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Art Nouveau

Towards the end of the Victorian era, a demand for quality handcrafted items, including jewellery, developed. These items were purchased from craftsman and artists who were heavily influenced by nature in reaction to the industrial revolution and mass production. The leaders of this movement included William Morris and John Ruskin. The Pre-Raphaelites looked back at an earlier, simpler period for their inspiration in painting and sculpture.

In France, a similar reaction led to the Art Nouveau movement, also know as the “Belle Époque”.

Jewellery from this period features dragonflies, females with long flowing hair, flowers and leaves. This combination is known as the femme-fleur. Art Nouveau jewellery was made from gold and silver and worked into soft curves, often set with opals and moonstones. Enameling was very popular. Other material included horn, glass, bone and ivory. Insects such as dragonflies and butterflies were interpreted in many ways along with orchids, irises, pansies, swans, peacocks and mythological creatures.

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