We asked our members to describe art jewelry and provide a photo of a strong example. Collectors, makers, educators, enthusiasts, curators, and gallerists from around the globe wrote in. As expected, their comments were diverse. Many people said art jewelry communicates an idea and tells stories. It’s expressive and conveys a message. A frequent response was that it stimulates an emotional reaction. This leads to astonishment, questions, and vivid conversations. Art jewelry can be provocative, and it takes courage to wear.
Art jewelry explores traditional techniques in new ways. Many respondents described it as a unique creation made from any material. It can’t be mass-produced and sold in traditional jewelry shops.
It isn’t about decoration … or it may be purely ornamental … or express profound conceptual insights. Some makers said they use it a platform to bring attention to issues. Others engage in making to explore themselves. It was described as a repository for memory.
Yet other responses: Art jewelry has no rules, and no right or wrong, and it shouldn’t be constrained.
What’s sure is that art jewelry is a small package that contains big ideas. So … how do you define it?