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Article on jewellery history and technology

Hi all, see this article:

History in The Making

where technology goes, design follows. isabel lloyd pinpoints some
of the breakthroughs that changed the course of jewellery…

from Intelligent Life magazine, November/December 2012

In many ways, jewellery is the most limited of arts. Precious
stones and metals are unreliable, recalcitrant base materials
with only a few, often nannyish ways of getting them to do the
thing you want. The objects you make mustn’t be too heavy,
unwieldy or scratchy, but they have to be sturdy: as in
engineering, all the bits have to stick together. So when the
engineers, as they occasionally do, come up with a new way of
building, cue much excitement. Designs change, fashions change,
even entire markets change.

Take the cultured pearl. In 1905, after decades of experiment and
a couple of fairly major setbackskiller algae, the death of his
wifea Japanese noodle-salesman called Kokichi Mikimoto finally
worked out how to prod oysters into making properly round pearls
on demand. An industry that had been virtually fished-out leapt
back into life, throwing out little balls of nacre like popcorn;
the classic string of pearls moved from the preserve of grande
dames of the Belle Epoque (when, weight for weight, they cost
more than diamonds) to the neck of your average aspirational
housewife. Pearl glut duly led to pearl boredom, which jewellers
tried to counter by promoting some often only dubiously
attractive colours. But it also gave them more raw material to
play with: if you want Big Pearls, you can have them…

Read More 

What a vapid article. Reminds me of the fluff that Connoisseur began
publishing once Tom Hoving took it over.

Thanks, Charles. Interesting and some photos of
beautiful work.

Judy in Kansas