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Emotional content of jewelry and jewelry purchase


#1

to all - I thought i would put this out there – all of us that are
in the jewelry business come across this on a daily basis with
customers. The emotional and sometimes unrealistic expectations on
the part of the general public are my topic.

One of the more obvious situations that arises is the willingness on
the part of the consumer to spend large amounts of money from a
suited overly saturated with beauty products sales personel who
usually doesnt know squat about what makes a quality piece of
jewelry.

one further scenario is that most people who fall for the "70% off
jewelry sale " and then expect the junk they purchased to " last a
life time " some how people expect thier appliances cars, clothing,
computers and all else in thier lives to fail or break down but NOT
thier jewelry. All other forms of “craft” (despite ART prices that
people are willing to pay) clay, fabrics, wood other metals other
than jewelry are expected to look hand made on a level that is not
reserved for most “hand made” jewelry, the level of perfection
expected from hand made jewelry seems to be one of hyper-perfection
(not that i am jealous).

I suppose I could feel this sentiment on the part of the general
public at large as “complimentary” to jewelers in particular, in the
sense that jewelers would be the" rock of stability “in our social
craft order in the craftworld, except that, alot of us want to be
seen as “artists” but,as my teacher at univ. of georgia gary
noffkkee put it once in order to be considered an true artist one
must be” out of touch with reality the way painters and sculptors
are" so before i bore everyone into sensless doldrum any further
comments will be appreciated for both wit and entertainment value.

best regards goo


#2

It is funny you should mention that the craftsman ship of jewelry is
often held beyond the scope of many crafts. A while back, I was
asked to sit on a jury for an art fair. I was the only one with a
back ground in jewelry and metalsmithing in the group. It was
surprising to me how many people, who have an art background, don’t
know how to look at jewelry. A lot of the comments actually were to
the contrary, the popular thing to look for were signs of hand
crafted vs purchased parts. They were actually looking for hints of
imperfect surfaces so they could guarantee that the object was a hand
made object. I know that this will probably make many people who work
hard for that perfect finish a bit upset, but I thought it would make
an interesting addition to your email.

Christine
www.christinebossler.com


#3

Goo -

I have observed this before without really analyzing it. You are
right about the public’s response to jewelry. It reminds me of the
passion for large, dangerous dogs; the public’s perception of them
being the extension of certain male anatomy. Maybe this is the
gender-neutral expression of sexual fitnesse (Sorry, I read too much
"Natural History".)

And there is another attitude toward precious metal/stone
decoration: the family lineage. I’ve seen people come in with
grandmother’s costume jewelry, and be just as proud of it as if it
were diamonds and platinum. (Many times the stuff is more artistic
and pleasing than some diamonds & platinum!) They want the same level
of care for the costume jewelry as they want for their own wedding
set. (I haven’t seen men doing this, except for those with deceased
wives’ wedding rings.)

In our culture, jewelry symbolizes some kind of cultural fitness
(even the “70% off jewelry sale” stuff), that makes the owner worthy
of admiration and emoree What I see nowadays is folks who can’t make
their car or mortgage payment still come in to have their jewelry
repaired. Cars are a dime a dozen, but jewelry is personal.

Some of it could just boil down to marketing genius…

Kelley


#4
I was asked to sit on a jury for an art fair. They were actually
looking for hints of imperfect surfaces so they could guarantee
that the object was a hand made object. I know that this will
probably make many people who work hard for that perfect finish a
bit upset, but I thought it would make an interesting addition to
your email. 

I am shocked that the values and criteria of juries are not an exact
match to expert standards or the wants and preferences of the
audience! Does this mean that juries are as flawed as any other
attempt at central planning of the market?


#5
It is funny you should mention that the craftsman ship of jewelry
is often held beyond the scope of many crafts. A while back, I was
asked to sit on a jury for an art fair." & " Alot of the comments
actually were to the contrary, the popular thing to look for were
signs of hand crafted vs purchased parts. 

i am happy to learn from your experience sitting on an art fair jury
that the publics view towards “hand made jewelry” in your area is
changing - goo


#6
The emotional and sometimes unrealistic expectations 

This used to bother me, too. I would complain, “Why am I being held
to a higher standard than everyone else?”

Well, we have ourselves to blame(or cheer). Where do you ever see an
ad proclaim, “Joe’s Jewelers, We are mediocrity?” You don’t. We
compete amongst ourselves at least partially on quality.

Eventually I stopped feeling oppressed by customer expectations. It
was probably around the time I started anticipating quality
complaints. As in, “I’m going to improve this tiny detail here that
nobody will notice but me”. Because they DO notice. They can’t always
articulate it, but they notice. I know of a shop foreman who would
say when inspecting a less than perfect job, “See if the customer
complains about it, before we fix it.” Really.

We hold ourselves out as professionals. Part of that means you have
everything covered. Beforehand.

So good, the public has high expectations for us. Meet them and
you’ll make money. I like to make money.

alot of us want to be seen as "artists" 

Well, without ‘going there’… jewelry is different from paintings
etc. It generally has utility beyond what other forms have. Its got
to fit the finger or hang around the neck and generally be a
pleasure to wear. So if you’re an artist you also have to be a
mechanic if you’d like no complaints on your jewelry.


#7

Goo

All other forms of "craft" (despite ART prices that people are
willing to pay) clay, fabrics, wood other metals other than jewelry
are expected to look hand made on a level that is not reserved for
most "hand made" jewelry, the level of perfection expected from
hand made jewelry seems to be one of hyper-perfection (not that i
am jealous). 

I’m interested in your statement above. And I don’t agree with it.
Any “art” or “craft” should be well made. It can have a fully
polished contemporary look, or a primative look, but it should be
well made and, with care, it should last a lifetime. I expect that
jewelry purchases. I expect cleanly-set stones, pin backs that are
straight and that are positioned so as to allow the fibula to appear
correct, not flip over on the blouse or coat. I expect a chain that
is the correct weight for what it will be supporting. If the piece
is a “primative” look, it still needs to have the qualities of good
manufacture. There are many jewelers that I won’t buy from because,
even though their work looks great, their bezels are sloppy and
their finishing work just isn’t done well. I don’t think I’m looking
for hyper-perfection, I’m just looking for appropriately fashioned.

Sandra Graves, Isis Rising


#8

I certainly agree with Sandra Graves. Regardless of whether the
piece has a polished contemporary look, or a primitive look,–it
should be well made, and with care." Yes indeed. Sandra has summed it
up neatly. A piece that is hand crafted, should be crafted with care,
precision, and art. There is really no excuse for sloppy work.

Alma Rands


#9
All other forms of "craft" (despite ART prices that people are
willing to pay) clay, fabrics, wood other metals other than
jewelry are expected to look hand made on a level that is not
reserved for most "hand made" jewelry, the level of perfection
expected from hand made jewelry seems to be one of hyper-perfection
(not that i am jealous). I don't think I'm looking for
hyper-perfection, I'm just looking for appropriately fashioned. 

As this discussion is about juries, it is best to remember that each
jury is a different group of people and even the same people have
shifting values as time passes. When I did juried shows for a
living, it amazed me that many of the artists didn’t “get it” that
jury results were never going to be consistent or “fair” in any way
beyond being just what they are; the arbitrary choices of certain
people at a certain time. There always seemed to be a group of true
believers who thought that “the jury” had some kind of divine
authority and genuine truth and justice should be the result. The
concept that a juried show is a good show is probably true, because
juried shows are competitive. But the nature of how that competition
is settled is often different than it would be if the actual audience
for the show chose according to their values. We began with the
observation that a particular jury wanted work that was obviously
"handmade" while the audience wants a level of technical perfection,
that even when it is done by hand, does not tell or show the obvious
marks of the process. Next time the jury will be slightly different,
or maybe radically different. Personally, I think that the jury
system frequently excludes work that the show would benefit from
including. I am in favor of the show policies that allow the promoter
to override the jury for a certain percentage of the exhibitors,
because the “jury” does not pay any price for the choices they make,
but the promoter needs to deliver the best show they can for their
audience and exhibitors. Exhibitors are always blaming the jury for
results they don’t like, as if only if the “right” people were on the
jury things wouldn’t be this way. I think the problem is the blind
faith in the system. There is no perfect way. The alternatives have
problems as well.