II : GEMS AND JEWELRY (Continued…)



However, before we go too far into the design process itself perhaps we should go into jewelry itself and what jewelry has meant to mankind through the millennia. The passage of time has denied us the opportunity to see the first person who made a piece of jewelry. We cannot go back in time and see that very special moment. Yet we do know from the records of archeology that mankind has been regularly creating jewelry for the past 7,000 years. Now that is a tradition! In the earliest years of jewelry fabncation we are not sure what the motive was for its use. However, there is reason to believe that the use of jewelry as amulets (protection) goes back at least 5,000 years. In the belief systems of those times specific powers were ascribed to specific objects. The idea of an amulet was to obtain the ascribed power by wearing the object.


        It is interesting to ponder the reason that we do wear jewelry. If this has been going on for 7,000 years and possibly longer then the use of jewelry must be significant to human beings. An important thing to note about jewelry is that it is something we wear. While not indispensable to our comfort, as is clothing, the use of jewelry has remained in the society of man and shows no sign of becoming less popular–rather the opposite. The fact that we use jewelry to adorn our bodies makes jewelry very personal. While current use of jewelry stems more from esthetic motives rather than from a desire for mystical properties there are a number of very personal motivations for wearing jewelry.


II : GEMS AND JEWELRY (Continued…)


        Even before you sit down and attempt to put a design to paper there is a lot you can do to prepare yourself for that moment. The first thing you can do is to become observant about design. You can begin to look at other jewelry designs with a more critical eye. What do you see that you like? What do you see that you do not like? What specifically is it you see that you do and do not like? It is virtually impossible to be out and about in the company of people and not see jewelry. Jewelry is so basic to our society that virtually everybody wears some kind of jewelry. Of course there is the old standby–the mall. Almost everybody goes to shopping centers where you can observe not only the jewelry in the store windows but also the jewelry worn by the mall patrons themselves. So, jewelry is all around us. The opportunity to see what we like and do not like is there.

        You can begin to categorize your observations. There are sizes, shapes, colors, textures. Observe if there is movement in the pieces you notice — especially neck wear. See about the balance and proportion of the pieces you observe. During the observing phase you can begin to discern what your general likes and dislikes are.