Art Nouveau Circa 1885-1917
Art Nouveau marked the turn of the century and the coming of the "modern age". It was known as "new art". It was a short lived period in jewelry design and only lasted for about 15 years.
It is said that Art Nouveau jewelry was a reaction to what was happening in French society at that time. Women were fighting to have more rights, an education and a job. That is why so much of the jewelry in the Art Nouveau era was woman-centric. It was pieces that was over the top, in your face, big and bold, representing the women of that time.
The pieces from the Art Nouveau era were of "fantasy" women, such as fairies or mermaids. Often pieces that depicted a woman's sweet face with long flowing hair or a nude female figure was the motif used in Art Nouveau jewelry. "Scary" women, like Medusa were also depicted in these pieces during this era. This era also depicted insects and flowers that had a sexualized nature to them.
Jewelry that was created in the Art Nouveau was more about the use of enamel than it was about what gemstones were incorporated.
The start of World War I ended the Art Nouveau era and made room for a new era to begin.