In Peru, gold and silver bracelets were meant to complement each other symbolically. These two bright, powerful metals held one another in balance. In Central America, natural materials decorated men’s jewelry to signify a connection to place. Metals, bone, shells, bird feathers , and carved stones protected and decorated the wearer. Techniques that rely on handmade craftsmanship honor the cultures and regions from which they come. In Bali, repouss, or the art of silver filigree, is still preserved by artisans today.
René Lalique, working for the Paris shop of Samuel Bing, was recognised by contemporaries as a leading figure in this trend. In England, Liberty & Co., and the British arts & crafts movement of Charles Robert Ashbee contributed slightly more linear but still characteristic designs. The new style moved the focus of the jeweller’s art from the setting of stones to the artistic design of the piece itself. Lalique’s dragonfly design is one of the best examples of this.
Beads may be large or small; the smallest type of beads used are known as seed beads, these are the beads used for the “woven” style of beaded jewellery. Seed beads are also used in an embroidery technique where they are sewn onto fabric backings to create broad collar neck pieces and beaded bracelets. Bead embroidery, a popular type of handwork during the Victorian era, is enjoying a renaissance in modern jewellery making. Beading, or beadwork, is also very popular in many African and indigenous North American cultures.
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