Art Nouveau existed for a brief moment but left a lasting impact on jewelry. Pieces from this era are treasured for their original design rather than intrinsic value.
Named after Siegfried Bin’s (1839-1905) avant-garde Parisian shop La Maison de l’Art Nouveau, this style followed an amalgam of new design principles and innovative materials. The world of nature flowed in sinuous curves inspired by the asymmetry and economy of line of Japonism. René Lalique, the master of the genre, used exotic, fragile materials such as molded glass and enamel for aesthetic value. Designs featured dreamy flora and fauna such as lilies and lotus blossoms, serpents, swans and the female in the guise of a dragonfly. The style’s free-flowing forms were a deliberate reaction to the rigidity of machine-made and mass-produced jewelry.