“Beauty is what nature has lavished upon us as a supreme gift.” – Louis Comfort Tiffany
Harry Winston. Bulgari. Tiffany & Co. When you see these names on the outside of the box, you know the jewelry inside will be stunning. What makes the jewelry from these brands so special is the quality design that goes into making these luxury goods.
Wearing jewelry allows a person to express himself and showcase wealth, rank, politics and religion, or devotion to or affection for a loved one. These factors shape our jewelry literally and figuratively.
The desire to capture beauty and adorn oneself with it has been around as long as mankind itself. Ancient man designed jewelry from anything and everything—stones, plants, shells, animal bones, and semi-precious materials like obsidian. Development of technology opened the way for artists to work with metals and precious gems, producing jewelry that both influenced and expressed culture. These artists laid the groundwork for many jewelry styles and designs of our modern times and cultures.
The easiest way to begin developing a design is to explore a variety of existing jewelry designs. Whether a designer is working on a ring, necklace, bracelet, or some other piece, choices of precious metals, gemstones, coloration and patterns will come first. These decisions are influenced by considerations for the personal taste of the future wearer and the purpose of the jewelry. Most popular design patterns and motifs come from nature, basic geometry, or a combination of the two.
After choosing any desired gems and deciding on the design of the piece, the first step to actually creating the jewelry is to make a model. Although some models are handmade from gold or platinum using manually controlled tools, the most common way to make a model is to craft it from jewelers wax. The wax is sculpted and then set in plaster. The wax model is burned away at high temperatures, leaving a plaster mold. After filling the mold with molten gold, platinum, or other precious metal, the plaster is broken away to reveal a rough model of the jewelry design.
The jewelry casting is filed, finished, and polished, and then it moves on to an artisan who shapes and forms it. This skilled jeweler will use files, gravers, and other tools to add detail and design intricacies. Torches and lasers come into play when it is time to add prongs and ornamental detail.
Although customized jewelry may be highly individualized, there is still a market for secondhand pieces. Tiffany designs, for example, retain high resale value because of the iconic brand’s reputation. The general public respects known brands and trusts in their quality. This brand consciousness is why jewelry by well-known designers demands a higher price, and having the original box and documentation in good condition will make the piece more attractive to potential buyers. Companies that buy and recycle jewelry, such as WP Diamonds, are a good way to get top dollar for designer jewelry.
A well-designed piece of jewelry is a beautiful way to express personality. It can help define a culture, a time period, or an individual. Far from a simple piece of ornamentation, quality jewelry is part of what makes us human.