When you acquire a one-of-a-kind piece of handcrafted jewelry, you have added a unique piece of art to your collection. Much like a one-of-a-kind oil painting, handcrafted jewelry is made to be displayed, conveying your personality through the pieces you choose.
In this article, we will look at the difference between mass-produced jewelry with handcrafted jewelry and explore the different types of jewelry-making techniques used by the artists.
Mass-produced jewelry uses machinery to create molds and designs that are identical to each other. This jewelry is less expensive than handcrafted pieces and in some cases, this is perfectly acceptable. If you want to be part of the latest fad in necklaces, for example, choosing a piece from the counter at your local department store is the place to go. You will be sacrificing quality and individuality, but the choice is yours to make.
Handcrafted jewelry is just that; it is made by hand, using techniques and tools unavailable to mass-produced pieces. Handcrafted jewelry is the tangible reflection of the artist’s vision for that one piece alone. The artist is free to improvise as they work, sometimes creating new techniques as they work. The price for handcrafted jewelry reflects all of this: the artist’s vision, their choice of superior materials, their experience at the work table, and the time it takes to craft each piece.
Let’s learn more about the most widely-used types of handcrafted jewelry.
Here is a look at the techniques used to create this kind of body art.
Just as it describes, these pieces use a lot of wire! The artist may use the wire to create a decorative frame with a stone or bead as its centerpiece. The ornaments are attached with coils of wrapped wire. Wire wrapping takes a delicate touch that requires practice to master. The designs are labor-intensive and take a great deal of time to complete.
Beads can be the focal point of a piece or they can be accent pieces that are part of a more intricate design. Bracelets and necklaces can incorporate whimsical beads on a single strand to illustrate a client’s interest. Beads come in many materials, such as silver, gold or rose-filled, copper, crystal, clay, wood, glass, or gemstones, which makes them a versatile choice.
Hand-stamped pieces are popular with clients and are relatively easy to create. Designs are created with simple tools and techniques and involve hammering a metal stamp impression onto a metal blank. The cost of creating these pieces can be controlled by the type of metal that is used, with aluminum and copper the least expensive and silver and gold at the other end of the cost spectrum.
Fabricated jewelry can include traditional gemstone rings as well as wearable, eccentric art pieces. Artists use metalsmithing techniques and skilled bench work using a metal saw to cut the shapes they want and soldering to join pieces.
The artist can add pops of color to metal pieces with enameling techniques, which is basically fusing glass powder to metals. A popular technique today is torch-firing which uses a soldering torch to heat up the enamel on the metal. Another method is using a kiln to heat the piece. Cloisonne and plique-a-jour enameling are two examples in this category.
The one-of-a-kind earrings, bracelets, and necklaces handmade by Suzanne Dupree of Addie & Clyde showcase a wide selection of these techniques as well as her passion for her craft. Check out her unique designs!