Color in Jewelry April 9, 2015 10:47


Colorful enamel teardropsRemember when the world was a drab place… that sounds silly, doesn’t it? Who can remember such a time? But truly, those times are within living memory. It wasn’t until the 1950’s that the magic of chemistry brought the world of color within the reach and grasp of the masses. It happened simultaneously in electronics, with color TV, and in publishing with colored print and glossy magazines, in textiles, photography, paint and plastics. Within the last century our world suddenly burst forth in living color. The color revolution occurred everywhere one looked except for… the single most obvious arena – jewelry!

Even today, the world of jewelry remains just as its name implies: jewels or beads, embedded in metals like silver and gold. How can it be that the color revolution bypassed its most obvious beneficiary, the jewelry industry? Isn’t adornment all about evoking sentiments, making statements, setting moods, the very things that color does best?

The answers to this mystery are twofold: First, until very recently the materials from which to create a permanent and near-infinite palette of colors for jewelry making simply did not exist for the studio jewelry designer. Now that those materials are available in forms of vitreous enamels which provide consistent results, the craftsman must learn to share his bench with the artist. For it is the artist who knows how to fully exploit the benefits of the color revolution in adornment.

It is the artist who is able to separate the purpose of a piece of jewelry from its value. For the artist it is the idea, the inspiration, and the ambience that they evoke – things that cannot be weighed in carats – that fulfill the purpose of adornment.

The purpose of this blog will be to explore the uses of color in fulfillment of the mission of jewelry and adornment.