Where to start?
Art Nouveau was an artistic movement that spanned the late 19th century to early 20th century that was both instrumental in breaking down the barriers between "art" and "craft;" as well as a backlash to the increasing mechanization of society. The hallmarks of the style are graceful, curving lines, clearly executed by hand; and the celebration of magical, mystical feminine creatures such as nymphs and fairies, as well as actual natural life forms.
Motifs that occur in nature became the basis of this all-encompassing art expression: snakes, dragons, birds, flowers, and the four seasons were all incorporated in the ornamental style of Art Nouveau.
Also during the Art Nouveau era, glassware in the form of windows, lamps, and serving bowls became high art when created by Louis Comfort Tiffany in the United States. Furniture, paintings, and household items were elevated to art during this time. Dante Gabriel Rossetti, an English artist, was known for his paintings which embraced the symbolism of Art Nouveau. Illustrations on poster board by French artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec were another example of the Art Nouveau aesthetic.
In Catalan, Spain, Art Nouveau flourished. After learning the art of enameling at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Geneva, Switzerland. Lluis Masriera became captivated by the Art Nouveau movement and was inspired to create "art jewelry," using plique-à-jour enameling techniques. He refined the technique, and also invented new aspects to it. He began making jewelry in the 1900s using 18 karat yellow gold and gemstones in concert with his special enameling innovations. His genius lie in combining technical perfection with classical, timeless design elements. His bold use of color and imaginative images derived from flora and fauna continue to inspire and recall the fleeting world of dreams.
The Masriera firm is the only design house in the world that has continuously produced Art Nouveau jewelry since its original era, all the way through today....thanks to the great foresight of Lluis, who insisted that metal molds - not rubber ones, which deteriorate - be made of their creations. So, a Masriera piece crafted today is technically a reproduction, since the original molds are still in use...and Masriera is the only firm that can make this claim.
As a result, the firm flourishes today and continues to use plique-à-jour, basse-taille, champlevé and other vitreous enameling techniques developed by Lluis Masriera. The end result are pieces of art that celebrate nature, color, art, and the experience and precision of expert craftspeople. The jewelry produced today integrates design, cutting edge technology and the use of traditional techniques.
Wearing a piece by Masriera is to wear art. Timeless, wearable art.
It really is that special.