Book Review: 21st Century Jewelry

Lark Crafts 500 series books have been breathtaking compilations. This book presents the best of the 500 series in jewelry. The book is visually stunning from its embossed cover to page after page of provocative work. And while all of that artistry is enough to feed the creative spirit, the thoughtfulness of experts who reflect on the best of jewelry in the past 10 years is even more compelling.

One of the reasons I chose the photo above from the book is how deeply I am drawn and moved by jewelry that is sculpture. Jewelry that is art. Not in an I’m so clever I made jewelry out of recycled whatever way. But in breaking beyond the traditional forms of jewelry and exploring its relationship to the human form in new ways. Jewelry that has equally high artistic merit as fine works in other disciplines.

And the Internet. What role has it played in the world of 21st century jewelry? Has it helped jewelry designers by giving us all the ability to get our work out in front of people with or without galleries or representation? Has it lessened true originality as we become influenced by so much visual stimulation?

I remember the first time I saw Todd Reed’s uncut diamond jewelry. It was in an Ornament Magazine article many years ago. I had never before seen anything considered so precious used in jewelry in a manner that celebrated its raw form. And I began to rethink the idea of precious, of pretty as have many these past ten years.

I have a deep appreciation for books like the 500 series and this stunning compilation. I want to not just be part of the here and now but also to understand and learn about the larger picture when it comes to contemporary jewelry. To understand a broader perspective. It is worth the time it takes to study, to reflect, and to understand.

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