design spread throughout the world and has continued in its immense popularity to this day with no sign of abatement. 

See also: https://beautifulantiquetreasures.com/2013/03/12/art-deco-motifs/

523.jpg

 

See also: https://beautifulantiquetreasures.com/2013/03/12/art-deco-motifs/

© Pippa Gaubert Bear and Elder and Bloom LLC, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pippa Bear and Elder and Bloom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.