Supper Club Style
Today’s bridal channels the 1920s with Jazz Age jewels
As the saying goes, everything old is new again, and that’s certainly the case for today’s wedding trends. Inspired by television shows such as Downton Abbey and Boardwalk Empire, and recent movies such as The Great Gatsby, fashion designers are turning out 1920s-style bridal gowns with the streamlined styling and Art Deco details reminiscent of the period.

Lace is also important, particularly in dramatic appliqués, “dangles” that flutter from the shoulders, long sleeves and portrait backs.

The look extends to the beauty realm as well, with brides opting for paler, more natural skin tones (as opposed to tanned skin), bold, red lips, finger wave updos and hairstyles that coordinate with crowns, headbands and sparkly vintage hairpins.

As for jewelry, the look is more minimal, mainly because the focus is on the embellishment of the dress and in the hair. This translates to simple earring and necklace sets, with bangles as the new “it” accessory. Brides are also wearing more heirloom or borrowed jewelry on the wedding day, according to wedding trend analysts, with a special emphasis on jewelry from the Art Deco period.

Art Deco jewelry is characterized mainly by bold outlines, geometric and zigzag forms, abstract patterns and a diverse combination of colors. Platinum was used extensively to create lighter, airier pieces because its great strength requires less metal to hold a gem securely. It was often set with diamonds, some fashioned into new, unusual shapes such as triangle, trapezoid and half-moon to augment larger diamonds or to create intricate mosaic-like designs.

Colored gemstones were also in greater use, particularly ruby, sapphire and emerald. Other gemstones such as aquamarine, citrine, garnet and peridot were also popular and typically cut into geometric shapes such as the square and rectangular emerald cut. There was also widespread use of coral, jade and black onyx.

Stones were often calibré cut into small shapes—usually rectangular with step-cut facets—to fit precisely into a specific design. Some were set with what’s known as the “mystery” or “invisible” setting, perfected by Van Cleef & Arpels during the period, which allows gems to be mounted in such a way that no metal is visible.

Sizeable rings were the style of the day, often centered by a large emerald-cut diamond or by a cabochon- or step-cut colored stone, surrounded by a border of smaller diamonds. Bands were enveloped with diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds, and often stacked, just as they are today. Earrings were long and linear, dripping with diamonds and terminating with a larger colored gem, complementing well the new, shorter hairstyles and slinky, knee-length dresses of the flapper. Extremely long sautoirs were the iconic necklace, often punctuated with a tassel or geometric pendant, many with influences of Chinese, Egyptian and Indian cultures. Long strands of beads and pearls—now in abundance due to the birth of the pearl-cultivation process—were knotted effortlessly around the neck and worn down the front or back. Bracelets were common in all forms, chiefly wide pictorial straps, charm and cuff bracelets, and bangles jingling all the way up the arm. The bandeau, an ornamental headband worn low on the forehead, replaced the tiara. These were designed with honeycomb patterns, lozenge shapes and other geometric motifs, and were often convertible into bracelets, brooches, necklaces or clips.

Among the jewelry masters of the Art Deco period, you will find (in addition to Van Cleef & Arpels), Belperron, Boivin, Boucheron, Cartier, Chaumet, Fouquet, Georg Jensen, J.E. Caldwell, LaCloche, Marchak, Mauboussin, Mellerio, Templier and Tiffany.

Tiffany, in particular, created many of the jewels that adorned the sleek, new silhouettes and opulent supper club attire of New York society during the Roaring Twenties, using the social and cultural shift of the metropolis and its Art Deco architecture as a muse. Today, Tiffany is paying tribute to that legacy with two new collections, both brimming with beautiful designs for the bride who’s in line with the deco trend.

The Great Gatsby Collection, created for Baz Luhrmann’s film adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 literary classic, The Great Gatsby, is based on designs from the period that were found in the Tiffany archives. Developed in conjunction with Academy-Award winning costume and production designer Catherine Martin, the collection includes luxurious pearl tassel necklaces, large emerald-cut aquamarines, Art Deco-inspired rings of platinum and sapphires, and flowery brooches cascading with diamonds. Of particular note is “The Savoy,” a diamond and freshwater cultured-pearl headpiece with detachable brooch, inspired by a Native American design found in the archives. Equally as stunning is a hand ornament with a daisy motif in diamonds and cultured pearls.

The Ziegfeld Collection, meanwhile, is also based on Tiffany archival jewelry designs from the 1920s, and takes its cue from The Great Gatsby Collection. Named for New York’s legendary Ziegfeld Theatre, a model of Art Deco architecture that opened in 1927, the jewelry captures the period’s cool elegance with freshwater cultured pearls, black onyx signet rings and sterling silver lockets with the daisy motif.

Many of these designs are included in the recent Blue Book Collection, Tiffany’s annual publication showcasing its latest and most spectacular jewels. This year, the collection celebrates “Jewels Inspired by the Jazz Age” with such magnificent creations as diamond drop earrings resembling New York City skyscrapers, bracelets composed of round- and baguette-cut diamonds hand-set in the rhythmic patterns of a jazz composition and pearl concoctions as effervescent as champagne. Of particular interest to brides: the “something blue” accessories commemorating gemstones Tiffany introduced to the world or brought to the forefront of fashion, including blue-violet tanzanite, Montana blue sapphires and turquoise.
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