Moonstones form in the heat of the earth as orthoclase and albite are mixed together. As they cool, they separate into layers. The light that reflects off of these layers creates the moonstone's famous blue schiller. Moonstones have a storied history: the ancient Greeks called it Aphroselene for Aphrodite, the Romans believed that the goddess Diana could be seen within it, and Europeans of the Middle Ages believed that gazing into a moonstone would bring about prophetic dreams. At the turn of the 19th century, the Art Nouveau movement and its obsessions with the organic and ephemeral made gauzy gems like moonstone very popular in jewelry. This outstanding necklace is made in 15k yellow gold with a stunning fringe of moonstone cabochons.
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.