Trends come and go, but nothing has the staying power of Art Deco design in jewelry. Modern, refined and timeless, it encapsulates everything most brides want in a ring today. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that more and more contemporary designers are turning to the glamorous Art Deco period for inspiration for their newest diamond ring styles.
The Art Deco movement emerged in post-war Paris and exploded in the Roaring Twenties when people were feeling optimistic, liberated and embracing change. That enthusiastic spirit, combined with the evolution of modern machinery and easier travel to faraway destinations, fueled an unprecedented creative transformation that influenced everything from architecture and art to style and jewelry.
“The appeal of Art Deco style jewelry never fades” Russell Zelenetz.
Strong, graphic architectural lines (think of the soaring skyscrapers erected in the era), geometric opulence (layers of squares, rectangles, triangles and circles), and striking use of color and/or shades of black and white are all characteristic to the Art Deco aesthetic. A rejection of the ornate Belle Epoque and Art Nouveau styles of the past, its refined style has made it desirable to every generation since.
“The appeal of Art Deco style jewelry never fades,” says Russell Zelenetz, a partner in Stephen Russell, the Madison Avenue jeweler, which offers an exceptionally curated selection of vintage designs along with their own new signature pieces. “[Art Deco style] is modern, crisp, clean, and easy to understand,” he says. The jeweler uses old-cut diamonds in their designs because, Russell says, “the new stones can be beautiful, but they don’t have the charm of the old diamonds.”
However it can be hard to get a hold of great original Art Deco diamond rings; those from the 1920s and 1930s by Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, and other important jewelry houses are among the most sought-after designs at auctions, and consistently command top dollar.
But don’t despair. Many gorgeous new designs are available at a variety of price points and interpretations.
Take, for example, the several designers who are currently using original European diamond cuts in new engagement rings. “When we think of high-end antique pieces, we think of Cartier and those important and famous pieces from the Art Deco period,” says New York jeweler Ashley Zhang. “There is an association with important jewelry and the Art Deco style.”
Zhang started her business dealing exclusively in vintage jewelry, but now sells both vintage and modern diamond engagement and commitment rings. “Most of my clients want custom engagement rings with an Art Deco influence so they can get everything they want in a ring,” she says. “Art Deco is always popular because it’s fun, eye-catching, and symmetrical.”
Zhang’s Edith engagement ring features an Asscher-cut surrounded by a halo of diamond baguettes and tiny round brilliant diamonds. “It’s a Deco look, but with a simpler band,” she says. “So you can stack it with other bands.” Zhang also often incorporates emerald cut diamonds into her designs.
Whether you opt for an original Art Deco design (Stephen Russell has some of the most stunning styles), a new variation with a vintage-cut stone, or a custom design that reflects the glamorous spirit of the era, you can be sure that it has serious lasting power.