JoR Art: Materials Used in Jewelry Making

The creative process of JoR Art involves a lot of experimenting with different materials: wood, anodized aluminium, precious and semiprecious stones… But always and again one will find precious metals: silver and occasionally gold.

Pendant light and ShadowPendant Light and Shadow (gold, silver, opal)

The inspiration for a certain piece of jewelry can come at any moment, and usually there is a strong idea of what materials to use. An interesting choice that kind of imposed itself was anodized aluminium. It's a material used primarily as a protective material in industrial plants.

 

It comes in different colours – for easier disctinction between instalations - and it was precisely the colour that drew the author to this material. However, the aluminium turned out to be dirty during the working process, hard to coin, and it was only posing a risk of contaminating the precious metals used in the process, so this is a material the author would rarely choose to use these days.

 

In JoR Art assembly, one can find many combinations with precious or semiprecious stones, once again with a clear vision which stone is suitable for a certian piece of jewelry. The author chooses the stones exclusively by its beauty. When she sees a good stone, she can usually already envision that stone in a piece of jewelry, or it has a good vibe, or simply excites her. The stones can really be of any background: bought in fairs, shops that specialize in stones, even old jewelry (although quite rarely)!

Rose quartz necklace A rose quartz necklace

 

Mostly she would not choose the stones by their meaning. Everything in her work is based upon beauty, and this is not an exception. There is always a certain idea, then a sketch, and then for example it comes naturally that a dark red stone, cuted in a particular way would fit in perfectly. Therefore – a granite stone is needed.

 

It is not to say that the meaning of stones should not be taken into consideration. There are many interesting anecdotes of miraculous powers of stones. The Old Greeks, for example, used to believe that amethist protected from drunkenness!

 

 

 

The Eternal Doubt Silver and/or Gold

Both silver and gold are precious metals. They are called precious because they are great to coin and work with, and because they will not oxidize (gold) or if they do oxidize in air, it can easily be removed (silver). Both of these metals are very gratifying for jewelry-making. Gold is the king of metals, it does last forever (until someone melts it), but its price is very inaccesible, and it requires special conditions in the workshop.

 

The tools must not get mixed. If gold gets mixed up with silver by accident, its fineness decreases. Instead of gold 585 one would get 500 or lower. It will become unpure. When using tools, tiny particles of materials remain on it. If the tools aren't cleaned thoroughly or replaced altogether, when using a different material – that material will get contaminated.

JoR Art dream team - tools used in the studio

 

 

Silver and Gold in the Social Context

It is more or less known when metals started to get used, but it is still a mystery why and how the production of jewelry started. Probably somewhere at the meeting point of magic and ritual, in the reshaping of the shapeless into something recongizible, in the heavenly flash for the worldly needs. In ancient history, the one handling the metals was considered a shaman, a being that united this world and the heavens.

Working with metals in the studioWorking with metals in the studio

 

With time, two most common precious metals emerged – silver and gold – both of which are very distinct. Their technical aspects differ, our own preferences when choosing our jewelry, but also the socially established perception of the two metals.

 

Silver is softer, easier to shape, but easier to lose its shape, too. As if it had more weaknesses than gold itself, which is why traditionally silver was ascribed the quality of the “feminine”, whereas gold was considered more of a “male” element. Unfortunately, gold bears the weight of a “curse”, because over the centuries it caused people to do despicable crimes, and blurred their reason with its luminosity (e.g. the myth of King Midas). It bears the weight of tradition, inequality and arrogance, imposed by man, regardless of the high quality of this celebrated metal.

 

The goldsmiths have always enjoyed a privileged position in the society because they worked for the elite. Silver has always been more accessible among the more “equal” ones.

 

  • Gold has the colour of the Sun and the light; it reminds us of the fire and life itself. It is warm and royal. Using gold as decoration elevates the whole being and puts it on a pedestal of personal importance.
  • Silver connects more to the Earth elements. Its colour is associated with objects used in the everyday life and is less alive than gold. Gold represents light, and silver a reflection or shadow.
  • White gold with its reflection evokes a sword blade – or steel itself – so it seems that its current popularity is based on this very powerful and cold reflection. It seems it fits perfectly into modern times, the age of omnipresent technology and computers.
     

Necklace heritageThe necklace Heritage - silver, hematite, LOS patina

 

JoR Art has been on the journey of exploring precious metals since 1989, in a synergy of shapes, materials and applied goldmith/silversmith techniques and inspiration.

Lightbox by Lokesh Dhakar