I’m proud to say that I got an honorary mention in the American Jewelry Design Council (AJDC) 2012 New Talent contest!
I received my certificate at the JA (Jewelers of America) New York summer trade show today. I wore a 2011 Prada dress that I’d worn earlier this month, accessorized with my Hatshepsut locket and Empress Wu dragon earrings.
The AJDC emphasizes the artistic qualities of jewelry design. Its website says,
“Essential to every culture, art is the vehicle for expressing emotions and ideas in a personal and creative manner. The American Jewelry Design Council is a non-profit educational corporation, which recognizes and promotes the appreciation of original jewelry design as art.”
I’m so thankful for this organization. A lot of people look at fine jewelry as an expensive and unnecessary luxury item. But, as a designer, I’ve always seen my work as a form of expression that is as meaningful — as essential! — as any painting or sculpture, musical composition or dance, or even sport. My designs convey my ideas and feelings and seek to elicit a reaction from a wearer or viewer. For instance, the dragon earrings I wore symbolize one of China’s female rulers, so the design had to be elaborate enough for an empress. Therefore, the intricately engraved 18K yellow gold dragons have 18K rose gold tongues and tsavorite (green garnet) eyes. (Each dragon has two eyes, even though only one shows from the front.) The tips of the dragons’ horns are adorned with diamonds set in platinum, and pearls dangle from the dragons’ tails.
I don’t have to put so much effort into my work. I could also use a lot less metal and employ less-skilled labor. But that wouldn’t communicate my commitment to quality; my fascination with symbolism; or my passion for women’s history, which inspires many of my designs. It is a luxury to own this kind of jewelry, just like it is a luxury to go to a New York art gallery and make a purchase. But I’ve always felt that those who can’t afford to buy can still appreciate. That’s why we have museums and libraries. And that’s part of the reason I started this blog five years ago this month: to give people a chance to enjoy and learn about this ancient form of self-expression. I hope you’re liking the journey!