Everyone also knows that people like Faberege and Tiffany and all
the others most likely had others do the work for them, so who are
these people that work in back of and for the big names and do the
pieces that survive over chasm of time it seems tragic to me that
they should drift off into obscurity and none of us know who the
real Greats who actually sit at the bench are.
Point well taken. Most people know about Faberge, but very few know
about Michael Perchin, the man behind most famous Faberge works. It
may appear unfair, but creation of fine jewellery is a collaborative
effort. Goldsmith is an important component, but only a component. It
is not an easy task to run a shop specializing in fine jewellery.
Most of all, it requires management, who is willing to sacrifice
profitability to preserve reputation. Not every piece of fine
jewellery is a money-maker. Sometimes, we should be content with
breaking even, or taking a loss.
Most of the large firms have been in self-destruct mode for a number
of years. People who could do things retired. New ones were not
properly trained. Managers were mostly concerned with cutting down
expenses, and results are obvious.
We celebrate names like Faberge and Tiffany (what it used to be)
because people at the top created the environment, where talented
goldsmiths could thrive. The exhibitions like Set in Style are
important, because we could see the fruits of collaboration between
Designers, Goldsmiths, and Managers of the Past.
There is a fable about a farmer who decided to save money by
teaching his horse to eat less. So every day, he decreased the amount
of hay by one straw. It was working for while, but one morning the
farmer walked into his barn and found his horse dead on the floor.
That is exactly the predicament that most of the large jewellery
houses find themselves todays.
if there is to be a Renaissance, it will have to come from bottom
up. The big names of the Past have nothing left, but rapidly spoiling
horse meat and a lot of useless hay.