Thursday, September 6, 2012

Book Review - 21st Century Jewelry

By on Thursday, September 06, 2012 3 Comments

We often look back at the past for jewelry inspirations but what about the future? Who are the designers today making those innovations that will determine what we might wear in the future? What sort of techniques and materials or uncommon combinations might become popular in years to come?

Vina Rust's  "Eastern Cottonwood Defense" Necklace
sterling silver, gold, hand fabricated  oxidized
photographed by Doug Yaple

21st Century Jewelry: The Best of the 500 Series which I received for review, is a gorgeous coffee table book featuring a worthy collection of  some of the most innovative and occasionally bizarre modern designs ever encountered. A jury of international jewelers, curators and galleries picked this amazing inspirational array. Here are some of my favorites from the book.

Some of the jewelry like Vina Rust's necklace above show off the exquisite workmanship and attention to detail displayed by top designers. Her design shows that nature continues to inspire.  Emre Dilaver's astonishing ring reminds me of miniature embedded cathedrals!

Radical approaches to wire designs like Jiro Kamata's geometric earrings result in a space-age look. Another wire artisan featured in the book is Mary Lee Hu whose work I wrote about before - she pioneered wire weaving back in the 1960's.

It's not just new twists in familiar jewelry but also unique approaches to adornment never seen before. Who knows if bracelet gloves might become common place by the 22nd century?

Arline Fisch's Bracelet Glove
Coated Copper wire, fine silver, machine and hand knitted, crocheted
The designers also offered alternatives to common jewelry items found today. Ann Lumsden's floral bellybutton bejeweled ornaments are worthy substitutes to piercings!

Designers have often used what was readily available through out thousands of years of jewelry history. It is no different for designers today.  One group of materials that defines our time consist of polymers such as plastic.  So it was not surprising to see so many designers use this material. One of them is Svenja John who I featured before.

 Anastasia Azure's amazing armlet made of woven nylon filaments is a work of art - both worn and by itself.

Christel van der Laan's brooch is an outstanding example of eco jewelry because it uses polypropylene price tags.  Designs like this remind us yet again that it's not what you use but HOW you use it.

Giovanni Corvaja, one of the featured designers summed up well what jewelry means to many of us. He said, "After all, jewelry contains JOY in its name (from Latin jocus and Old French joule - "jest" or plaything), and I believe that must be its function."

This book certainly celebrates that.... and more.


Before You Go:
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips 



  1. I've been looking at futuristic jewelry trends on line. Especially as a designer of repurposed jewelry--how to bring the lovely old things into a more modern "look." I am tempted to get this book for it's genius. Thanks for writing it up!

  2. That was quick, Cate! Enjoy the book and the wonderful photography.