Just out of curiosity, since I was wondering how extensive was the
popularity of this new career of “jewelry designer” I googled a few
things. Here’s what I got:
automotive designer - 6,300 hits
apparel designer - 31.600 hits
jewelry designer - 326,000 hits
I’d guess that the ratio of jewelry designers on e-bay to actresses
pouring coffee in Hollywood is about 100 to 1. Don’t mean to stir
up trouble (well, maybe just a little trouble . . ). Do people
really think this is going to be that easy? So far, I’ve tried to
work for a half dozen self styled “designers” and their knowledge of
what could and couldn’t be done or should and shouldn’t be done made
my jaw drop. Obvious square-peg-in-the-round-hole kinds of
problems. And as for the “originality” of these designs, well, I
could tell them who’s pockets they were picking but I doubt they
knew themselves. I want to plunk down the Stuller mountings book in
front of them and show them how generic their ideas really are.
But I’ve also got a couple folks I work for who have paid their dues
and know how to defer to my experience, and they don’t have the
stars in their eyes that make them trip over their own egos.
Interestingly, their designs are very original too. Go figure.
They let me make it work for them, and it’s all theirs when it’s
done and their customers love it. But after I get past my disgust
at the pretentiousness of all these other folks, I start to feel
sorry for them and I’m saddened to think of what they can expect.
I’ve both enjoyed and hated making jewelry for over 30 years, and
I’ve been the anonymous facilitator of work that’s gone on the
bodies of celebrities and in the cases of huge department store
chains. I’ve done $30 price pointed items up to six-figure
one-offs. If I had ever approached my work with the idea that I was
going to find a shortcut to riches and fame, I’d have been crushed
by the realities of what this discipline demands of a craftsperson
and never gone on to learn what I did. Why haven’t I taken my shot
at fame and fortune? Same reason I don’t buy lottery tickets. Do I
think I’m good enough? It has nothing whatsoever to do with good.
Anybody out there seeing this or am I just having a bad day? I once
worked for a retailer who convinced me to call myself a “designer
goldsmith”. I’m going back to the title “metalsmith”.
David L. Huffman