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Art Nouveau Bracelets

Between 1890 and 1914, Art Nouveau reached the height of its popularity. The period was a response to the end of the Impressionist Era and was strongly focused on nature, which allowed jewelry designers a source of inspiration and an almost unprecedented freedom in their design.

Therefore, Art Nouveau expression invoked the subtle curves and entrancing palette of the natural world. Art Nouveau jewelry, characterized by designers such as Alphonse Mucha and George Fouquet, accentuated the organic throughout its pieces to great acclaim.

A prime example was a custom coiled snake cuff bracelet that Fouquet designed for actress Sarah Bernhardt to wear in a poster design for an upcoming performance. So enamored was Bernhardt with the piece that, following the completion of the poster, she ordered her own version of the cuff for her personal jewelry collection.

Quick Facts

  • Art Nouveau, or “New Art,” was closely related to the late 19th-century English Arts and Crafts movement, which stressed the presence of the artist’s hand in its pieces. Art Nouveau echoed this theme with its reliance on organic motifs
  • In addition to Mucha and Fouquet, René Lalique was an icon of Art Nouveau design. Inspired by ancient and Japanese design, Lalique conjured bracelets that gleamed with an artful blend of glass, enamel, and gold
  • An Art Nouveau auction at Christie’s Paris in 2013 netted $9.6 million in sales, a record-breaking result. Among the sales were two record prices for Lalique’s work, including a bejeweled pocket watch that sold for $985,000

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