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Art Nouveau

The creation of jewelry was perhaps the purest expression of the worldwide Art Nouveau movement. Avant-garde artists, such as René Lalique (France), Philippe Wolfers (Belgium), and Louis Comfort Tiffany (United States), rejected the traditional role of jewelry as mere adornment and signifier of wealth, imbuing it with symbolism, inspired by nature, charged with emotion. Rather than use gemstones for their commercial status, these mavericks chose to paint in color, glorifying “semi-precious” stones such as moonstone, opal and non-traditional materials such as carved horn and polychrome enamel. Women were portrayed as goddesses, nymphs, and dragonflies; flowers achieved the status of icons; and the asymmetrical "tensile line" embodied the dynamism of a new world still being formed in this novel aesthetic genre of jewelry.