Contemporary jewelry is a concept that admits many postures and many interpretations. Many agreements and disagreements, but there has always been a question according to this concept and is what profile must a designer meet to be considered a creator of contemporary jewelry?
It can be said that there are many concepts of what contemporary jewelry is, but they all agree on something and it is this type of jewelry that ventures to investigate and experiment with different materials and processes. The value of the piece focuses on the way in which the metal is treated, how it is molded, in the final shape of it or is transferred to the jewel and the precision of the setting and the beauty of it.
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Also for some jewelers, contemporary jewelry is considered the counterpart of traditional jewelry, for its more extravagant, larger and striking shapes out of the ordinary. For others it is the possibility of creating things that are distinguished by their creative process that brought the piece to life, but this does not stop being what it is or what traditional jewelry represents, which is the power to adorn the body beautifully, enhancing the beauty of the person and stylizing what should be stylized. There are many people who stand out because of the particular relationship they have with their jewelry, even some believe that it is not necessary for a jewel to be created in order to use it.
It is also considered a practice that descends from crafts, which is an activity that is characterized by its creativity and spontaneity. It goes back to Anglo-Saxon movements and the appearance of the radical jewelry of the 60s, where individuality, art, creativity and a difficult relationship with mass production stood out. The reason for this is; that this type of jewelry is based on the fact that the object is between being a high-end jewel and an artistic object, it is known that it is not a simple manufactured item to be worn. It is also a type of expression of individual talent that often reflects the culture and time of the person’s religion.
Modern and contemporary art
Despite all the different concepts there are some similar characteristics that are undeniable, such as: that the human body is the field of investigation since this is the canvas that will carry the pieces. A liberal attitude towards the use of materials and methods that are inspired by modern and contemporary art, is associated with originality and free individual expression and have a certain emancipation from traditional jewelry in order to seduce and satisfy the consumer.
Another way to define it is as a market in which cultural products are very defined by their distribution, their visibility and the impact on consumers. In the vast majority of countries there are a limited number of stores that focus on distributing and promoting these unique pieces. For its part, the designer or author hopes to at least be represented in five galleries to be able to guarantee a way to supplement the expenses produced in his workshop.
The contemporary jewelry market
The contemporary jewelry market works in a very similar way to art because it is not a large scale market and this is why its visibility is very important when it comes to promoting it. Although it is true that this profession is evolving quickly to be a cross between crafts, design and art.
It faces a great identity crisis although many people believe that more than an identity problem is an image problem since the absence of it has contributed to a huge variety in personal and collective responses. This has built a great obstacle that is to promote contemporary jewelry and improve public opinion, because if the public is not familiar with the term, much less with its origins, simply compare it with the luxury jewelry to which it is accustomed as it is It makes it difficult for them to understand that there is jewelry beyond the big brands like: Cartier, Pomellato and Tiffany’s.
Why is not the public so familiar with contemporary jewelry?
These things happen for great reasons that will be explained below:
They are too few to attract a sufficient number of people to contemporary jewelry, the exposure of the same is subject to production as well as there is no great field for programs for jewelry design or at least very few in the contemporary branch, a part of that also has as an antagonist that these pieces are not produced en masse.
Also seen in a negative way this is a micro profession which means very little press, very little publicity, little budget and consequently is an activity that is outside of conventional jewelry.
The creators of this type of jewelry are rather discreet or very unlikely to seek a striking advertising because they are confined to expect the galleries are responsible for promoting their pieces to customers who are interested in them.
There is no account in this area with effective strategies for information and promotion of the piece, it has been speculated that perhaps it is due to fear of success or contamination of the branch, this practice is more than anything in introverted people who comply with certain stereotypes that they want to make known but without any risk.
A very particular feeling
Ultimately what you want is to make this known as a practice where you take everything and call it just jewelry and not include the word “Contemporary” or author, because it does not matter what they mean because the jewelry is spread in a very particular feeling.
You have to go back or take a step back and be aware that since the stone age man used any type of objects to decorate his body and use them as an amulet to protect himself from the gods or from any evil, most of these pieces of jewelry were made of bones, shells, snails, teeth, branches, even small fruits.
Centuries later a limit was established between what was well seen to be used religiously and in the aesthetic field, as the years went by this limit was erased more and more until it became only a diffuse line, especially when talking about jewelry contemporary or avant-garde since it is linked to many other professions.
Many of the new jewelers or contemporary jewelers base their pieces on objects of art or knowledge of their base careers such as architecture, engineering, and even mathematics. Despite all this there is always the doubt that there is a difference between the two types of pieces of jewelry, many of its exponents give as characteristics that this type of jewelry that has to do with what each designer or author expresses and feels at any given moment of his life, his personality, his state of mind and even the things that happen to him are reflected.
In this type of jewelry the value is not given in a commercial or traditional way but rather it goes in the metals that have been used to make the piece. In the work that each of them carries, in the message that you want to transmit and not only in the amount of money that you want to receive. Many of the materials used in this type of jewelry are not at all conventional since they use ebony, alpaca, copper, bronze, stones.
Also the most traditional ones are used like gold, silver, platinum, pearls, sapphires and other precious stones, the combination of these different materials is what gives a different product and that can not be repeated. While in traditional jewelry everything is reduced to a large diamond ring in contemporary jewelry we can find a piece of ebony with pieces of copper and various incrustations of precious stones.
A new form of expression
Many think that traditional jewelry is not encouraged to seek a new form of expression and that is why many find it boring. However, in contemporary jewelry you never find two identical pieces or two collections equal since as time goes by they innovate. It could even be compared with the great textile designers that change according to the season.
Thanks to these changes and this versatility is that this type of jewelry is what it is and has the great reason as already mentioned to adorn the body in a different way, since not only do the normal papers such as earrings, necklaces, bracelets or rings; If not, it also prepares to decorate parts that are not traditional because their relationship with the body is very free.
Many jewelers get their inspiration from the simplest to the most complex, from feelings to anything that appeals to them, whether it represents an odor, a memory or even something that was once seen.
The infinite possibilities
Although in most of the time the jewelry was only considered for the high class, now there is a greater excess and great variety of materials for the contemporary designers. This variety of materials, the diversity of patterns and the infinite possibilities that they give is what causes a new piece to be born to be presented to the world. Even jewelry has been taken to an art to dress, the function of this type of art was born of artists who were looking for a new form of expression. It was a reaction to the modern era, the interpretation of concepts and alternatives beyond creativity.
As the years go by, the limits of pieces of jewelry have changed with this, with the addition of new technology and new materials that have nothing to do with precious gems. All this has nullified the traditional concept of what jewelry is. At the moment there are infinities of elements to be able to create a jewel, part of this art is given in the different branches in which contemporary jewelry has derived, such as the management of silver jewelry in its different forms and states.
The ethnic jewelry that is increasingly coming out of the tribes to the cities. The handmade jewelry that is where it is most noticeable that there is not one piece of jewelry equal to another. Pearl-based jewelry where pearls of all shapes and colors are used that can be found without distinction from one another. The jewelry of precious stones where the setting is highlighted and how it makes a bridge for the base in which the stones and vintage jewels that are inspired by times very different from the current one are shown.
Go beyond traditional jewelry
While we know that even today they are still keeping the jewelry because of the importance of the material and the gems with which the pieces are created, it has become more accessible. This is based on a professional goal that goes beyond traditional jewelry and is inspired by jewelry that has to do with birth.
What this type of objective offers is to be able to introduce different jewelry brands in the whole world market, but this can not be just an academic work. What is meant is that instruction is needed and highlight the capabilities of each jeweler so that they can become part of the history of jewelry. Whether for its unique pieces, the handling of its tools and what materials were used to make them.
Likewise, the jeweler must have knowledge of gems, minerals, and stones. You must know the difference between each, which feature can facilitate the creation and which ones can not; as for example hardness, refraction, and brightness. All this always taking into account the client and not only personal desire.
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