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Home > The Tank period

Tank jewels : From the cult of power to the rebel style

Birth in a turbulent context

The tank jewelry appeared in the 1940s. At that period, Europe was facing the Second World War and this very troubled geopolitical context was going to lead to many shortages. Gold in particular, will become scarce, because rationed everywhere. As for platinum, which was widely used in the making of Art Deco jewelry, it was unavailable because it was requisitioned by the army.

In these troubled times, the possession of jewelry responds to very opposite motives.
For some, they represent a refuge value which will allow, in case of need to take its goods under a small volume. They melt down their antique jewels to create a unique piece of jewelry that will be more easily transportable. The gold, which is subject to a quota, must be provided in complete discretion by the client to the jeweler, who works "in room".
For the others, their massive and visible character symbolizes without modesty or discretion a beautiful success in the "business" sometimes of the black market. But they are also a symbol of power, of assertive character and strong personality.

The tank jewelry: Break with the Art Deco

We thus witnessed the creation of jewelry with a style radically different from Art Deco: yellow or rose gold, a common use of diamonds, but often accompanied by colored gemstones, recovered from other jewelry, such as emeralds or sapphires, because imports of precious stones were no longer used at this time. It was also very common to use synthetic or calibrated gems, such as rubies.

The gold is worked in drapery, pleated, like a fabric. Ribbons, bows or rolled plant patterns are often used.

The tank style produces massive, geometric, often asymmetrical jewelry. The shapes are quite sculptural, imposing, sometimes articulated, which recalls the caterpillars of the tanks that crisscrossed the country at that time, hence the name "tank jewelry".

  • The tank bracelets are large and are either composed of a succession of geometrical patterns, or of a single pattern adorned or not with gems.
  • The tank necklaces are mostly made of a characteristic mesh: the mesh known as "tubogas or gas pipe", or snake mesh. They can be criss-crossed and assembled on the front by a pattern such as a knot.
  • The old tank brooches are very worn. They will adapt to the evolution of the conflict, representing birds (birds of paradise, nightingales ...) in a cage, closed door, during the war, and open door once the war is over.
  • Finally, the 1940s "tank" ring is very recognizable. All in volume, it will bear the names of "bridge ring", "knot ring", "open book ring" ...

A style that is always in vogue

The "Tank" trend of the 1940s and 1950s was worn by great names such as Picasso and Braque. It was a short period, but it nevertheless marked our culture.

The tank jewelry, and in particular the retro ring or the tank bracelet, are very sought after today.

Embodying a rebellious spirit, the tank ring will perfectly match a rock'n roll style, associated for example with a leather jacket. But it will also be perfect to accompany a cocktail dress, thanks to its generous curves and its presence on the finger.

A very fashionable retro style jewel, the tank jewel combines the elegance of jewelry and the geometric lines characteristic of its time. It is noticeable and can be suitable for a woman as well as a man.

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