Art Deco is a style that has been popular for almost 100 years, but many of its origins can be found in an ancient civilisation that was at its peak some 33 centuries earlier. The design elements and motifs of Ancient Egypt were a powerful influence on Art Deco style, an influence that can be clearly, and beautifully, seen in Fairfax & Roberts new collection – Cleopatra.
What prompted designers of the 1920s to suddenly incorporate design elements from a long-gone society into their work? It was the 1922 discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb by archaeologist Howard Carter, whose first response to the question “Can you see anything?” as he looked around the tomb by candlelight was a reverent, “Yes. Wonderful things.”
Tutankhamun and everything to do with ancient Egypt immediately became wildly popular around the world and its influence can be seen in Art Deco design from architecture to clothing to jewellery. It wasn’t just the boy king who intrigued the world – Cleopatra ruled Egypt 1300 years later and also became an object of fascination. Here was a woman who procured an audience with Julius Caesar by hiding herself in a rolled up carpet (and subsequently bore his child), before marrying her brother – and then having him killed to protect her son’s succession. She bore three sons to Rome’s Marc Antony and ultimately committed suicide to escape capture by a political rival.
Cleopatra Others have noted that she used her femininity and brilliant tactics to maintain her own political power during some of the most dangerous and complicated times the world has ever seen. She was obviously of her time, but this successful and powerful woman would also be quite at home navigating the machinations of the present day.
The new Cleopatra designer jewellery collection from Fairfax & Roberts fuses the elements of Ancient Egypt with the timeless elegance of Art Deco to create luxury pieces that are statements of style. A classic rising sun shape, seen on Ancient Egyptian scrolls, is reimagined in three distinct suites: onyx, centred with a pavé diamond setting and highlighted with 18K rose and white gold; mother of pearl and pavé set white diamonds in 18K yellow gold and a full pavé diamond set suite in 18K white gold. This stunning collection includes a pendant, two rings (that can be worn singly or together), stud earrings and a fan earring with detachable studs.
Click below to browse the Cleopatra collection or learn more about our designer jewellery and how we create custom pieces here with our bespoke process.