by John Brana January 02, 2019
Jewelry is an essential accessory for every fashionista, and its origins can be traced back to ancient civilizations. In the age of mass production, distinguishing between handmade and manufactured jewelry is more critical than ever. This comprehensive guide will help you discern the differences and understand the value of true craftsmanship. Follow along, and let's dive into the fascinating world of jewelry!
Handmade jewelry has been around since time immemorial, reflecting the creativity and artistry of various cultures. From the intricate beadwork of ancient Egypt to the stunning filigree of the Victorian era, handmade jewelry showcases the skill and dedication of the artisans.
With the advent of industrialization, jewelry production underwent a significant transformation. Modern machinery allowed for the mass production of consistent and uniform designs, making jewelry more affordable and accessible. However, this shift also diminished the exclusivity and charm of handmade pieces.
Components, Findings, and Textures: Observe the intricacies and details of the jewelry. Handmade pieces typically display slight variations in design, while manufactured items boast identical construction. Handmade jewelry is typically not identical to other pieces of the same design or collection. It is very rare to find an identical matching set of earrings.
If the piece has been hammered or a texture is present, usually there are slight variations that the eye can pick up. This isn't so with manufactured jewelry. It is often easiest to examine jewelry that has considerable decoration -- many aspects. Start by looking at how the piece is constructed. Look at the components, findings, prongs, earwires.
Consistency and Uniformity in Design: Assess the uniformity of multiple pieces in a set or collection. Handmade jewelry usually lacks perfect symmetry, whereas manufactured pieces feature flawless replication. Machine made jewelry allows today's manufacturer the capability to routinely produce uniform quality jewelry designs while keeping jewelry affordable than most hand-casting and fabricating processes would allow.
Casting machines now quickly process into uniform molds such components as metals, plastics, and resins, allowing even elaborate jewelry designs to be created with speed and uniformity for many jewelry manufacturers. Mechanized punch presses and forges are also employed by many jewelry manufacturers to simulate a handmade effect. Hand-hammered texturing is one of the more "handmade" looks generated by this method, making the production consistent and highly profitable to the manufacturer.
Artisan Signatures and Reputation: Examine the jewelry for an artisan's signature, which can indicate the quality and authenticity of the piece.
Indication of Quality and Craftsmanship: Authentic handmade jewelry should be made to last, with the creator's dedication and skill evident in its construction. Some handmade, traditional-style jewelry appears less perfect than machine-made jewelry, although high-quality handmade jewelry should nonetheless be made to last, and this should be apparent in the details. Perhaps surprisingly, machine-made jewelry often breaks more easily than well-made handmade jewelry. Much of the mass-produced jewelry sold today as "handmade" may indeed be handmade, for example in department stores, but that does not necessarily mean it is of the highest quality.
More often than not, most mass-production jewelry facilities operate on a quota system that incentivizes speed, resulting in short-cuts and lower quality jewelry. Look for handmade jewelry that is not mass-produced -- not available in large quantities. If you are looking for high-quality handmade jewelry in San Francisco, look for the artisan's name attached to the piece. This represents both reputation and quality. The careful observer will always be able to appreciate the uniqueness and quality of a handmade piece of jewelry. With handmade artisan jewelry, quality and uniqueness are typically are apparent to even the most casual observer.
Individuality and Personal Style: Handmade jewelry reflects the artist's unique vision, while mass-produced items cater to a broader audience. Handmade jewelry offers the pleasure of unique, often rare designs, that are not-identical, typically made by a true artist, with great love and passion. Crafting well made and designed jewelry is an art form. This love of one's work and the art of design comes across in the finished piece. Mass-produced jewelry is just "soulless." One's personalized style, taste, individuality, and identity can be conveyed by and is better reflected by wearing jewelry that is handmade.
Emotional Connection with Handmade Jewelry: Handcrafted pieces often carry the artist's passion and love, fostering a personal connection between the wearer and the creator. If you purchase mass-produced, your "look" can look mass-produced! Mass-produced jewelry can certainly be less expensive to purchase, as it is definitely less expensive to make, but it's not necessarily less expensive to purchase. Regardless, mass-produced jewelry usually brings with it no special meaning or history -- no story, no life. When you wear beautiful handmade jewelry, it is a pleasure to be able to explain to admirers the actual story or history behind what you are wearing, or information about the artist, which is often possible with handmade jewelry bought from individual artisans or their representative galleries. Simply put, handmade jewelry is a joy to wear!
Examine the Components: Look closely at the elements of the jewelry, such as the findings, prongs, and earwires. Handmade pieces often display subtle variations in construction.
Check for the Designer's Hallmark: A signature or artisan's mark is a strong indicator of handmade jewelry, reflecting the creator's reputation and dedication to quality.
Assess the Uniqueness of the Piece: Handmade jewelry is typically distinct and original, with variations in design and detail, while manufactured pieces showcase uniformity and consistency.
Evaluate the Texture and Finishing: Handmade jewelry often features hand-hammered textures or hand-applied patinas, which can differ from the machine-made finishes found in mass-produced items.
In conclusion, understanding the differences between handmade and manufactured jewelry enables you to make informed decisions and appreciate the value of true craftsmanship. By supporting handmade artisans and making conscious choices, you can elevate your personal style and make a positive impact on the world of fashion.
Click Here to Read "Nu-Gold Jewelry - An Economical Alternative to Karat Gold Jewelry"
John S Brana, based in San Francisco, is the founder of John S Brana Handmade Jewelry with over two decades of expertise in crafting distinctive handcrafted pieces. Transitioning from a finance and banking career in 2004, John manages everything from design to marketing. His modern, urban-inspired creations have graced fashion editorials, resonating with stylish, adventurous enthusiasts who value exquisite craftsmanship and luxury. Every piece narrates a distinct tale, mirroring the wearer's individuality.
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