- Sep 23, 2017
Thinking about it in either/or terms sets up a false dichotomy, in my opinion. I think the interaction between both material and craftsmanship is what defines the jewelry.
Excellent artistry and craftsmanship can definitely elevate cheaper materials. Heck, maybe a jewelry piece, made by an excellent artist executing a conceptual design, must be made with cheaper materials, as it is the whole point of the concept.
But I'd be hard-pressed to describe platinum and diamonds wonkily put together by an amateur/broken machine/drunk jeweler/six-year-old/etc. as fine jewelry.
So, like others have said, I think it has to be both. It also varies culturally – 9-karat gold is not a thing in the U.S., but is in other countries. I just learned that 19-karat gold is a big thing in Canada – who knew?! Plus, styles, trends, what is valued as art, etc. varies in different places, so it's hard to say that it's either one or the other.
That's a good point. I've seen interesting things made of fabric, iron, etc. I guess what I find galling is seeing a brand position itself as "high jewelry" with high prices and then use lab stones routinely instead of genuine for example. Or a brand selling costume jewelry at fine jewelry prices. When there's a large marketing/branding/trendy component my spidey senses tingle.