The end of World War I brought with it a new type of woman. During the war women had for the first time been performing “men’s” jobs and had been the main bread winners, whilst their husbands were away at war. This had an effect on the way women saw themselves and the way in which they wanted to be seen. After 1918 it was deemed inappropriate to wear pretty and delicate diamond garlands, which to that point had been symbolic of a woman’s fragile femininity.
This sense of change spread throughout the western world. The new businesslike women wanted simple, uncluttered utilitarian clothing and jewellery. Coco Chanel was a huge contributor to this movement, not only did she make it acceptable for women to wear trousers and tailoring only previously worn by men, she made it chic! At the same time, Louis Cartier was taking influenced from Cubism and Fauvism, to create a new wave of jewellery featuring symmetrical geometric shapes, made up of cubes, polygons and rhombuses. These designs had a foundation in diamonds and their structure echoed the facades of modern skyscrapers. Many of the art deco diamond rings that you’ll find in Ruby Gray’s are directly influenced by Loius Cartier’s ability to read the movement and create what the “new” woman wanted.
The Art Deco look is marked by bold architectural shapes in platinum, set with large sparkling diamonds and exotic contrasting coloured gems. The Art Deco style was versatile enough to carry the Oriental, African, and Egyptian influences that designers were pulling in from all over the world. Notably, the discovery of the Egyptian king Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922 influenced many of the large Parisian jewellers, leading to designs featuring pyramids, hieroglyphics and scarabs.
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