Posted by Lora Hart
I was reading my FaceBook news feed the other day and was struck by a comment from a maker I don't know on the wall of one of my friends. The writer was bemoaning the high cost of silver, but saying that she didn't want to start using base metal clays because she thought they presented more as 'costume' jewelry than pieces made with sterling or fine silver. That statement kind of stopped me in my tracks and got me thinking about how our own perception of the materials we use may subconsciously influence our customers' impressions of and appreciation for our work.
|Cartier articulated tiger brooch|
|Felieke van der Leest|
Necklace: Brian the Lion
Fine Jewelry - Jewelry made of precious metal such as gold or silver and set with precious or semi-precious stones.
Bridge Jewelry - Bridge jewelry is jewelry that "bridges the gap" between fine (precious) jewelry and costume jewelry. An example of bridge jewelry is sterling silver pieces. Wait - I thought you just said that silver was 'fine' jewelry!
Costume Jewelry - Jewelry made with inexpensive materials or imitation gems.
As you can see, metal clay falls into all of these categories. There is yellow gold, rose gold, and green gold metal clay; sterling and fine silver metal clay; many of us use precious and semi precious stones either fired in place or set traditionally. We have also embraced the 'new' base metal clays and lab grown gems. The two examples I used to illustrate this post represent the far ends of the 'costume jewelry' market. Most of what we make as metal clay artisans will fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. A spectrum that is yet to be defined, because as far as jewelry is concerned - what's in a name? The only thing to consider is whether it brings you joy. Joy in the making, joy in the collecting, joy in the wearing.