I recently read an intriguing definition of jewelry that called it “wearable art.” I am sure I have heard or read it many times before, but this time it seemed so appropriate after thinking about it for a while. While the word “Jewelry” may infer the use of jewels or gems, I prefer the broader interpretation of “wearable art”.
Jewelry really is an art form displayed on a person’s body. The wearer is making a statement that “I like this” and I want to share my opinion. There is certainly the opportunity of what and how it is worn will create some interaction and hopefully admiration. As with all forms of art, jewelry makes a visual and sometimes tactile statement about the owner.
Yes, jewelry can be used to flaunt wealth and status, and that too is a public statement. But jewelry is always worn for the personal reasons of the person; Sometimes modest and sometimes boldly. Hang it around your neck or poke it through your lip (or elsewhere) if that’s what you want to do.
What I am discussing is simply the fact that it is art on public display in a very personal way. It has some sort of expressional meaning to the wearer. Jewelry design is often symbolic and is worn as an indication of membership or faith. Design can be recognizable or abstract. There are no rules. Jewelry can be changed to alter the message.
This type of body art is wearable and does not impose the permanence of indelible inking. It allows for a change of mind and expression. It is portable and also transferable. It can easily be passed on through generations of human existence. Dread the thought, it can even be recycled.
For me as a creator, the art is in the design and making. Reasons for design are limitless. My enjoyment is in the freedom and expression, creating from raw materials with the durability to last for a very long time.
I look with wonder at discovered treasure. It is often some form of jewelry. It far outlives the original owner, but quietly says a lot about the person who made it and also the person who owned it. That is close to immortality even without a human name. The piece is what remains tangible and speaks for itself.
For what more grand a result can a local artist strive? There’s no harm in imagining…