Sunday, February 1, 2009

Bronze Age Tribute

The Bronze Age was a wonderful choice for the YOJ theme, since the Bronze Age really marks the flowering of jewelry and ornamentation. Think of the wonderful jewelry of ancient Egypt, of the Minoans, the Trojans, Bronze Age all. This piece is a tribute to those artisans who really invented jewelry as we know it, a combination of metals, gems, and enamels, designed at least as much for beauty and ornamentation as for religious or ritual significance.

I used the spiral, a form found again and again in the ancient world, enhanced with bits of amber. This is, however, not a Bronze Age style piece. It is much freer and less formal, more of a modern sensibility. The structure is based on Linda "Sorcie" Smith's spiral pendant design, modified to have a hidden bail. The core wire is 20g soft sterling, wrapped with 28g sterling. It is about 1 1/2 inches or just under 4 cm in diameter. The beads are mixed amber nuggets.

I have been experimenting with hidden bails for some time now. I like the idea of the artwork part of the piece standing on its own. I was also inspired by the floating diamond jewelry that is so popular as an anniversary gift. Of course, most of the things I make are a little larger and bolder than that, but I still love the concept.

This week my daughter commented to Shalom (20 months old grand-daughter) that Nana always has a nice handle on her neck. She's right. I intentionally wear something pretty around my neck whenever I spend time with Shalom and her big brother Yosef. I like the idea that when I am gone they will remember that Nana made beautiful things and always had a touch of beauty and sparkle about her. I also like the idea that they will grow up knowing that it is okay to be fancy even when you are wearing jeans, if you like. Beauty is to wear and use, not to sit in a box somewhere, or so say I.

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