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Jewelry: Accessory, Art, and Treasure

Updated on June 23, 2020
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Yeva is a jewelry designer and a long-time jewelry enthusiast, who admires, wears and collects jewelry.

Jewelry has been worn across every culture since the beginning of recorded history. Sometimes you see a necklace and simply think “that’s nice, I’ll buy it.” Jewelry is decorative and pretty, but its significance often has far more depth than just as an accessory.

Necklaces, rings, earrings, and bracelets are all bought and worn for many reasons. They can enhance an outfit, be a statement of wealth, a means of self expression, a family inheritance, or represent a promise of marriage. The purposes of jewelry are essentially infinite, and the importance that your jewelry has to you is likely unique and personal.

Depending on the item and its meaning, jewelry can be an accessory, a work of art, and a precious treasure all at the same time.

Jewelry Is An Accessory

Jewelry is a popular way to embellish a look. Women use the colors and styles of jewelry to show off their personalities. Wearing signature pieces can be a great way to present your personal identity to others. No matter your style, there will be a way to enhance the look with tasteful jewelry.

Maybe you enjoy experimenting with fun new jewelry trends each season. Maybe you always stick to minimalist silver pieces. But no matter your individual personality and preferences, jewelry is a classic way to express yourself to those around you, and make you feel confident and sexy too.

Jewelry Is Art

What is art? This is one of culture’s most complex questions, but art is usually something man-made, of high value, and which brings us joy. Like a painting of a stunning sunset makes the viewer have a positive emotional reaction, carefully crafted designer jewelry is just the same.

Art is recognized for evoking emotional reactions. Jewelry is valuable for its power to make the wearer feel beautiful with it on. This parallel shows the intersection between art and quality jewelry.

Skilled jewelers expertly craft quality metals such as silver and gold, and embellish the piece with precious gemstones or other materials. Their creations are designed to complement women perfectly, highlighting the natural features and beauty of the female form. There is a strong undertone of artistry in this process.

Quality jewelry is not just an accessory, but a popular and highly accessible form of art. Jewelry historian Elyse Zorn Karlin noted that ever since the early 20th century “for most jewelers, art jewelry was a personal artistic quest.”

Jewelry design has been heavily influenced by the artistic movements of recent centuries. The art nouveau movement of the late 19th century played an important part in the evolution of jewelry. This movement was known for drawing inspiration from birds, insects, trees, flowers, and other organic elements. Such designs look flowing, natural and soft, with many curved lines. These elements can be found in many popular jewelry designs today.

The art deco movement also had a profound influence on jewelry, particularly in formal pieces. Art deco is defined by its sharp lines and geometric, angular shapes, often decorated with colorful features such as gemstones. With such accurate and symmetric lines, this movement is all about perfect form. Art deco inspired jewelry often looks very minimalist and classic.

Celebrities on the red carpet are known to frequently don flamboyant art-deco pieces in a nod to the vintage old Hollywood era of the 1920s and 30s. Off the red carpet, many people enjoy the harmony and perfection of art deco jewelry.

Jewelry Is Treasure

Many people have a piece of jewelry as their most meaningful possession, and almost every woman owns some that has emotional significance to her. It could be a ring that has been in her family for generations, or a bracelet given by her husband on their first anniversary. No matter the meaning, it is undeniable that few other objects so often have such a deep significance attached to them.

Rings are often particularly meaningful as they are exchanged at engagements and weddings. The first record of a ring being used to symbolize an engagement or marriage can be reliably traced back to ancient Roman times. The historic marital symbolism of jewelry is not just limited to rings. Traditional Eastern cultures use pieces such as the Thali necklace to symbolize marriage.

In recent years, other symbolic jewelry representing love and commitment have gained in popularity. These include eternity rings, promise rings, and trilogy rings: a set of three rings representing past, present and future.

The significance of rings and other jewelry is not limited to commitments of romantic love. Jewelry is a popular gift for loved ones on religious holidays, graduations, birthdays, and many other celebrations. Many families pass jewelry through the generations as an heirloom. Jewelry is often used as a physical object that represents cherished memories with the people we love.

Jewelry is not just an accessory - it is so much more than that. Often, it is an inspired and crafted work of art. When jewelry has sentimental value attached, it also becomes a cherished personal treasure.

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