Where Do You See Jewelry Going Next?

Where Do You See Jewelry Going Next?

Where Do You See Jewelry Going Next?

October/November 2013 issue of American Craft magazine
Author Staff
Mediums Jewelry
Bruce Metcalf

Bruce Metcalf

The new jewelry does not fetishize the exploration of forms like installation and video, but the exploration of taste and attitude. Young people are interested in mixing genres, in sentiment and whimsy, in sloppy and ugly. They’re also interested in the uses to which art can be applied. Building community, making political statements, and providing authentic experiences are far more important than aesthetic effects. The times they are a-changing. My generation doesn’t get it, but the kids do.
~Bruce Metcalf, studio jeweler and writer, Bala Cynwyd, PA

The current interest in brass by younger jewelers reminds me of its popularity in other tough economic times, especially the 1930s and 1940s. Enmeshed in New Americana, today’s  '70s-inspired garments are simplified silhouettes, ideal backdrops for personalization through jewelry in many forms, from close to the neck or elongated down the torso. It’s redux – as usual – but a twist on the newest mining of folk and “ethnic” jewelry sources. This time around, the stacked bangles and layered necklaces take on the visual vocabulary of minimalist sculpture on the body against single-color clothing.
~Namita Gupta Wiggers, ACC trustee; director and chief curator, Museum of Contemporary Craft, Portland, OR

Who thought the ’80s would come back with the stylistic vengeance that it has? But it has. I mean the ’80s in the size of jewelry today, its role as a statement, its color palette, and its deconstruction, in art jewelry as well as fashion jewelry. Throw in some technology, and who knows what happens in the near future? But to me the wild card is technology.
~Jonathan Wahl, artist and studio jeweler, Brooklyn, NY

Jewelry you won’t see on other folks – unique, bold. Jewelry that has meaning to the wearer. More and more couples getting married want rings that reflect who they are. Frankly, if I were a jeweler right now, I’d be thrilled to see gay marriage being legalized and would think, “What types of designs and symbols might be meaningful to this emerging industry?” Third, concern for the environment – wearing ethically sourced materials.
~Dana Singer, former executive director, Society of North American Goldsmiths, Eugene, OR

For centuries jewelry has conveyed the sentiments between individuals, denoted authority, and established relationships. Aesthetics and intrinsic value present another facet within the breadth of culture. Surely this will continue.

Where my jewelry is going next has been to develop designs that can directly communicate between people, a personal expression through the elements used. My intent is to join in the goals of the Ethical Metalsmiths. Hopefully, others will come to use fair-minded, fair-trade practices also.
~Jack da Silva, metalsmith and owner of da Silva Metal Design, Pinole, CA