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Jewellery As Art Expresses The Consumer’s Individuality More Than Brand Recognition

art-nouveau-jewelry-lalique-5This is in response to Alex Popov’s recent blog post. What a great title for an article that — temporarily at least — lifts our horizon above the present difficulties,with Mr Popov  reminding  us of the extraordinary romance and significance  that attaches to the history of diamonds and jewellery, as well as the artistic outpouring that India inspired (helped perhaps by the fact that the ruling families were the  financial equivalent of today’s oligarchs in terms of spending power).

Unfortunately I did not have the opportunity to visit the India —Jewels that Enchanted the World exhibition, but I was lucky enough to be invited last week to the opening of the wonderful Fabric of India exhibition at London’s Victoria and Albert museum. This event that was sponsored by India’s Nirav Modi. Strange that a famous jewellery designer should sponsor an exhibition on textiles? Not really! After all, Ambaji Shinde, Harry Winston’s chief of design, transformed ancient Indian embroidery into delicate diamond necklaces and virtually all the major jewellers from Cartier to Van Cleef & Arpels were inspired by their Indian experiences.

Sometimes I wonder if some of today’s most renowned  jewellers, with their diamond-intensive classical designs, are as in tune with the times as say Van Cleef’s art deco masterpieces were. I ask myself whether their dramatic and overwhelming  statement pieces are not just a little formulaic in their design and lacking in something difficult to define.

Damian Hirst’s diamonD skull

I guess it will be up to the auctioneers as to how they present the story and provenance of these magnificent jewels as they don’t have glamourous back stories of the Indian courts to romance the jewellery. The owners  of such pieces seem to prefer to remain low profile about both their jewellery and their art — in stark contrast to Damian Hirst’s  diamond-encrusted skull, an unusually challenging combination of art and diamonds.

Recent blog posts on this platform have highlighted the importance of good design and its likely appeal to  the growing sophistication of customers throughout the world. Today’s shoppers know their own mind in terms of taste and often want to express their own individuality and unique taste, perhaps less impressed by a famous name or smart shop. Many of the young designers of today increasingly benefit from this trend for bespoke designs to mark their own “rites of passage”  in a distinctive way.

In the days that De Beers was the sole generator of generic advertising for the entire industry, it used to sponsor  the bi-annual  Diamond International Awards, a sort of Oscar for competing diamond design talent. Since then, there have been the occasional regional competitions, but none of sufficient stature to be the sort of catwalk of design talent that would help  redefine the link between art and jewellery design and craftsmanship.

So are we going to sit back and let the slick marketing of the Swarovskis and Pandoras occupy a space were the consumer might be interested in more than mere  baubles and beads?

Finally, on the subject of exhibitions, any one considering a visit to London should book admissions for another major exhibition at the Victoria and Albert museum starting November 19th, entitled Bejewelled Treasures, The Al Thani Collection.

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American Indians AND PIONEER found hard stones as complements to better there lives. How to did we marginalize the natural vast gemstone market for art and gems into a wealthy elite, sinking passion of "Bling"?