Jewelry making or jewelry accessory design is a profession that involves crafting, building, and/or drawing pieces of jewelry. It is an ancient activity that goes back thousands of years, carried out at the time by goldsmiths and metallurgists, which over time evolved into a highly profitable activity during the industrialization era. Jewelry design is based on scientific, technical and industrial foundations and therefore should not be confused with jewelry crafts.
The professional career of jewelry design generally has a short training cycle, which lasts approximately three years, depending on the institution. The main focus is on developing skills to create and produce pieces of jewelry with unique designs. This training is highly practical, and the accessories made during the training are exhibited and sold at specialized fairs.
Jewelry has been used throughout the ages to express the significance of art, religion, social status, and interpersonal relationships. Despite the absence of the modern techniques utilized in the contemporary jewelry design and production, ancient jewelry was still intricately designed and lavishly adorned. Let’s explore some examples of ancient civilizations and their unique styles of jewelry:
Ancient Greek jewelry was characterized by intricate details and the depiction of mythological stories of the era. Gold and silver were the most frequently used metals, with rare pieces incorporating gemstones. The jewelry pieces were renowned for their employment of granulation, a method that combines tiny gold beads onto a surface to create complex designs. Additionally, ancient Greeks were recognized for their use of filigree, which involves weaving thin threads of gold into delicate patterns.
In ancient Egypt, jewelry symbolized power and social status, with pharaohs donning gold pieces such as signet rings and collar necklaces that continue to influence modern fashion. Certain types of ancient Egyptian jewelry were designed to hold amulets, which were frequently worn for protection. Precious stones were also commonplace in ancient Egyptian jewelry, with Queen Cleopatra being particularly renowned for her affection for emeralds.
During ancient Rome, golden jewelry was favored by individuals across all societal strata, with designs featuring leaves, spirals, and beads being particularly prevalent. This era also marked the introduction of embellishment in jewelry design, with the use of colored gemstones like rubies, pearls, and sapphires becoming more widespread. Motifs such as coiled snakes and half moons also emerged in jewelry pieces such as necklaces, earrings, headdresses, and bracelets.
Middle Ages and Renaissance
Throughout history, jewelry styles have been greatly impacted by religious and political influences. During the Middle Ages, jewelry design was heavily influenced by the Catholic Church, with pieces often serving as a representation of religious devotion. Jewelry items incorporated spiritual symbols like crosses and depictions of saints. Ornate rings and brooches were also among the most sought-after jewelry pieces of that era.
Modern Jewelry Design
Across the 20th and 21st centuries, the world of jewelry design underwent a significant evolution spurred by advances in technology, tools, and resources. Designers began experimenting with new materials such as titanium, plastic, and stainless steel. The advent of manufacturing techniques like casting and the integration of computer-aided design and 3D printing allowed for unprecedented freedom in design. Recently, the emergence of smart jewelry and wearable technology, influenced by Silicon Valley, has been the latest development in the industry.
The notable designers of the 20th century included Coco Chanel, who revolutionized the use of costume jewelry and introduced costume pearls, Elsa Schiaparelli, known for her avant-garde approach to materials and collaborations with artists like Salvador Dali, and David Webb, famous for his bold use of colors and exotic materials.
As with humanity, the history of jewelry design is complex and always evolving. There are always new trends and advancements to explore. With over 40 years of experience, MJJ Brilliant remains at the forefront of the jewelry industry, always adapting to changing times and driving innovation. Contact us today to see how we can help bring your jewelry design dreams to life.