The Art Nouveau Period overlapped the Victorian and Edwardian eras, and came about as an artistic revolt against the technological advances of the industrial age. The movement was short lived, but produced some of the most sought after jewelry in the world. Rene Lalique and Gustav Klimt are probably the most recognizable artists from the period. The emphasis of Art Nouveau jewelry was placed on hand-craftsmanship, creativity, and design. The female form, oftentimes nude, was commonly used and considered highly scandalous by conservative Victorians and Edwardians. Moonstones, opal, and agate were popular gemstones of the period, and diamonds were used sparingly as accents to enhance the artistic appeal of the piece. Japanese themes of nature, birds, and dragons were commonly used as well. The most important technique employed in the design of Art Nouveau jewelry was enameling. The art of enameling was perfected during this time, and the use of “plique a jour” - an enameling technique that produces a stained glass effect - was also revived, complementing the sensual, natural themes of this highly artistic period.
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