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137 artworks, 41 artists
Jewellery art (dut. juwelier, old fr. joel, lat. jocellum — “jewel”) is a kind of decorative and applied art, the manufacture of personal jewellery and household items of precious metals, stones, and other precious and semiprecious materials. Precious metals include gold, platinum, silver and their alloys. The list of gems is more extensive; the most famous (and expensive) ones are diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, alexandrites, as well as natural pearls. The jewellery artist uses his talent and skills to create new and sophisticated forms of jewellery designed to highlight the individuality and relevance of their owners.
Jewellery has been known since time immemorial; it is perhaps the most interesting and preserved artifacts that archaeologists find during excavations. The materials used to create jewellery in ancient times were very different: shells and corals, semi-precious stones and amber, precious metals, glass, enamel. Many jewellery, such as brooches, hairpins, buckles, originally had a functional purpose, which eventually turned into the decorative one. Jewellery items were always the objects related to the status of the owner, his belonging to a social group, which was expressed in materials, form, patterns.
Even the Neanderthals are known to have created jewellery beads of shells, eggshells, and stone. Archaeological finds of the Upper Paleolithic period include necklaces and bracelets made of bone, berries, teeth, as well as carved bone pins used to fasten clothes. Seven thousand years ago, they began to use copper to make jewellery items. Two thousand years later, in ancient Egypt, gold began to be used, a rare and easily processed metal compared to others. Rings, bracelets, pendants, head jewellery, ritual objects accompanied noble people both during life and after death. Jewellery flourished in Assyria and Mesopotamia, artists invented new techniques: engraving, plique-a-jour, filigree.
In the manufacture of jewellery, jewellers of ancient Greece preferred stamping and forging of precious metals with soldering of parts. Casting was less common. Many artists copied jewellery of oriental origin, later the presence of Roman culture elements was revealed. Pendants, earrings were predominantly female attributes, while men wore rings and brooches as clothing elements. The same trend continued with the Celts, who added precious weapons to men’s jewellery.
During the Renaissance, new discoveries, travel and trade relations contributed to the development of jewellery. Artists were enabled to work with new precious stones, learn new techniques and principles of jewellery creation. Gems in decorated frames were in great demand among the nobility. Precious typefaces became popular, consisting of several items in a single artistic style.
A new term has appeared — bijouterie, which denoted jewellery made of base metals and semi-precious stones. This was facilitated by the growth of the middle class, who also wanted to have jewellery affordable for them, and the invention of industrial jewellery production. Items made by eminent artisans were only available to the upper class, who could pay for exclusivity and exceptional artistic solutions.
Today, jewellery is evidence of status, as before, but more often of good artistic taste, adherence to a particular brand, a part of a fashionable look. Given the abundance of industrially manufactured products, jewellery art requires artists to constantly improve their technique, work on new images, use non-traditional materials, and stay original.
Famous jewellers: François-Désiré Froment-Meurice, Charles Lewis Tiffany, Louis-François Cartier, René Lalique, Carl Fabergé, Harry Winston.