Identifying Art Deco Jewelry

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art deco gazelle pin

The Art Deco period spanned the years from approximately 1920-1935. Here are some identifying characteristics to help you date and identify this dazzling and bold vintage jewelry.

Common Characteristics: art deco rhinestone brooch
  • sleek streamline strong angular lines;
  • strong use of symmetrical design;
  • geometric shapes;
  • filigree was popular.

Common Materials:

Fine Jewelry:

  • Settings: Platinum, white gold;
  • Gems: Diamond, rubies, emeralds, sapphire;
  • Stones: Jade, pearl, chrisophase, carnelians, quartz.

Costume Jewelry:
  • Stones: rhinestone, paste, other faux gem;
  • Platings: Rhodium plating and other white metals;
  • Other materials: Bakelite and celluloid plastics, enamels;
  • Beads: crystal, Venetian glass.

Some Common Motifs:art deco flapper necklace
  • greyhounds;
  • rockets;
  • gazelles;
  • arrows;
  • scarab;
  • sphinx;
  • scottie dogs.


  • long earrings;
  • cocktail rings;
  • flapper beads and pearls;
  • duette clips;
  • dress and fur clips;
  • diamond watches;
  • tennis bracelets.

Historical Influences
  • Exposition des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels (1925) in Paris where Deco styles were introduced;
  • Egyptian - influence followed discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb;
  • Orient – the opening of the East for trade;
  • Cubism - Picasso and other great artists were experimenting with angles, geometry and space;
  • Tribal Africa - the growing popularity of African safaris.

The sobering effect of the onset of the World War II caused the lavish and luxury themed Art Deco styles to fall from vogue. The Art Deco style has enjoyed subsequent re-births, the most recent of which is occurring as we speak. Art Deco jewelry is currently one of the most requested and sought after vintage jewelry styles.

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Site last updated January, 2014. All prices in US dollars.
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