What inspired certain people to become jewelry makers

Have you ever wondered what inspired certain people to become
who cab or facet stones for costume jewelry, and one who
 custom-tumbles jewelry stones.

 Apparently, our readers enjoy s...
But once you've decided what design style you like the best, what
kind of jewelry do you apply that style to? The top four...
rhodochrosite, sugilite, onyx, and paua
shell also took a few votes. A couple of
readers answered "anything drusy" -- a
                            personal turn when we asked, "If you
Readers were more enthusiastic about recognizing the artistic
achievements of contemporary jewelry designers; jewelers who...
majority of jewelry makers working today had a minimum of formal
training. How wrong I was! An impressive 64 percent of ou...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5

What inspired certain people to become jewelry makers


Published on

  • Be the first to comment

What inspired certain people to become jewelry makers

  1. 1. What inspired certain people to become jewelry makers Have you ever wondered what inspired certain people to become jewelry makers for an avocation or career instead of more common hobbies like woodwork or painting, or more common careers like engineering, teaching, or the law? Or have you admired a jewelry display and wondered what techniques the artists liked best and what they liked the least? Or have you ever thought about what jewelry of the past has influenced the jewelry you admire today? A Lapidary Journal survey reveals the answers to these puzzles and more. We compiled a random sample of jewelry makers among our subscribers and sent them surveys ruthlessly interrogating them as to their experience, their preferences, and how they learned their craft. They supplied us with candid and revealing replies, for which we are grateful. Of the jewelry makers who answered our survey, 89 percent were metal smiths, and most of these were also lapidaries. Those who did not check metal smith or lapidary on the survey form were either beaders, designers, gemologists, manufacturers, or collectors. Many checked five, six, or even seven different choices -- a very versatile crew! When we asked what fashion jewelry techniques each respondent considered to be his or her particular specialty, many answered silver smithing -- which is somewhat vague -- but also followed up with more specific techniques: casting, fabricating, enameling, Readers' interest in beads is pretty etching, inlay, and intarsia. evenly split between gem and glass Not as many mentioned beads, such as this strand of forging, stone setting, metal lampworked beads by Karen Dougherty. Photo: Michael Leslie. plating, gold smithing, repousse, or making custom alloys. There were also several wire wrappers, carvers, and beaders. One reader specializes in making reproductions of fine Old World jewelry; another uses precious metal clay; others chose married metals, metal weaving, scrimshaw, overlay, or scrollwork. One experienced metal smith makes handmade precious metal chains. There were also lapidaries
  2. 2. who cab or facet stones for costume jewelry, and one who custom-tumbles jewelry stones. Apparently, our readers enjoy some techniques that don't fall into their area of specialization. For instance, forging, which didn't register very high among the techniques used most frequently by our readers, had a greater than 50 percent response rate when readers were asked which techniques they liked the most. Texturing, hammering, and piercing also scored above the half-way mark, while about 30 percent liked casting, channel inlay, and wire work. The least-used methods are granulation, etching, engraving, scrollwork, married metals, and mokume gane. Several readers cast their votes for fusing and sculpting, but it was surprising that of all the respondents, there was only one lonely vote for filigree, which used to be a great favorite. Overall, fabricated or constructed jewelry won over cast jewelry by a large, three-to-one margin. Perhaps this is because casting is usually more expensive, requiring more equipment, such as a burn- out oven, and often taking much more time. STYLE CONSCIOUSNESS. Favorite kinds of jewelry? As I had anticipated, contemporary was the overwhelming leader. Ethnic and ancient jewelry styles tied for second, followed by another tie between Art Nouveau and Art Deco. Following close on the heels of that pack were Victorian, Egyptian, Classical, and Baroque styles. Edwardian and 19th-century French One of the seemed not to enjoy great popularity, but contemporary jewelry designers who has Oriental, American Indian, and Arts and Crafts won the admiration of styles all received write-ins. our readers is Carrie Adell, who created As far as design is concerned, realistic and this bead pendant of geometric design styles proved slightly more 18K shakudo, attractive to our readers than naturalized and mokume gane, stylized designs. Abstract designs and boulder opal, and symbolic patterns were close behind, but very diamonds. Photo: few readers voted for impressionistic designs, Carrie Adell. which were all the rage 100 years ago. Traditional and modern jewelry tied for fourth place, but very few respondents would chose to buy or make ultra-modern jewelry.
  3. 3. But once you've decided what design style you like the best, what kind of jewelry do you apply that style to? The top four responses, with very little difference in number of preferences, were rings, pendants, earrings, and necklaces. Chains and bracelets tied for fifth place, and bolas and buckles shared sixth. Cuff links, clips, barrettes, and enhancers each were mentioned, but trailed far back in the field. When asked what their favorite metal is, our readers voted silver by a landslide; silver received half again as many votes as gold. One These earrings by interpretation of this result (my own, thank Beth Solomon use you) is that many of our metalsmiths are silver, our readers' amateurs or hobbyists, since retail jewelry favorite metal, stores still show gold as the most popular quartz (in this metal. Some readers named copper as their case, gray drusy), favorite; platinum, brass, and refractory metals our readers' also had their devotees. favorite stone, and pearls. Photo: WRITTEN IN STONES. What percentage of the Allen Bryan. jewelry you make uses gemstones? Being totally entranced by gemstones myself, I was happy to see that 16 percent of the readers surveyed use stones in all of their jewelry and another 16 percent use stones in 90 percent of the items they make. Ten percent use stones in 85 percent of their work and eight percent indicated they use stones 80 percent of the time. Twelve percent estimated that they use gems for about 70 to 75 percent of their pieces, and most of the rest are near 50 percent. So over 60 percent of our jewelers use gems, and many of them are lapidaries. The majority, 78 percent, would want their jewelry stones to be individually lapped, carved, faceted, or made into intarsia. Next in preference were handmade beads and doublets or triplets. A few favored laminated gem materials. Write-ins included drusy crystals and natural botryoidal materials. When asked to name their favorite stones for cabochons in jewelry, our readers showed that quartz -- our all-American favorite -- is still way out in front. Some mentioned agate, jasper, chrysoprase, fire agate, chrysocolla-in-quartz, and plume agate. In addition to the quartzes, opal, jade, and lapis registered as well. Gems such as moonstone, labradorite, malachite, garnet, turquoise, sunstone,
  4. 4. rhodochrosite, sugilite, onyx, and paua shell also took a few votes. A couple of readers answered "anything drusy" -- a good answer as there are lots of exceptional drusy gem materials now available. Stones loom large in the The best-loved cabochon cuts are still jewelry our readers' the old oval domed cabochons every designs, with most stone cutter learned on in the past, but preferring individually cut creeping up on these standards are and cabbed stones, such as bullets, tongues, and shields. these by cutter Alex Horst. Freeforms are much more popular than From left to right: drusy uvarovite garnet, in the past, and buff tops are gaining chrysoprase, and Louisiana on the high domes. A few readers petrified palmwood. Photo: preferred carved cabochons, such as Alex Horst. cameos, scarabs, seals, and intaglios -- there were several scrimshaw artists among the respondents. One person enjoys fancy doublets and triplets most. For faceted jewelry stones, the favorites are, in order: tourmaline, corundum, amethyst, garnet, aquamarine, emerald, topaz, tanzanite, diamond, citrine and other quartzes, peridot, opal, spinel, and zircon. One person named alexandrite, another moldavite, and a third person liked faceted synthetics best. Among the favorite facet designs, the round brilliant is still the leader, and second place is held by another classic, the emerald or step cut. Other favorites are marquise, oval, pear, cushion, heart, and fantasy cuts. Mentioned by only a few are such cuts as princess, lozenge, kite, antique, and baguette. Barion and trilliant each registered with a vote. A question about our readers' interest in beads revealed that the preference is split evenly between glass and gem beads. Millefiore and lampworked glass beads were chosen more than other glass beads, while hand-made or hand-carved gem beads took precedence over various shapes, sizes, or colors of gem beads. After glass and stone, clay beads emerged in a tie with enamel beads, slightly ahead of metal beads. Antique beads, trade beads, and ethnic beads each had a few dedicated followers, and a few stray voices supported Mexican beads, jade beads, and Oriental pearls.
  5. 5. GETTING PERSONAL. Things took a personal turn when we asked, "If you make jewelry or are a collector of jewelry, what influenced you to get started?" The answers showed, as we had expected, that relatives and friends are of great influence here. Some samples: One of the materials our readers are most interested "My mother took a lapidary class when I in learning more about is precious metal clay; this was 6;" "My grandfather took me rock bracelet was made by hunting;" "My father was a geologist and Peggy Johnson using silver kept bringing pretty stones home to me;" PMC. Photo: Robert "My family took me to dig sapphires in Diamante. Montana when I was a child;" "A friend took me to his house and showed me how to make a ring;" "I had a good earth science teacher when I was in eighth grade." Some people were self-motivated: "I picked up a Lake Superior agate when I was out fishing;" "I was a musician and home maker. When I became disabled I transferred my skills to jewelry making;" "I got a book about rocks for Christmas;" "My husband was always making jewelry and I wanted to spend more time with him;" "I had a lot of family birthdays and anniversaries coming up and I wanted to give things I made myself for each occasion;” "I like to wear stunning original jewelry and decided I could save money by learning to do it myself. I learned, but I didn't save any money!" One of the most neglected questions on the survey was one in which we gave our readers a list of jewelry designers and asked them to indicate the ones they most admired. Perhaps the non- response to this question is due to many modern jewelry artists being so busy at the work they enjoy that they are not well-steeped in the past -- certainly it couldn't have been due to the obscurity of the jewelers on the list: L.C. Tiffany, P.C. Faberge, S. Dali, R. Lalique, G. Braque, A. Liberty, Paloma Picasso, G. Jensen, J. Schlumberger, G. Foquet, L.F. Cartier, and W. Morris. Despite the less-than-total response rate, we were given a clear indication of which jewelers of the past still command the most admiration today: Tiffany, Faberge. Others who have their fans are Jensen, Cartier, and Dali.
  6. 6. Readers were more enthusiastic about recognizing the artistic achievements of contemporary jewelry designers; jewelers who have won the admiration of survey respondents are: John Paul Miller, William Harper, Carrie Adell, Alan Revere, Dorothy Benrimo, Norah Pierson, Jeff Wise, Stephanie Briggs, Jeff Ruett, Carolyn Morris Bach, Matsuke Kambe Soellner, Luna Felix, Doug Feakes, Lanny Perry, Karen Davidson, Ray Tracey, Charles Laloma, Paula Crevoshay, Sylvia Nicks, Tim McCreight, J. McGrath, Bernd Munsteiner, Michael Boyd, Charles Lewton-Brain, Rita Greer, Margaret Di Patta, Tewo Suuranen, and Jeff Ruttlusa. What piece of jewelry has made a lasting impression on you? The one piece of jewelry that was mentioned the most was, perhaps not surprisingly, one of the world's most famous, and seen by the most people -- Next were Faberge's magnificent Imperial Easter eggs. But most of the answers were as diverse as individual memories. One reader will never forget an antique enamel dog pin. Others were captivated by the jewelry from the ancient Spanish shipwreck Atocha -- one chose a Trinity ring, another an elaborate chain, while a third recalled emerald jewelry but couldn't remember the name of the ship except "It starts with an 'A.'" Museum exhibits of jewelry were memorable to many. An early jewelry exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, a Chinese exhibit at the Chicago Art Institute, an exhibit in Phoenix on contemporary Native American jewelry were among those mentioned. One lady was inspired by the Tiffany iris pin made with Yogo sapphires. Two people marveled at separate pieces by Charles Laloma. Also cited were Zuni and Maya exhibits, Russian boxes, Roman signet rings, and the Crown Jewels of England. After looking into the past, we asked our readers to gaze into the future. What kind of jewelry did they see as becoming more important in the future? Most predicted that pins will grow in importance, while almost as many feel that one-of-a-kind pieces or limited editions of unique jewelry will gain in favor over mass- produced jewelry. Also in the running are Southwest jewelry, synthetic stone jewelry, pendants, and handmade glass beads. There were single forecasts for drusy items, computer designs, Yogo sapphire jewels, refractory metals, and jewelry for men. Although I know there are lots of great schools where jewelry making and/or lapidary is taught, and many clubs with their own workshops and classes, I had been under the impression that the
  7. 7. majority of jewelry makers working today had a minimum of formal training. How wrong I was! An impressive 64 percent of our surveyed readers have taken classes, some college level, and a few have degrees or were art majors. Only 20 percent answered that they are self-taught. Some learned from a friend or relative. Beaders replied they worked on techniques by getting together with others interested in beading. When asked what kind of jewelry they would like to learn more about, a majority said they'd like to learn about specific techniques, such as granulation, reticulation, roller printing, metal spinning, or working with refractory metals, such as titanium. Eighteen percent want to learn more about intarsia; 15 percent are eager to try fantasy cuts; ten percent are interested in the new clays, precious metal clay in particular; and seven percent would like to study lampworking and dichroic glass. There were also scattered wishes for instructions on electroforming, casting natural objects, studying contemporary Native American work, and working with assembled materials. The last question before the quaz -- is about books -- what jewelry books have been read by participants? These were so numerous and so good that I saved them for a bibliography. A small number admitted to not having read a jewelry book, but of these several wrote that the Lapidary Journal has been their mentor. Company name: Yiwu Dushang Jewelry Co.,Ltd Address: Third Floor, No.13-15,Building 4, A Zone, Futian Jewelry Street, Yiwu City, Zhejiang, China(322000) Tel: +86.579-85597585(Sherry) Fax: +86.579-85320753 Website: http://www.yalingjewelry.com/