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Jewelery as Art: A Study of History & Culture

Skepsikyma
Posts: 8,286
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2/20/2015 1:03:23 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Jewelery is often maligned in the modern day and age, as something frivolous, petty, and downright harmful. The motif is a prevalent one: the Rings of Power, Silmarils and Arkenstone in Lord of the Rings, the treasure horde in Aladdin, the chest of gold in Pirates of the Carribean. In this way, jewelery has become a symbol of greed, corruption, and decadence. But there is another way to look at it: as artwork, created by master craftsmen, in styles which reflect current trends and play off of one another. Jewelry can be dazzling in both its mechanical execution and in the polishing and cutting of gems in order to capture and refract light. It can reflect a historical and cultural worldview, or have a story all its own. Some examples: One diamond (The Regent Diamond) was smuggled out of an Indian mine by a slave who sewed it into his leg, and ended up being set in both Napoleon's sword and Marie Antoinette's hat. The Koh-i-Noor, once set as an eye in a Hindu idol, was captured in a Turkic raid on the temple, and remained hidden away until the establishment of the Mughal Empire, when Shah Jahan (most famous in the West for building the Taj Mahal) set it in his storied Peacock Throne, a seat studded with gems of every imaginable color, cut, and size. When the Mughal empire was conquered by Persia, and the throne was carried away, the Shah reportedly exclaimed 'Koh i noor!' upon seeing the diamond. This translates to 'Mountain of Light', and is the source of its name. The stone later came into the possession of the ruler of Afghanistan, and his deposed descendent, who fled to the Sikh state in India. Here the stone remained until the British seized control of Lahore and confiscated the stone against the maharaja's will, setting it in the crown of the Queen of England. The diamond can still be found there today. While stories imbue famous gems with a sense of awe-inspiring history, jewelry can also stand as an independent work of art, like the Cartier panther pieces, the Tiffany crabs, or many of the pieces custom made by independent designers.

Some examples:

Sphene Butterfly:
https://siamgempalace.files.wordpress.com...

Benitoite Butterfly:
http://3.bp.blogspot.com...

Art Deco Piece: http://i.ebayimg.com...

Art Nouveau Piece:
http://cdn-s3-3.wanelo.com...

Edwardian Piece:
http://langantiques.com...

Cartier Panther Pieces:
https://ritournelleblog.files.wordpress.com...
http://www.sothebys.com...

Tiffany Crab Piece:
http://www.sothebys.com...

Iranian Crown Jewels:
http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com...
http://www.polyvore.com...

Imperial Indian Pieces:
http://www.sothebys.com...

What are your feelings about jewelry? Is it frivolous? Is it harmful overall due to mining pressures? Is it legitimate as an artform?
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
FaustianJustice
Posts: 6,238
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2/20/2015 7:09:55 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/20/2015 1:03:23 AM, Skepsikyma wrote:
Jewelery is often maligned in the modern day and age, as something frivolous, petty, and downright harmful. The motif is a prevalent one: the Rings of Power, Silmarils and Arkenstone in Lord of the Rings, the treasure horde in Aladdin, the chest of gold in Pirates of the Carribean. In this way, jewelery has become a symbol of greed, corruption, and decadence. But there is another way to look at it: as artwork, created by master craftsmen, in styles which reflect current trends and play off of one another. Jewelry can be dazzling in both its mechanical execution and in the polishing and cutting of gems in order to capture and refract light. It can reflect a historical and cultural worldview, or have a story all its own. Some examples: One diamond (The Regent Diamond) was smuggled out of an Indian mine by a slave who sewed it into his leg, and ended up being set in both Napoleon's sword and Marie Antoinette's hat. The Koh-i-Noor, once set as an eye in a Hindu idol, was captured in a Turkic raid on the temple, and remained hidden away until the establishment of the Mughal Empire, when Shah Jahan (most famous in the West for building the Taj Mahal) set it in his storied Peacock Throne, a seat studded with gems of every imaginable color, cut, and size. When the Mughal empire was conquered by Persia, and the throne was carried away, the Shah reportedly exclaimed 'Koh i noor!' upon seeing the diamond. This translates to 'Mountain of Light', and is the source of its name. The stone later came into the possession of the ruler of Afghanistan, and his deposed descendent, who fled to the Sikh state in India. Here the stone remained until the British seized control of Lahore and confiscated the stone against the maharaja's will, setting it in the crown of the Queen of England. The diamond can still be found there today. While stories imbue famous gems with a sense of awe-inspiring history, jewelry can also stand as an independent work of art, like the Cartier panther pieces, the Tiffany crabs, or many of the pieces custom made by independent designers.

Some examples:

Sphene Butterfly:
https://siamgempalace.files.wordpress.com...

Benitoite Butterfly:
http://3.bp.blogspot.com...

Art Deco Piece: http://i.ebayimg.com...

Art Nouveau Piece:
http://cdn-s3-3.wanelo.com...

Edwardian Piece:
http://langantiques.com...

Cartier Panther Pieces:
https://ritournelleblog.files.wordpress.com...
http://www.sothebys.com...

Tiffany Crab Piece:
http://www.sothebys.com...

Iranian Crown Jewels:
http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com...
http://www.polyvore.com...

Imperial Indian Pieces:
http://www.sothebys.com...

What are your feelings about jewelry? Is it frivolous? Is it harmful overall due to mining pressures? Is it legitimate as an artform?

As an art, its incredible, as its a dedication to time and precision. I think its easy to understand, though, what hoards of the stuff owned by one person means, as its very rarely on 'display' as art, and even when worn out, you would be hard pressed to find anyone that has a collection of jewelry to wear the same thing on more than one occasion as a matter of fashion.

Good jewelry is supposed to be rare, that is what makes it valuable. When further crafted by a master, it now becomes a small monument to intrinsic value. Harm, from jewelry, I think comes from excessive display, as it now becomes more about what the wearer could afford, rather than the piece itself. Wealth and fashion or wealth and power begin to replace the intent of the gem and metal, which was to invoke emotional reaction rather than command it.
Here we have an advocate for Islamic arranged marriages demonstrating that children can consent to sex.
http://www.debate.org...