Every piece of jewelry tells a story, it displays its beginning initial sketches and then the entire journey through design and construction. Much the same way as an oil painting, you can see the layers of thought throughout each sparkle. Throughout the ages, jewelry design has changed; from the once time consuming, handmade pieces only side lined for the rich, to the influx in modern day technology.
Whatever the type of jewelry whether it be a simple ring through to a diamond encrusted necklace, it will have started in the same place, as a sketch in a design studio. Whether a jewelry designer specializes in a certain area or not, they will still go through a similar process to creating the jewelry we see on the high street and in the high end designer stores. The question over whether jewelry design is art is a long standing debate, one that was rife during my own artistic career. It will ultimately come down to whether you see art as pure creativity and passion, or something that can only be created through painting a picture.
Jewelry design, for many of us, is an art form in its own right each piece is created from passion, love, immaculate creativity and ultimately artistic foresight. Finished pieces offer the look of decadence, but above all else you can clearly see the designer’s influence. The thought ‘process is there in front of you and that is exactly what makes jewelry wearable pieces of art.
It wasn’t all that long ago that Susan Philipsz won the Turner Prize in the UK for a piece of music played within an empty room. This is one of the biggest prizes you can win in the world of art and technically it was given to a piece of 16th Century Scottish music, so why would jewelry not be looked at as art? The attention to detail employed by designers is not different to that of composers or architects. The main difference between jewellery design and other art forms is the fact that they come under the invisible title of ‘Fashion’ which turns them away from art and towards the everyday. The reason for this is the scale of the pieces themselves, but does size really matter that greatly to the art world? Let’s face it, the Mona Lisa is not exactly large scale.
Some people have begun to refer to jewellery as tiny sculptures, mainly due to the fact that the materials used in both are fairly similar, just the scale is different. There has been an influx of late in the aunt of charm bracelets being sold and these are a great example of miniature sculptures. The beads themselves are unique, tiny and yet effortlessly designed to display our emotions, favorite things and even the places we have traveled in our lives. If this isn’t a great example of how the lines of jewelry design and art are blurred then I don’t know what is.