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The Art Nouveau Movement's Enduring Legacy

Tanzy Ward

The Art Nouveau Movement (c.1890-c.1915) was created in France and short lived due partly to the onset of World War 1. The designs of the Art Nouveau era (which means 'New Art') were inspired by the natural world, and popular motifs included insects such as butterflies and dragon flies. Often times in Art Nouveau jewelry, the pieces emphasized a woman's physical features, and mythical creatures such as mermaids. The artistic merit was emphasized in Art Nouveau jewelry designs as opposed to value. Moonstones, opals, amethyst, malachite, and enamel were all used in many different jewelry pieces of this time period. The Art Nouveau era was considered a time of original style and imagination-themed designs from the vibrant European arts scene. The aesthetic of Art Nouveau pieces often emphasized an ethereal and artistic feel. Even after The Art Nouveau's brief jewelry era, many designers have emphasized the period's characteristics within their own creations. There are now many modern designs that emphasize the setting of jewelry with a semi-precious gemstone such as opal or amethyst, and enamel details with an artisan aesthetic. Although the Art Nouveau era was rather brief, it's inspiration can still be seen more than a century later. 


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