The Art Nouveau movement began at the end of the Victorian era, in 1890, and lasted through the Edwardian era until 1910. It was heavily influenced by both nature and Japanese art.
Art Nouveau jewelry is characterized by elegant, sweeping lines, designed to evoke the movement of water or clouds. Leaves, flowers, birds, and dragonflies were popular motifs, as well as abstract depictions of the female form.
Many Art Nouveau pieces featured elaborate enamel work, though the colors were often softer and more muted than those found in Victorian jewelry. This muted palette was also reflected in the choice of gemstones. Popular gemstones in Art Nouveau jewelry include opals, citrine, moonstone, and amber, rather than the brighter colors of sapphires, rubies, or emeralds.
Art Nouveau styles focused on the overall design of a piece of jewelry, rather than just the gemstones that it was set with. As a result, elaborate metalwork became popular, from twisted wire to lacy filigree. During this time, jewelers came to be seen as artists, rather than craftsmen, because of these intricate designs.