The Art Deco period, for most antique jewelry dealers goes from Circa. 1920 thru to 1935, though some would say it also included the early 1940's. However even within the Art Deco period it can be further broken down as far as styles are concerned into Art Deco Jewelry from the 1920's, and then Art Deco Jewelry from the 1930's.
Antique Art Deco earrings highlights the difference in styles of these two Art Deco periods.
Art Deco Earrings from the 1920's had two main influencing factors. Firstly the effect of the First World War (1914-1918), where Jewelry production had virtually ceased. Precious metals and gemstones had become scarce; platinum, an important material for the manufacture of engine magnetos, disappeared from antique jewelry workshops, and antique jewelers if they had not been called up, transferred their skills from making antique pieces, to making armaments. Also in this time period women were forced to take up the jobs left vacant by men called to the front.
By the end of the war, the newly emancipated women had adopted an androgynous look. They had not only shortened their dresses, but they were sporting shorter hair styles. Consequently true antique (over 100 years old) Art Deco earrings, more than ever, came to play a role of paramount importance by filling the gap between the bob and the shoulders, echoing the Art Deco fashion of the simple vertical lines of the dress, while adding a touch of frivolity and femininity to the new masculine look.
During the 1920's Antique earrings undoubtedly became the most important form of Art Deco jewelry, as can be seen when one looks at the photographs, advertisements and fashion designs of the era. Furthermore, the great number of surviving antique earrings from the 1920's, indicates their popularity and copious production.
The common characteristic of all earrings from this earlier Art Deco period thru to the mid 1920's was their very pronounced vertical and geometrical line, and the use of enamels and gemstones of striking and contrasting colors. In this Art Deco period antique earrings often had a combination of the precious gemstones, mixed with semi-precious gemstones, such as onyx, coral, jade, rock crystal and Lapis Lazuli.
Besides novel and striking combinations of color in the Antique earrings, there was also emphasis placed on the difference between matt and polished surfaces, with Diamonds providing a sparkling surface, and the colored gemstones providing the matt in these Art Deco earrings.
There were other innovative features in the setting and cut of stone. The favorite new style of set in the early Art Deco earrings was 'pave', in which the gems paved the whole surface of the antique earring mount.
In the latter part of the 1920's long pendant earrings continued in favor, but they can be distinguished from their earlier counterparts by their fuller, usually triangular or lozenge shaped outlines reminiscence of a 'chandelier', hence the name antique 'chandelier earrings'. It was also a time when Art Deco earrings were gradually submerging colors, to be replaced by the whiteness of pearls and diamonds.
The characteristic of Art Deco earrings from the 1930's was the revolutionary design of the clip fitting. Previously from earl days, the only way to wear antique earrings was to insert it or its suspension hook in a hole pierced in the lobe. The clip fitting of the 1930's allowed women to wear heavier antique earrings without piercing the ears, and moreover, by securely clasping the lobe, it enabled the Art Deco earring for the first time to be expanded upwards to decorate the upper part of the ear. Rosettes, stylized flower heads, shells, comets, stylized wings and curved leaves decorating the upper lobe were among the favorite Art Deco ear clip styles..
In many cases, the upward curl of the design following the natural design of the ear meant designing one earclip for the right ear and another for the left so that they were not interchangeable.
Here at Beverley R Jewelry in Chicago, we have a large selection of antique Art Deco earrings from the 1920's and the 1930's both in drop form hanging from the ear and clip form going up the ear. We can cater to all your fashion needs.
1/ Art Deco, Platinum & Diamond drop earrings. Circa 1920
2/ Art Deco, Platinum & Diamond pave set hoop earrings. Circa 1925
3/ Art Deco, Platinum & Diamond clip earrings. Circa 1935
4/ Art Deco, Platinum & Diamond clip earrings, going up the ear. Circa 1935
5/ Edwardian, Platinum & Diamond drop earrings, cascade setting. Circa 1915