Art Nouveau (1895-1910)

Style Characteristics
Motifs from nature including insects, birds (especially peacocks and swans), serpents, undulating vines, leaves, flowers (irises, orchids, poppies, water lilies, winged sycamore and maple seeds are favorites in the style's botanical repertoire), the female face and figure (nude and clothed), fantasy figures and "whiplash" curves were all part of the Art Nouveau aesthetic, Japanese decorative arts also influenced Art Nouveau jewelry designers.

Sigfried Bing opened his L'Art Nouveau gallery in Paris in 1895. René Lalique exhibited Art Nouveau jewels at Bing's gallery and at the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris. Bing was awarded the Grand Prix at the expo. Tiffany & Co. exhibited and received awards at the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. The Art Nouveau style was at its peak of popularity during the Edwardian period.

Metals & Stones
Gold and silver were the preferred metals during the Art Nouveau period. Natural materials, such as clarified horn and ivory, were often combined with glass and enamel - especially plique-à-jour, a transparent enamel without a metal backing. Cabochon gemstones, such as opals and moonstones, as well as pearls were incorporated into designs featuring stylized motifs from nature. Diamonds and faceted colored gemstones were added to accent or outline a design's details.

Important Designers
René Lalique, Henri Vever, Lucien Gautrait and Georges Fouquet were foremost among France's delineators of the Art Nouveau style. In the U.S., Paulding Farnham for Tiffany & Co., Marcus & Co. and Newark, New Jersey, manufacturers such as Riker Bros., Krementz & Co., Alling & Co., Whiteside & Blank and Bippart, Griscom & Osborn translated the style for American tastes.

Old European brilliant cuts and rose cuts were predominantly used as accent stones during the Art Nouveau period.