French Jewelry Culture: Art Noveau, Coco Chanel and much more!
On a day as important as today: The National Day of France, 2Shapes is launching in French.
The French national holiday (in French fête Nationale française and Bastille Day in English-speaking countries) is the national holiday of France, which takes place every July 14th since 1880. It Commemorates La Fête de la Fédération, which celebrated the first anniversary of the Bastille Dam, and marked the end of the absolute monarchy.
French jewelry has been in existence for over a thousand years. In fact, during medieval times, wearing jewelry in French society was a mark of status, while farmers and commoners were forbidden from using certain pieces themselves for the same purpose.
It wasn’t until the 19th Century when Napoleon, as emperor of the new French Empire, lifted such bans and soon enough displays of wealth and finery was on show from all citizens. Lifting the ban also helped to give the jewelry industry in France a boost once commoners were also allowed to be consumers.
New trends in French jewelry also began during this time too. Soon, the rest of Europe followed suit, because even going back to medieval times, many looked to the French as true innovators of class and style.
Parures were a matching suite of precious gems that might include a necklace, comb, tiara, diadem, bandeau, pair of bracelets, pins, rings, drop earrings or cluster stud earrings, and possibly a belt clasp. Both Josephine and Napoleon’s second wife had sets of Parures to die for!
Art Nouveau an international style of art, architecture and applied art, especially the decorative arts. It was most popular between 1890 and 1910. It was inspired by natural forms and structures, particularly the curved lines of plants and flowers. The movement began in Paris and its influence went throughout the Western world. By 1900, Art Nouveau began to lose some of its popularity.
Cocktail (Costume) Jewelry
In the 1920s, René Lalique started mass-producing gorgeous glass jewelry – known as fake jewelry, costume jewelry or cocktail jewelry – that allowed everyday Parisians to share in the glamour of the period.
One of the reasons for its popularity was the influence of both Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli. They made it acceptable, fun and imaginative by encouraging their customers to mix costume jewelry with genuine pieces, and often sported fabulous fakes of their own.
At the same time, Art Deco strutted on the scene and was supposed to represent the modern and functional. It was intended to be a rebuff of all things decadent and indulgent and was built on a philosophy of ‘no barriers between artists and craftsmen.’
By the end of World War I, however, society’s values and attitudes began to shift and so did the trends of French jewelry, which began to adopt more subdued and demure designs in its creations.
Interestingly, Art Deco jewelry has come back into vogue. Perhaps it’s a rebellion against our 21st-century culture of excess.
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