When World War I began in 1914, manufacturing of jewelry came to a stop. The hard times brought on by the war also marked the end of the fashions and trends that were popular in the Edwardian era. Women were needed to take over men’s roles in the workplace while they were at war, and they started learning valuable skills and earning their own money. This change combined with winning the right to vote in 1920 lead to independence and emancipation for women. When the war ended, the “Roaring 20’s” ushered in a new attitude and an overall desire to live life to the fullest - an attitude that was very much reflected in the new jewelry design trends. The most characteristic feature of Art Deco jewelry is the emphasis on bold, geometric designs. Lines were straight and linear, and gemstone shapes most often followed suit. Calibre cut sapphires, rubies, and emeralds were used to add splashes of color to otherwise diamond-centric jewelry. Black onyx and red coral were also used often as accent colors. When King Tutukhamen’s tomb opened in 1922 there was a return to Egyptian revival jewelry as well. Platinum was still the metal of choice, but white gold was also popular since the cost of platinum was so high. Women wore multiple bracelets stacked on their wrists, as well as long strands of cultured pearls, which complemented flapper-style fringed skirts and backless dresses. Major designers of the time were Tiffany, Cartier, Van Cleef and Arpels, Harry Winston, Lalique and Mauboussin, among others. Their great influence of jewelry design and impeccable reputations were well earned and still stand true today.
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