Flapper in House of Worth gown 1925 - note the daring braclets and earrings
Some called it the ‘Jazz Age’, others ‘Art Deco’ – the 1920s-30s when ‘the flapper’ was the It Girl.
Here’s a contemporary flapper in the height of style, wearing a ‘simple’ hanging gown with a low waist and high shoes.
Notice her jewelry – her earrings and belt, and the large braclets on her arms.
Flapper fashion, revolutionary for its time, had brought a revolution in jewelry styles. The shorter sleeves, and (for the era) daring low necklines gave more space to ‘display’ jewelry.
Flappers did not want to wear the sort of jewelry that their mothers had; they wanted new and daring pieces. Pieces made from new materials, such as bakelite (an early form of plastic). Pieces that drew on African, and particularly Egyptian, motifs for inspiration. Geometric designs, often in bold colours such as orange, black and silver, were immensely popular. All these inspirations were seen as embodying the 'Jazz' of the era; they came together in large earrings, long dangling necklaces and (in particular) dramatic brooches. ‘Novelty' buttons also made their first big fashion appearance in the Art Deco period!
The ethos of Art Deco jewelry was summed up by Coco Chanel's comment "Jewelry is made to adorn you, not make you look rich." Her own 'little black dress' and 'little black jersey' lines deliberately used that colour to provide a frame for the best of art deco (and also 1950s) jewelry.
Art Deco was a worldwide phenomena – below is a contemporary Japanese painting showing a ‘Modern Girl’ of 1930. Considered outrageous in her day, this Japanese flapper wears her bobbed hair with a western Art Deco gown, a typical Art Deco ring and long necklace.
Try your own ‘google image’ search for Art Deco jewelry and see what gems you discover.
A Japanese flapper - complete with Art Deco ring and necklace - 1930