Thursday, June 18, 2015

‘Statement jewelry’…whatever that means…


Traditional jewelry making is a lifelong apprenticeship in a multitude of different arts. At first you aspire to become proficient in the basics of fabrication: cutting, carving, casting and soldering. Then, there’s the ornamental finish work such as enameling, engraving, stoning and beading. Harnessing your abilities to produce an admirable piece of jewelry from a design sketch is a very un-glamorous proposition. You must wrestle with all the mechanical aspects of birthing a creation so that its finished form compels someone to wear it for its beauty or self-expression.

Gemstone beads are cut,shaped and polished.
Click to view our Blue Creek bracelet featuring
lapidary cutcabochons.
Much of the jewelry out there is a monotonous rehash of some theme, handed down by the trend gurus (whoever they are), mass produced overseas and marketed by every tier in retailing. A pink plastic geometric necklace plated in imitation gold, made in China is offered by a hundred small vendors on various websites for a couple of dollars and another couple of dollars for delivery to your door, 6,000 miles away. You can buy the very same “statement necklace” at a tony department store for >$100, labeled in the name of a celebrity “designer” whose offerings, from purses to bathroom towels, dubs them a “life-style brand” (whatever that is).

Quality inspection of our Auturm
Haze necklace with frog knot closure.
The fundamental requirement for innovative design has been swapped for efficiently marketed private label goods.Modern technology has enabled the jettison of junk in mass quantities through all arteries of commerce with such speed and transparency that we can shop the same item online for 3 bucks or 30. 

Thankfully, more women are going negative on so-called fast fashion. They’re looking for items that show evidence of artistic expression and fine workmanship. The world of manufacturing is hovering on the brink of DIY 3-D printing of a thing-on-a-string necklace. I’m betting that true lovers of jewelry will instead print a dog toy; that they’ll continue to acquire jewelry from actual practitioners of the art such as myself and my talented staff at Sweet Romance. What’s your take?

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