There is beauty in an accent. Whether you’re a lover of language, music or design, the sentiment still rings true. An accent can change the pronunciation of a word or with music, alter the nuance of a melody. In design, an accent color or pattern can shift the entire feeling of a room. You see, there is something magical found in that which is distinctive.
For those of us who appreciate one-of-a-kind craftsmanship, artisan jewelry has increasingly become a popular channel for us to accent our personality and personal style. As I like to say, we celebrate our individuality when we wear accent pieces that reflect our rebel soul.
There are a number of reasons to purchase artisan jewelry. In today’s blog post, I am only going to focus on the top eight. These reasons are not only near and dear to me, but you’ll find they resonate with many artisan jewelry wearers as well.
But I’m not stopping there. I’m also offering you some basic styling tips to help get you into the swing of things. In reason eight, you will find just how versatile artisan jewelry can be if you are looking to freshen up your styling options.
So here they are:
The Top 8 Reasons to Purchase Artisan Jewelry
1. Artisan jewelry is for every generation
Even though I’ve never been too much for trends, there is one I can get behind: it’s cool to be original again!
In an article titled, “Are boomers the real fashionistas?” writer Lois Joy Johnson reminds AARP readers that boomers are the original trendsetters.
“Millennials and Gen Xers, where do you think the idea came from to wear suede minis, denim midis, drop-shoulder tops, embellished shoulder bags and frayed flared jeans? Nothing makes our hearts beat faster than shopping for one-of-a-kind artisan jewelry…”
And just as Millennials have taken a liking to craft beer over the last few years, so has their attention been turning to artisan jewelry. As blog expert Lisa Goller from RangeMe.com explains, “Millennials appreciate artisan goods because they encourage people to slow down and savor impeccably made craftsmanship.
Millennials also like to express their individuality by buying one-of-a-kind items, plus artisan goods are often local goods made by small businesses.”
2. Artisan jewelry can be found anywhere, anytime
There was a time when artisan jewelry was mostly found at boutiques, independent jewelry stores, craft expos and art festivals. While it still can be found at all of these places, thanks to technology and the Internet boom, it has become easier for artisans to share our work with a broader audience.
Social media platforms and the ability to create and manage our own websites have given jewelry designers like myself the opportunity to take full control of our small businesses while achieving worldwide exposure.
Economist Tyler Cowen, when speaking to Yale about the relationship between artists and their audience on the Internet these days, said, “I think we're seeing the triumph of global art, global customers, and global markets. We're seeing creativity spreading to more parts of the world and more parts of daily life than ever before.”
3. Artisan jewelry is so much better than mass-produced jewelry
So what’s all the fuss about artisan jewelry, anyway? Yes, artisan jewelry is versatile. It’s stylish. It’s unique. Yet, there’s so much more. When you purchase handcrafted artisan jewelry, you are choosing to support an artist and small business owner.
When jewelry is made via the mass production route, hundreds or thousands of copies will be made from one jewelry design with the production of the jewelry outsourced to a manufacturing company. And in order to cut costs, the jewelry will often be assembled by companies located outside of the United States.
Mass production is more about speed and the selling of goods in large quantities. Machines pump it out. Then it’s rushed off to fill store shelves. Reorder. Step and repeat.
Handmade artisan jewelry is the complete opposite. Artists take pleasure in the physical creation of their jewelry made meticulously one piece at a time. The focus is exclusively on the craftsmanship.
From start to finish, a jewelry piece can take me anywhere from one to seven days to complete. Time and a great deal of attention is given during the process of hand fabricating each piece of jewelry.
Will you pay more for a piece of handcrafted jewelry over a mass-produced piece of jewelry? The answer is often yes. The tradeoff though is that you will own a piece of jewelry that is created by hand and is truly one-of-a-kind.
4. There is beauty in imperfection
“There is no beauty without some slight imperfection.” James Salter
Remember the accents I mentioned above? Long before I founded my jewelry business, I delighted in them — though in my early days at Peabody Conservatory those accents were found in the musical passages I performed on my cello. Becoming a self-taught metalsmith keeps my fingers moving just the same, though now the gift has transformed from auditory to visual.
I love that every detail — flaws and all — shapes artisan jewelry. I work with the metals and hand-selected gemstones to create original works of wearable art. No two items are exactly alike. Nothing is pre-assembled or pre-configured.
And no piece is perfect. I mean, what is perfection anyway? I love the organic process of letting a piece of jewelry take its shape as it is being made.
There is a balance between thoughtful and spontaneous design. Yes, all handcrafted artisan jewelry is imperfect in some small way but in my humble opinion the little idiosyncrasies are what make each piece so special.
5. There is always a story
It’s not unusual for me to design a one-of-a-kind piece for a customer. Some people want to recreate designs that I’ve already sold with gemstones of their choosing.
Others ask me to design for a special occasion, and a few want to transform an older piece with sentimental value into something new that they will to hold onto for years to come. There is a connection that forms between the maker and wearer that lives on in the jewelry.
I make jewelry working at the very bench my father used when he transformed raw slabs of wood into finely crafted pieces of furniture. I cherish that connection with my dad and love that our combined history of working with our hands is woven into each piece I create for you.
6. There is more transparency in the materials used
Ethical artisan jewelry can have a powerful and positive effect on fair trade. From the manner in which metals and gemstones are mined, cut and polished to the fair wages and treatment of those doing the work, consumers want transparent accounts of how their jewels make their way into their homes.
In a 2017 article on Elle.com, writer Ali Gray noted that, “For many 20- and 30-somethings used to purchasing artisan food and ethical fashion, the cachet of owning a gemstone is diluted if it originated from a mine that exploits its workers or damages the environment.”
I take great pride in using recycled metals and ethically sourced gems as often as possible. I want my customers to feel as good as they look when wearing my designs.
7. You are supporting a small business
Art is the lifeblood of culture, and small business is the lifeblood of our economy. Artisan jewelry is usually produced straight from the artist to the customer. Many of us don’t have large staffs or major distribution deals and we’re often one-person operations.
Choosing to buy from small businesses has great impact in U.S. cities — monies stay local, they go back into the state and federal tax system, return to our school districts, city infrastructures and more.
When I receive feedback like, “My ring was just delivered and I couldn’t love it more!” or “It’s nice to know you made it just for me. What a treasure!”, it warms my heart to know that in addition to these economic benefits; I have brought happiness into someone’s life in however small a fashion.
Jewelry artisans spend so much time working independently in their studios creating pieces they hope someone will find and love. When a customer reaches out to tell us that they love a piece of our work, it inspires us to create more.
8. Artisan jewelry is versatile enough to go with any style
So, now that you know why you should buy artisan jewelry, how do you find pieces that work with your wardrobe? Good thing you asked! You didn’t think I’d leave you to figure it out alone, did you?
Remember I told you how versatile artisan jewelry is? I wasn’t kidding. It can work with many looks and easily transitions from day to night.
What type of look are you going for today? I’ve outlined a few common styles below to get your creative juices flowing. Come on, let’s get styled together.
Classic Chic Style
Cute flats and pencil pants. A classic wrap blouse with a gold clutch… Hello, fine jewelry! I love how this elegant Three Sapphire Confetti Necklace looks with a chic on-the-go outfit. Pair it with small hoops for daytime or switch into the matching dangling Sapphire Confetti Earrings for a bolder nighttime getup.
We all know and love maxi skirts and flowing dresses but also try fitted cropped jeans with a flowing tunic in a fun and colorful pattern. Add a pair of sandals and a bold handbag and you have the perfect fab boho summer look when meeting friends for Sunday brunch or an early evening dinner date.
With boho style, it's all about the embellishments so dangly earrings are a must. Complete the look with these mixed metal Chrysoprase Gold and Silver Dangle Earrings and complement with this delicate Entwined Silver and Gold ring.
We’re a long way from wearing muted suits to blend in with the workforce. Play up tailored trousers and jackets with a pop of color, bold stones and chunky metals.
Tourmaline or garnet gemstones. Textured gold. The key is to pair loud jewelry with simple A-Line and Sheath cuts. My Olive Green Tourmaline Reef Ring is created from hand-forged, recycled Argentium silver with 18K gold dust fused to the surface. This type of statement piece can be rocked on your index finger for a little pointed oomph. Pair it with my asymmetrical Gold and Silver Hoop Earrings.
What does a rebel need? Something uncommon, of course! With my newest pieces, I continue to experiment with mixing 18k gold and silver but take it up a notch with raw flame-distressed surfaces. These "imperfect" textures paired with vibrant rose cut gemstones are the perfect companion to edgy street style looks.
P.S. When researching looks for this piece, I was delighted to find so many options for plus size fashion. All of the pieces used for this look are from the Violeta Collection made by Mango.
For a summertime party, sometimes the simplest silhouette is best. Try a flowing maxi dress and top it off with a straw hat. You'll be super cool and comfy while still making a statement. Ditch the hat and put your hair up for this look to seamlessly transition to evening wear.
If you’ll have bare shoulders with a high neckline, a pair of dramatic earrings like these mixed metal Tourmaline Taper Earrings will complement your look perfectly. (This style is also available as a metal-only option found here.) And to add a little fun without being too matchy matchy, try these contrasting Oblique Stacking Rings.
I've presented many reasons to seek out artisan jewelry as well as advice on how to wear it to best accent your individual style. I hope this article gave you some inspiration and thanks for reading!