ART NOUVEAU (1890-1910)
Art Nouveau gets its name from the Maison de l’art Nouveau, a French art gallery that supported artists and designers working in the new fluid, sensual style. Leading jewelers put more emphasis on the purity and beauty of the design, and less on how it functioned as a product.
The female nude and her flowing hair appeared frequently, alongside dreamy, romantic semiprecious stones like moonstone, opal, aquamarine, tourmaline, and peridot. Art Nouveau jewelers, often influenced by depictions of nature in Japanese art, looked to the natural world for inspiration. Orchids, irises, lilies, ferns, snakes, dragonflies, and butterflies were all prevalent motifs. Exquisite enamel work and simpler gem cuts like the the rounded cabochon were favored. The organic shapes of freshwater pearls, shells, coral branches, and turquoise in matrix were admired for their roughness.