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Jewelry Making: A brief history

Jewelry Making: A brief history. Why?. Studying the history of jewelry can provide a context for making it and can provide inspiration for design: forms, and motifs, composition and fabrication, as well as fixtures, fittings, and findings.

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Jewelry Making: A brief history

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  1. Jewelry Making: A brief history

  2. Why? Studying the history of jewelry can provide a context for making it and can provide inspiration for design: forms, and motifs, composition and fabrication, as well as fixtures, fittings, and findings. Our earliest ancestors were wearing jewelry even before they began to fashion clothes for themselves.

  3. Antiquity • Body Adornment: Every country on earth has found some way to adorn itself. • Tattoos • Decorative scarring • Body piercing • Makeup This desire for adornment has influenced the techniques for jewelry making and drives civilizations and cultures to develop their own distinctive styles and methods of making.

  4. Jewelry before metal • Use of materials available: • Shells • Seeds • Animal teeth • Claws • Stones • Beads were made by exploiting a natural hole in the object or piercing it at the thinnest point.

  5. Techniques in metal • Making of tools: Most of the ancient tools still survive today. • Annealing: discovered the need in the earliest stages of metalworking (ancient Egypt). • Production of wire: large amounts of wire are found in ancient jewelry. • Beads • Chains • Surface decoration

  6. Ancient Middle East • Early jewelry from this area: • Brightly colored • Raw materials The demand for these might have been a factor in the extensive trade networks. • Earliest examples of gold discovered in royal tombs • Sumerians skills as goldsmiths spread over Western Asia, Turkey and Greece.

  7. By 1900 BCE, jewelry was playing an important role in Egyptian culture. An incredible amount was preserved, as jewelry was extremely important in rituals surrounding death. • Dynastic Egyptian jewelry: • Colorful polychrome effect with symbolism. • Broad collar (wesekh) • Scarab beetle (pharaonic jewelry) • Lotus flower • Eye of Horus

  8. Greece: Bronze Age through Classical period • Minoans: mastered techniques • Filigree (twisted threads of metal) • Granulation (grinding of metal) • Repousse (shaped by hammering) • Gemstone engravers • Mycenaean • Complex seals • Colorful inlay • Enamels • Fine chain • A serpent wrapped around an arm or finger was a popular design

  9. Etruscan and Roman • Early Etruscan: • Technical proficiency and variety • Granulation • Roman: • Colored gemstones • Simple, heavy settings • Egyptian emeralds, garnets, sapphires from India • Fine chiseled openwork

  10. Byzantium and the Middle Ages • Byzantine society was hierarchical and the wearing of jewelry and the availability of certain types of ornament was strictly regulated through laws. • Adoption of Christianity led to new forms of jewelry • Pendant crosses • New iconography • Figural representation • Characteristics • Fine-chiseled openwork • Chasing and embossing • Colored stones that predominate over the gold work • Gold Cloisonne

  11. Early European • Ireland: rich in alluvial gold • Large disks decorated with central crosses • Crescent-shaped neck rings called lunulae • Central Europe: use of wire formed into spirals. In Ireland, Britain, and France cruciform strips of wire were twisted into long three dimensional spirals that were worn around neck or arm.

  12. Celtic • The Celts dominated Europe during the Iron Age and established a stylistic tradition that persisted in parts of Europe throughout the Roman period and beyond. • Celtic craftsman used enamels and inlay as early as 400 BCE. • The item most associated with the Celts is the Torc; part of the battle dress worn by both men and woman. • Functional jewelry

  13. Viking and Medieval jewelry • Animal Motifs dominated Viking jewelry • Repousse and filigree enhance basic cast shapes • Chip-cutting: surface of the metal was worked with a chisel to create facets that produced a glittering effect. • Most Viking jewelry was made of silver, generally woven and braided into torcs and bracelets. • Medieval jewelry: Materials used were valued for their intrinsic and medicinal properties • Inscriptions were popular • Devotional jewelry was prominent

  14. Jewelry for the Twenty-First Century Its up to you to change the world. How much creativity, risk taking, and thinking outside the box will determine how you effect history!!

  15. Renaissance to Revolution • Influenced by culture and arts of ancient Greece and Rome. Classical architecture, decorative motifs, historical figures, mythological subjects, exotic animals all were inspiration for jewelry design. • Christian imagery remained current. • Popular Tudor motifs were the monogram device and the knot. • Characterized by: • Vivid color • Enameled gold and precious stones • Cameos and intaglios • Gem engraving

  16. Baroque • With the change of fashion in the 17th century to flowing silk fabrics outmoded formal ceremonial jewelry. A softer side emerged with pearls becoming popular. Botany was a characteristic motif, and the bow, while gold receded to provide merely a framework or setting for stones. • English jewelry in the mid 17th century was effected by the Civil War and Puritanism. Much commemorative jewelry was worn secretly after the execution of Charles 1st in 1649. Wedding rings were scorned.

  17. Eighteenth Century • Rise of the gemstone and distinction between daytime and evening jewelry. • The Chatelaine: a decorative belt-hook or clasp worn at the waist with a series of chains suspended and mounted to hold household accessories such as scissors, thimble, watch, keys. • Foiling of stones to enhance sparkle. • Naturalism; curving lines, leaves, and feathers. • Alternative materials: ceramic and glass. • Discovery of Diamonds in 1725

  18. Nineteenth Century • More accessible due to machine made jewelry and mass production. Designs were inspired by archeological discoveries and nationalism. • By the end of the century ideas of design reform had led to the founding of two new movements in Britain and Continental Europe: Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau.

  19. Mass production • With the introduction of mass production came large quantities of cheap jewelry. • Costume jewelry • Gold was passed through rolling machines to produce large sheets of uniform thickness, which could then be stamped out into component parts for affordable jewelry. • Chain making was made by machines. • Novelties: the Victorian era spawned a fondness for eccentric and humorous trinkets. Everyday objects were incorporated into designs. Moving jewels powered by electricity.

  20. Twentieth Century • Characterized by: rise of the luxury jewelry houses and the rise of the individual designer, jeweler-artist. • Marked by the increase in the use of alternative materials. • Art Deco: borrowed from the modernist movements such as Bauhaus, Cubism, Neoclassicism characterized by linear forms and stylized abstracted geometric forms. The machine age with angular and cylindrical shapes to resemble inner workings of machines.

  21. Jewelry since the 1960’s • The rise of individual artist art schools. • Self expression • New materials were embraced, expected forms and functions were challenged, and the boundaries between jewelry, sculpture, clothing and performance art were explored. • Paper jewelry

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