There are some Arts and Crafts designers who broke all the rules of Arts and Crafts. Probably the best known of all the rule breakers is Archibald Knox. Just take a look at some of his pieces. If you aren’t left scratching your head and wondering if he isn’t designing Art Nouveau, you wouldn’t be the first to wonder.
Take a look at this Art Nouveau piece. The curving lines are EVERYWHERE and there are certainly more of them! The bird in the center is also more realistically rendered rather than stylistic.
Look at this necklace by George Hunt. You can see a clear difference between the realism of the bird in the piece above and the stylistic rendering of the bird here, not to mention all the bezel set abalone shell. It’s also just a “thicker” look.
If you keep looking at Archibald Knox jewelry, you’ll notice things that will make most Arts and Crafts designers cringe. Seriously, how could you possibly tell that this is Arts and Crafts?! It even has the Art Nouveau whiplash motif in it!
Start dissecting the design. Pick out each element with a critical eye. Begin to view jewelry like an Art Historian. You are viewing three dimensional, wearable art after all. When you can begin to look at jewelry that way, you’ll be identifying not only Art and Crafts from Art Nouveau, but every single other style from every single other era in the history of jewelry- and it will be easy!
I’ll leave you with two more rings from Archibald Knox. See if you can begin to tell someone why these two rings-that both contain faceted diamonds- are Arts and Crafts. Remember- no Self-Respecting Arts and Crafts designer would be caught dead designing with diamonds! Good luck and tell me what you think on my Facebook page!