29 Apr 2024

A Guide to Art Deco Jewelry

A Guide to Art Deco Jewelry

The Art Deco design movement that was emblematic of the 1920s and 30s has a presence in the daily lives of New Yorkers. The local landmarks that make up our commutes, morning walks in the park and nights out on the town, include some of the greatest triumphs in Art Deco Architecture anywhere in the world. These vertically towering, sleek yet intricate masterpieces are a source of inspiration to the imagination of the designer. Now with the roaring twenties a century ago, what makes Art Deco design so enduring in modern jewelry? 

In this journal entry, we’ll dive into the history of Art Deco jewelry, the era's influence, and how modern iterations of Art Deco jewelry from Tamsen Z can draw from design elements of the past. 


What is Art Deco Jewelry?

Art Deco jewelry is a style of jewelry that was popularized during the Art Deco era, which spanned from the 1920s to the late 1930s. This period of time was marked by a significant shift in the world of fashion and jewelry. 

After the First World War, a sense of liberation and freedom, and revolutionary leaps in engineering, the possibilities and imagination of designers soared to new heights. With a new landscape of skyscrapers and the introduction of radios bringing the music of the Jazz Age to people everywhere, it is no surprise that artists and designers were inspired to create bold and daring pieces of jewelry. This era of jewelry was also highly influenced by the discovery of King Tut’s tomb in 1922, western fascination with Ancient Egyptian design and culture was so great, it earned its own chapter in design history as Egyptian Revival. The result was a style that was a stark contrast to the Edwardian and Victorian eras that came before it. 


The History of Art Deco Jewelry

The Art Deco era of jewelry began in the 1920s and lasted until the 1940s. The Art Deco era is one of the most well-documented periods in history, as it was a time of great social and political change. The result was a shift in societal norms that would forever change the way that we live, and jewelry broke tradition along with it. The newfound freedom of movement in womens’ fashion challenged expectations of what was allowed; asking not what should be done in design but what could be done.

The emergence of platinum as a metal for jewelry-making made it possible for jewelers to create more intricate and complex designs. This iconic era of jewelry was characterized by clean lines, geometric shapes, and vibrant colors. 


Art Deco Jewelry and The Opera

A Night of Wine and High Jewelry: The 2023 Chicago Lyric Opera’s Wine Auction

An aficionado and collector of both art deco jewelry and objects d’art, Ann Ziff has a keen eye for and knowledge of this unique moment in the history of decorative arts and jewelry design. This affinity is an influence on Ann Ziff’s own designs and Tamsen Z’s brand identity. A picture perfect match was made last year in 2023 when Tamsen Z traveled to the Chicago Lyric Opera. Step inside some of the country's most renowned Opera Houses and you’ll undoubtedly see and feel the influence of Art Deco design. 

Just last year, Tamsen Z took part in the Chicago Lyric Opera Wine Auction, showcasing a curated collection of Ann Ziff’s designs in the historic Art Deco Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Grand Foyer of the Chicago Lyric Opera House. The iconic Opera House opened in 1929 and features a hybrid of Art Deco and Art Nouveau styles throughout. 


Tamsen Z’s Contemporary Reimagining: Art Deco Double Diamond Ring

 art deco double diamond ring

The Art Deco Double Diamond Ring encapsulates the essence of Art Deco design. Ornate yet clean geometric lines mimic the soaring vertical lines of New York City’s roster of well loved silver skyscrapers. The double cushion diamonds are a twin tour-de-force, making this piece remarkable. 

This piece is significant to our brand’s history, as the pair of stunning diamonds were purchased in 2006 from the first gemstone dealer to work with Tamsen Z. Our relationship with this excellent gemstone dealer now dates back twenty years. The antique cushion with an open culet drew immediate attraction to this pair. The two stones, so similar in size and cut, are not carbon copies of one another, but twins. It is only fitting that they should be set together in a timeless style designed to keep them together. It felt wrong to take the two apart when they so perfectly worked together as a pair.

The Art Deco Double Diamond Ring includes 2 diamonds ~4 carats each, which balance the ring universally. The surrounding stones were all custom cut in Germany while the ring was brought together in design by our New York workshop crafted in platinum - in true Art Deco jewelry style.



Art Deco jewelry serves as a timeless representation of the Roaring Twenties, capturing the essence of liberation, innovation, and elegance. Originating in the post-World War I era, Art Deco jewelry departed from the lavishness of previous periods, embracing bold geometric shapes, vibrant colors, and the allure of platinum.

Beyond its visual appeal, Art Deco reflects a period of significant social and political change, symbolizing the spirit of the Jazz Age and the modernization of society. Ann Ziff's contemporary interpretation, exemplified by the Art Deco Double Diamond Ring, pays homage to this era's sophistication and opulence, blending historical influences with modern craftsmanship.

As we look to the past for inspiration while moving forward, Art Deco jewelry remains a timeless symbol of creativity, innovation, and enduring beauty.

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