Jewelry design is an art. It involves the creation, fabrication and rendering of jewelry drawings and models. The ancient practice of goldsmiths and metalworkers has evolved into a billion dollar industry transforming along from ancient cultures to the machine age. Jewelry design is a functional art as it can be worn or used. Before a jewelry article is fabricated, design concepts are sketched and then detailed technical drawings are generated by jewelry designers. These professionals are trained in technical aspects and fabrication techniques.
Traditionally, hand drawings and drafting methods were used to design jewelry. Today, computer aided design and manufacturing programs are used to create drawings and models. Once the design is finalized, it is rendered in silver, gold, platinum or other metals. Early jewelry commissions were started by nobility and privileged individuals to commemorate an event or to adorn themselves. Early jewelry designs incorporated enameling and repousse. These methods rendered jewelry which demonstrated wealth, position and power. Jewelry design has remained relatively constant over the years. Jewelry has evolved along with technology and fashion trends. Today’s use of technology in the design stages allows artist to quickly see the results of their work.
The public’s attitude towards jewelry has changed most drastically during the 20th century. Jewelry was seen as sacred and precious; however, beginning in the 1900s jewelry has started to be objectified. Throughout the twentieth century jewelry design underwent drastic and continual style changes: Art Nouveau (1900-1918), Art Deco (1919-1929), International Style & organicism (1929-1946), New Look & Pop (1947-1967), Globalization, Materialism, and Minimalism. Jewelry design trends are highly affected by socio-economics.