Five Renowned Art Deco Jeweller’s You Need To Know About
Everyone loves Art Deco jewellery don’t they? Oozing with decadence, Art Deco pieces are in an entire league of their own! Famous for their architectural vertical designs, bold features, and considered colour palette, Art Deco jewellery is synonymous with the glamorous hell-raising festivities of the roaring twenties, the same era in which they were creatively brought to life.
The reason as to why Art Deco Jewellery is so revered is because it was at the time, completely revolutionary in form.
Not to mention, technically, Art Deco jewellery was reaping the benefits of economic and technological breakthroughs. Sophisticated lapidiaries and machinery allowed for a plethora of different new designs, each as extravagant as the next. But who were the jewellers that relished in the post-war, post-pandemic boom? Let’s find out.
Paul Emile Brandt
Also known for his sparkling contributions to Art Nouveau jewellery, Paul Emile Brandt really found himself and cemented his impact in the 1920s. Brandt’s collections had a distinct monochromatic palette of White Gold, Black Enamel and Diamonds (which was also largely affiliated with Art Deco jewellery as a whole!).
Born in Switzerland in 1883, Brandt emigrated to Paris when he came of age. In Europe, and in the world, Paris was the cradle of the Art Nouveau and Art Deco artistic movements, so naturally Brandt flourished within this environment, with his pieces still on the wishlists of many collectors. He widely exhibited at the international expositions of the 1920s, showcasing pieces that became characterful of the Art Deco style, dominant in circles, triangular shapes and rectangles. He played with geometrical forms and gemstones, with his playful approach culminating in something all the more sophisticated.
Source - Alex Abache Pexels
During the period, Brandt’s most sought after creations were lacquered cigarette cases and minaudieres, with striking but simple geometric shapes that were heavily bejewelled. Brandt also had the curiosity to experiment with light and jewellery. For instance, he would intentionally juxtapose plaques of opaque gems like Lapis Lazuli with transparent, sparkling and highly reflective gemstones like Rock Crystal and Diamonds.
Brandt continued to craft his pieces through till the 1930s. His final exhibition was in 1936, whereafter his focus turned towards more industrial pursuits. This was actually in good timing, with the looming doom of the Second World War over Europe. After WW2, he opened his own tinware enterprise, abandoning jewellery altogether, but he well and truly left his legacy on Art Deco jewellery.
Influenced by Cubism and the rate of industrial production, Templier was instrumental in the aesthetic shift from intricate details to strong and simplistic forms. Just like Brandt, Templier was working in Paris, but he had a wealth of intimate experience and knowledge. Born in 1891 to a family of jewellers, Templier grew up surrounded by late Victorian and then Belle Epoque jewellery, but he clearly kept his eyes on the quickly changing world and fashions. In 1919, when he joined the family business, he rejected his families traditional approach, pairing and contrasting sinuous geometry with angular lines and shapes.
"Femme Au Miroir", c.1916, Jean Metzinger, Source - Wikimedia Commons
Interestingly, Templier saw jewellery in the marvels of industrial production. It was during the 1920s that more and more people had access to cars and automobiles, and you can just imagine how this changed the visual landscape of the time, with cars and vehicles whooshing down the streets. The noise, the gumption, the speed and the machinery made Templier view jewellery in the same way.
Templier largely used the icy metals of Silver, White Gold and Platinum in tandem with Aquamarines, Lapis Lazuli and Coral. Pairing inverted triangles and rectangular with curves and arcs in a myriad of combinations. He would use Enamel now and then to add a pop of colour, but his pieces were largely monochromatic.
Templier’s designs could also be classed as Art Moderne as well as Art Deco, which was essentially more of a streamlined horizontal approach rather than vertical, stylised and geometric. He stayed true to his bold spirited and daring inspirations throughout the 1940s and 1950s when fashions changed. In fact, we think he would be a fantastic dinner party guest, as we can just imagine his eccentricities and fearless spirit.
The Lacloche Brothers
Leopold, Jacques, Jules and Fernand Lachloche, also known as Lacloche Freres or the Lacloche Brothers, were one of the most successful jewellery designers and jewellery brands during the Art Nouveau and Belle Epoque period, cementing Lachloche as synonymous with some of the finest early 20th century jewellery - and their light certainly didn’t dim during the 1920s!
You would naturally assume that these four brothers were born into the jewellery trade, but in actual fact, their father was a textile merchant. All four brothers had their own separate jewellery businesses in France and Spain, but it wasn't until the tragic death of Jules in 1900 that brought the other three brothers together. Settling in Paris, on the fashionable Rue De La Paix in 1901, Lachloche Freres was born! These three brothers made the conscious decision to select only the finest pieces to display in their shop, working with some of the most talented designers and workshops in Paris at the time. Lachloche Freres quickly built on this success, and made an executive and well-thought-out decision to strategically open shops in popular resort holiday locations like Biarritz, Cannes, San Sebastian, Monaco and Nice - attracting the eyes of wealthy American and British socialites.
Source - Jeshoots Pexels
In fact, Lacloche Freres collaborated with some of the most historic and biggest names in the jewellery business including Lalique, Verger, and Paillet. During the Art Deco period, they focused on high-profile expensive pieces like Diamond bracelets, Tiaras, Mother of Pearl vanity cases and colourful jabot pins. They took on one of the Art Deco inspirations of Japonisme and Chinoiserie, heavily using Japanese and Chinese motifs in their designs. After exhibiting in the international exposition in 1925, they won a Grand Prix!
After the Wall Street crash in 1929, it wasn’t long before Lachloche Freres felt the devastating effects. In 1931, the brothers filed for bankruptcy and closed their business for good. That being said Jacques Lachloche continued in the jewellery business on a smaller more selective scale, with clients like Princess Grace of Monaco.
The Rubel Brothers
It wasn’t just the Lacloche Freres that were dominating the Parisian jewellery scene, but the Rubel brothers had one of the most renowned jewellery workshops in the 1920s and 1930s. Working closely with Van Cleef & Arpels throughout their career, Jean and Robert Rubel, were actually born in Hungary, previously owning a successful jewellery business in Budapest.
Notably, Robert Rubel was instrumental in the Van Cleef & Arpels entry for the Paris international exposition of 1925. In fact he helped craft the stunning ruby and diamond “roses” bracelet that won Van Cleef & Arpels a Grand Prix! The Rubels and Van Cleef & Arpels had a close working relationship for 20 years. In fact, so much so that the Rubels were invited to oversee the Van Cleef & Arpels workshop in New York, which was the time and the place in which Van Cleef & Arpels crafted their world famous ballerina brooches (allegedly, Jean Rubel saw a flamenco dancer and was thus so enamoured he instructed it to be made).
That being said it was also these dancer brooches that saw them part ways with Van Cleef & Arpels in 1943, opening a store in 7th Avenue in NYC. Their nephew over took the Parisian jewellery workshop, but like most jewellers during World War II (especially Jewish jewellers in Paris), their work ceased significantly. They have still left one of the worlds most enduring legacies, and perhaps they hold the key to some of jewelleries most best kept secrets of the time.
We actually featured Suzanne Belperron in our International Women’s Day blog last year, but we are still so obsessed with her, and her enduring legacy that she has left on the jewellery world.
Belperron is not only one of the most influential women jewellers in the past century, but she is one of the leading jewellers in history. Originally working for Boivin, Belperron cemented her design aesthetic with expressive curvaceous jewels, playing within the geometric frames of the Art Deco period. Unusually, unlike other women of the time, Belperron dedicated her early 20s to expanding her creative cachet and furthering the international success of Boivin, rather than having children. It was this dedication that propelled her to success, and levelled her with her male counterparts. Notably, her Boivin designs include the combination of precious and semi-precious materials utilising gemstones like Chalcedony, Rock Crystal and Smokey Quartz.
In February 1932, Belperron resigned and soon became affiliated with Herz - a renowned Parisian dealer in precious gemstones. Herz allowed Belperron complete free reign in his workshop. Her original and distinctive work was snapped up by the leading fashion magazines and socialites of the time. Notably her pieces were adored and collected by Diana Vreeland.
Arguably, jewellery historians believe that the reason as to why Belperron’s designs were so favoured was because they softened the Art Deco linear aesthetic. Yet, she continually utilised the Art Deco curios and was constantly influenced by the motifs of Egypt, East India, the Far East and Africa.
Her designs were a hallmark in themselves, she famously never signed her pieces with the phrase “my style is my signature”.