The Art of Jewelry Design 

by Deborah Krupenia  
 Reviewed by Greer Gilchrist

A photo from the bookcover of "The Art of Jewelry Design"

The views, talents, and techniques of twenty experienced and  successful artists complete this practical and educational book on the detail that exists behind beautiful pieces of jewelry. Krupenia takes  the audience on a virtual journey with a colorful spread that highlights the artists work. With a straight-forward yet gentle voice  she helps relay the stories of how jewelry is made, where inspiration can come from, and the importance of materials. The Art of Jewelry  Design goes beyond pleasing images of simple jewelry, it is a close  look at the spiritual side of jewelry making and the appreciation one  must have for the natural elements of their materials. 

The Art of Jewelry Design is organized through five different  chapters, each one introducing a material. It begins with the most  glamorous one of all, gold. In terms of creating gold jewelry designs  the artists must realize the powerful image that gold natural holds on  its own. The design must emulate this image and not take too much away  from it. The beauty is in enhancing the natural form of gold. The spread of pictures presented in this chapter represents various  examples of stunning gold jewelry, showing the readers the detail of  different sizes, textures, and designs. 

The jewelry seems to take on a  very natural form and in some cases is combined with other metals such  as silver and copper. This combination of material is something that  is revealed in all the chapters.

As a natural pair to gold, silver follows in the next chapter. Similar  to gold, silver also holds its own beauty in its purest form. However,  unlike gold, which takes on a luxurious reputation and image, silver  compares to a more industrial nature. The artists describing their  technique and designs with silver felt that it was a very simple metal  to work with. The purpose was to bring beauty to the industrial image  it retains. The visual spread of examples revealed the elegantly  demure forms of their designs. The artists played into the industrial  nature with simple shapes of curves and coils; the delicacy of these  shapes helped to reflect the beauty.  The following chapter escaped the world of silver and gold. Stepping  beyond the basic beauty of the metals themselves the artists in this  chapter represented color. They exaggerated their jewelry with rich colors and creative personalities. These designs, while still elegant,  revealed the fun side of jewelry. The artists still worked with impressive metals, yet they took it a step further by enlivening the metal into rich pinks, deep purples, and bright yellows. The artists were able to create strong and exciting designs through the metals they worked with. By adding color they delved into a new genre of  shapes and color wheels. 

Alternative metals held the fourth chapter. Paper  jewelry, stainless steel, brass, acrylic, rubber, mica, and aluminum were some of the materials artists of the “alternative metals” chose  to work with. This variety in materials allows a collage of jewelry  shapes, sizes, forms, and designs. The artists embraced collaboration as they mixed different forms together and created beautiful jewelry.  Although some of the materials may seem too frail or too industrial,  each artist supported their designs with the right amount of strength  combined with the right amount of delicacy. The pages of artwork for  this chapter revealed unique and ornamental jewelry that is vibrant, > creative, and full of life.

The concluding chapter showcases artists who created  their art through the inspiration of organic forms. There are ideas  drawn from leaves, flowers, insects, body parts, animals, children,  fish, and mythical creations. For the most part the jewelry is created  from elements of gold, silver, and stone. The enticing aspect about  this form of jewelry is that the artists created an illusion of life through their designs. The silvers leaves on one design were so  billowy and natural that they are believable. As with the designs of  silver and gold the simple beauty of nature is only slightly enhanced by the artists as to not lose the natural beauty.  

With the conclusion of the book the audience has traveled through five chapters filled with jewelry and inspiration. In  this brief education any reader can hope to have learned the spirituality behind jewelry, the understanding of the importance of  materials, and the insight of successful artists. Krupenia does an excellent job relaying the voices of her highlighted artists and their talents.


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