When we think about the nature of a handmade piece of art, we find out that there is a broad interpretation of the concept itself. It seems that everyone has a different approach to handicraft, as well as own opinion and interpretation.
If we look back throughout history, it seems that until a few hundred years ago, jewelry was created entirely by hand. Jewelers used to work day and night, sometimes for months, making one unique piece of jewelry. Machines did not yet exist, thus, there was no choice but to carry out the entire process by hand. Due the hard, complicated work involved in making each piece of jewelry, only the upper class could purchase it. Each piece of jewelry had its own history and a special value.
As technology moved forward and industry flourished, more techniques and machines were created, finally leading to development of computer software that allows to duplicate as much as you want. Jewelry has become a popular product, with a wide variety available in any market.
Due to the abundance of jewelry, we, as consumers, sometimes get fooled.
How many times have you heard that some piece of jewelry is referred to as “handmade”? What differs one handmade piece of jewelry from another? What is the difference between threading one bead on a pre-made thread and a piece of jewelry, which required many days of work? How would we be able to detect that a piece of jewelry was made by using a machine, which probably created dozens, hundreds or even thousands copies?
To be able to tell the difference, we should first define the concept itself.
“Handmade” means creation of any product by a human and not by a machine.
From this point on, you can add your personal interpretation. Here are a few examples:
- A piece of jewelry in which only one small part was made by hand (for example, beads are made by a machine, but they are threaded by hand). Even though it is relatively easy to craft such a jewel, and it does not take much time, it can still be called “handmade”, since handiwork was involved in the process.
- Jewelry made by casting – in such jewelry, inlaying a small stone can also be called handiwork, therefore making the piece of jewelry handmade.
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- Jewelry, all parts of which are crafted entirely by hand, is certainly within the definition of “handmade.”
Why would we actually want to delve into this topic? In my case, it happens naturally, since I’m deeply engaged in this field. In terms of my personal taste, this is a substantive question that accompanies me at every stage of my creative process. Therefore, not only that it is my personal preference, but moreover, I would recommend you to ask yourselves the following questions when selecting a piece of jewelry:
How many copies of that piece of jewelry are there? How many of them are identical?
If there are dozens or even hundreds of them, it means that it is not actually handmade. However, if the answer is: “It is a unique piece of jewelry and no copies have been made,” – in my opinion, in this case, you have come across a real “handmade” piece of jewelry.