by Amanda

The Arts And Crafts Era

During the Arts & Crafts era, the focus was on workmanship and artistic freedom, while the quality of the materials and gemstones used was of secondary importance. The movement originated in England around 1890 in defiance of the mass production brought about by industrialisation. In contrast to machine made items, this jewellery promoted individual designs that were crafted by hand.

The movement was unified by the philosophy behind the jewellery, rather than by a particular design style, although there were some recurring motifs and characteristics. Inspiration came from nature and organic forms, and this meant that leaves, flowers and birds were common choices. The material was not as important as the design, and so brass, copper, aluminium, silver and glass were chosen over more expensive metals like gold. Stones were selected because of their colour, not because of their value, and they were cut into cabochons rather than faceted. The favoured gems were opals, moonstones and non-uniform pearls, and they were used as accents rather than as a focal point. Turquoise was another popular gem used during this time, and was often used to create accessories such as pendants.

The movement celebrated intricate details and even though the artists were hugely experienced, they strove to create amateur designs. Slightly flawed jewellery was appreciated as it meant that it was unique. Everything was handmade, therefore Arts & Crafts Jewellery was expensive and unaffordable for the middle class. The movement lasted for about 30 years, and jewellery from this era is highly valued and sought after by collectors.

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