The first jewelry in recorded history was as simple as shells strung on twine. Over centuries, handmade jewelry designers have had the benefit of more and more technological advances to help them with their craft. These days, designers have a vast array of modern techniques that allow them to express their boldest and most creative artistic style.
Putting metals together with non-precious materials is a trend in jewelry design with designers pairing things like colored diamonds and pearls with non-precious materials such as rubber or plastic for unique creations. Both pearls and diamonds have seen quite the evolution over time. Remember when you thought all there was to both of them were their white and colorless varieties? Designers have a multitude of colors to work with when it comes to diamonds – black, pink, yellow, red, green, blue, champagne, chocolate. Any color you see a flash of in a white diamond can be manipulated so that the diamond becomes that color.
Although a designer probably wouldn’t create their own colored diamonds to make handmade designers jewelry, they can create their own colored pearls. Pearls come in luxurious natural colors such as golden South Sea pearls or exotic black pearls but if designers don’t want to shell out for those pricey pearls, or if they’re looking for other colors, they can dye natural and faux pearls with store bought or homemade dyes. These particular dying techniques can also be used on bones or shells for even more options in handmade designers jewelry.
One of the most exciting advances that have hit jewelry design is precious metal clay, which was developed only about 20 years ago in Japan. Metal clay is small particles of precious metals like gold, silver, and platinum or copper that is combined with an organic binder and water. The clay looks just like pure metal once it’s fired (the binder burns away during this process) and can be molded and shaped into beads, jewelry and sculptures more easily than with actual metal. This clay allows designers to make sophisticated, intricate designs without all the training required for metalwork. Silver metal clay ends up as 99.9 percent pure silver and gold metal clay gives a richer color than regular gold.
Jewelry designers have so many options available to them to aid in their creative process thanks to the development of modern techniques. Designers of the past could probably only dream of making the styles of jewelry designers of today can do. And the biggest benefactor of all this technology is you, the consumer!