Do you want to know one thing that really inspires me as a designer?
A few weeks ago, while wandering around the internet, I stumbled upon an article that caught my attention for a couple different reasons.
1. It had to do with the Edwardian Era which is one of my favorite time periods in history.
2. It looked like an extremely well written article about Edwardian jewelry, specifically, and that's precisely what I was looking for. An article that didn't beat around the bush, but simply laid out all the facts. Date, background information, important people, popular materials, styles and more.
I'm sure there is still more to know, but this article, Jewels of the Edwardian's, by Elise B Misiorowski and Nancy K Hays, is very descriptive and really tells you all you need to know about jewelry from that time period.
Now I'm not going to tell you exactly what the article said, but instead what it is about this Era really resonates and inspires me.
Functionality and versatility – Jewelry was made with the idea that the piece needed to be worn with several different dresses/outfits. The colors used were usually more neutral tones, or monochromatic. Which you will see a lot in my designs. They used platinum, pearls, and diamonds which blended well with any colors you may have in your wardrobe. Some pieces had inter-changeable pendants or could be worn in different ways, such as the popular fringe necklace that could also be worn as a tiara. While wearing jewelry during that time period, was about showing off your wealth and status, they were smart about how they did it and I think they made the most of what they had.
Craftsmanship - These pieces still exist over 100+ years later because of the quality of the materials and the way they were made. They were meant to be passed down from generation to generation and when you bought a piece you bought the history that came with it and the story it had attached. Technology was improving for designers. Their torches became stronger, which meant they could use stronger metals like platinum. Stone cutting was making new and exciting shapes available. They were continuing to push the boundaries of their art while never losing that handmade feel.
Timeless Designs - The tiara, the choker or "dog collar", the sautiour, the bandeau, etc. All these styles still exist today. The only thing that changes over time are the materials being used and the process in which they are made. I love how you can take a piece from the turn of the 19th century and easily wear it today, because it's a design that never goes out of style. As Coco Chanel said, "Fashion changes, but style endures".
These 3 things are very important to me as a designer. Because fashion to me, shouldn't be fast or fleeting, it should be something you cherish and hold on to. It defines who you are and is a visual representation of your values and beliefs.
If you want to read the article by Misiorowski and Hays to learn more about jewelry of the Edwardian Era, here is the link: https://www.gia.edu/doc/Jewels-of-the-Edwardians.pdf
And be sure to keep an eye out for a collection inspired by this time period from Hammer and Heart Heirlooms.
Hammer & Heart Heirlooms