Belle Epoque (1870 to 1914)

Alongside Art Nouveau, another artistic movement was taking place centred around the House of Cartier. Belle Epoque showcased lavish lace­-like bows, ribbons and flower necklaces inset with diamonds and drop pearls to compliment the plunging necklines and pastel coloured fabrics of the day. Fine jewellery was a status symbol and the more extravagant and expensive the better. Simple strands of natural pearls were worn beneath elaborate chokers, with brooches, hat pins and hair ornaments.The production of cultured pearls was developed by Japanese jeweller Kokichi Mikimoto during this period as an alternative to natural pearls and these were to have a huge impact on the jewellery industry in the 20th century.