[Orchdi] Educate gallery

   They have available several silversmiths who do very good work
but purchase the stones and do not do the lapidary work.  When told
this, the chair-person in charge of this area stated "well,  we
don't feel that by just making the finding that this is art."  That
is why we don't want those people because they are not artists.  The
majority of the work must be the art.  It  is similar to a painting
being framed.  The frame is not the art.  "  unquote 

While some lapidary work is highly creative, most of it is simply
effectively displaying to maximum advantage the existing accidental
product of nature. Some is perhaps worthy of being called art. But a
lot of cut stones, no matter who cuts, them, can be considered just
the raw material of jewelry. The jeweler is making the whole object.
The object must be judged as a whole. If the stone is most of the
impact and purpose of the piece, and the piece itself is simply a
traditional design long used by others as well, then it is, as this
chairperson suggests, just a finding. And the piece is probably not
art. But most jewelers are not also lapidary workers. They buy their
silver and gold already refined from ore, and they buy the stones
already cut. these then are simply elements, like the already
prepared paint in the tubes purchesed by painters. What is then done
with the metal, stones, and other materials determines whether the
jewelry item displays the creativity and originality that would earn
for it’s maker the term artist, rather than the also respectable but
different term, craftsperson. Metalworking is a different set of
skills and equipment than lapidary work. Both types of work require
considerable investment in tools, equipment, and experience, to do
well. Among the most respected of fine art jewelers, it’s probably
safe to say that the number who also do their own lapidary work is in
the considerable minority. And of the most respected and creative
lapidary artists, very few also spend time designing and creating the
jewelry that will hold their work.

Peter Rowe