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The Importance of Research

Hello to all of you, I’ve returned from a wonderful seminar given
by Christie Romero at Rinker Enterprises in Emmaus (Pa) on
American Jewelry. It’s always a pleasure, and I leave with more
than is possible to process!

One company name came up, which struck a sentimental cord with
me: J. E. Caldwells of Philadelphia. Along with several other
prestigious firms I’ve been lucky enough to have been employed
by or associated with over the years, I happened to have worked
for Caldwells in the early '80’s while working on my masters
degree ( I ran the repair department and pitched in w/sales).
It was and still is an interesting company with a long liniage
of history and makers that I was too dense at the time to
appreciate. Well, my curiousity being piqued, I called them to
inquire about their archives. Much to my dismay and horror, I
was told that they had HAD extensive wonderful archival
material, throughly documenting everything, but when the company
changed hands 4 years ago, this material was for the most part
purged… that’s THROWN AWAY! What has remained was shipped
somewhere, and is “unobtainable”, in other words, no one knows
where it is.

The lesson is, if you have an inquiry, don’t wait, pursue your
research throughly while material may still be available.

Gail Selig

Hi Gail, Isn’t it a shame how many of the finest stores in this
country have been bought up by the chain opporations and
destroyed, Caldwells, Bailey Banks and Biddle, Black Star and
Frost, Jessops and so many more. So often corporate profit and
maintaining quality standards don’t mix.

Gail, I am a infoholic. I have a library of Binders approximately
150 at the moment (and growing strong) with gathered
since the late 70’s on Jewelry, Art, Etc. Each binder is filled
with those archival page holders. This is sorted into categories
such as Jewelry Designers A-Z. At this point I have several
binders for each initial. Bracelets, Rings, Necklaces, Earrings,
Silver, Gold, Platinum, Costume Jewelry, Historical, Antique,
Catalogues( Christies, Sotheby), Contemporary, Stores,
Galleries,Business articles, Technical articles, Design
competitions, Art A-Z, Image archives, Insects, Sea creatures,
Fashion, Folk Art, Music, Garden, Furniture, Sculpture, Etc. you
name it I have a file on it.The scary thing is I can find almost
anything within two minutes and there is a lot of info to look
through. I subscribe to about 20 magazines and tear them apart
to file the articles into my own order. Of course, I also have to
have every jewelry book ever written on the planet. I’m
constantly scrounging for magazines and books to add to my
collection. It is addictive. people come to my studio and just
say WOW and get lost in the info. Anyone interested in cleaning
out magazines give me a call. Last year, I had the opportunity to
pick up complete sets of magazines from the 70’s to the 90’s from
a local late Socialite’s estate. I was in Heaven.

Susan–Have you ever considered publishing your 150 (and
growing) binders as something like The Jewelry Information
Book It would be an updatable standard reference text and you
could profit from your addiction to . . . . (just a
thought) >D<

When do you get jewelry made? “Getting lost in the info” is one
of my (infoholic) biggest problems. I, too, have saved
magazines/articles/images for 20 years. I both admire your
filing accomplishment - one which I aborted shortly after
beginning - and fear for your life ;-). (Speaking from my own
perspective) I might consider sharing my treasure trove if there
are mags you haven’t already harvested. That would release me
from the personal responsibility of info preservation. Contact
me offline. I would also be interested in learning your time
management techniques – even trade? (Unless you’re one of those
who sleep only 3 hours each night)

Warm regards,

Pam, “(Unless you’re one of those who sleep only 3 hours each
night)” You guessed right. Sometimes less. The paper filing helps
me relax so that I can focus on my other projects and designs.
Someone recently pointed out that “they absorb ideas through
images they’ve seen” and that this will influence their work
without them realizing it. On the contrary, the more images that
you aquaint yourself with the more educated that you become about
designs. You realize that you don’t want to make certain styles
as they have been done to death in umpteen slightly different
versions. I am always amazed when someone claims to be the
“original designer” of something that has been around for
centuries. It just shows their ignorance of history and
techniques. I say look back to the future.


While I certainly agree with you about the need to sleep only 3
hours a day, I must say that you miss the point of origionality
in design. While it’s true that the styling cues of the past are
certainly important, if we only look there, we’ll just be
repeating them and each other as you stated. I, like many others,
find inspiration and fresh ideas from the world around me.
Nature is likely the biggest one but the archiecture and
imagination of man-kind(as well as woman-kind.) is improtant as
well. It boils down to this: whatever works for you personally
as art is, as I’m sure you know, a very personal thing.

My thoughts, wanted or not;


Steve, When I said “look back to the future” I did not mean just
within the narrow category jewelry. Sorry I made that impression
on you. I meant by aquainting yourself with the past, it will
“Inspire New Designs”. Whether you are looking at architecture,
shells, insects, flowers, a crack in a wall, etc. History repeats
itself. By educating yourself with the past you avoid repeating
history as a carbon copy. By familiarizing yourself with
planetary cycles you allow yourself to have a new awareness of
everything. Spring/Summer/Fall/Winter is the best example. This
lets you know when the flowers will be blooming and when the
tides are in or out.