Monday, June 20, 2011

Minimalist Artisan Jewelry

According to late 20th century industrial designer, Dieter Rams, good design can be simple and straightforward, and while something looks very simple it is somehow very desirable. His motto is “less but better.” Many of us have heard similar phrases such as, “less is more” or “less is better.” And I like the sentiment of these expressions, but are they really true? Is it fair to say that some objects/products need as “little design as possible”? What about when it comes to jewelry design?

More frequently I notice this “less is more” trend in jewelry design, where the piece is reduced to its necessary elements to work as jewelry (also known as minimalist jewelry). When I encounter it, I find it oddly and unexpectedly plain, though this does not seem to deprive the piece of its timelessness or value. An example is a plain freshwater pearl midpoint on a simple chain or a pale, faceted gemstone or glass framed with metal and dangling from simple earwires. Some may think it’s too simple or weak while others love a clean, fresh line that is not too fussy.

I have experimented with this trend in my own jewelry line; and here is an example I'd like to share:

I've really enjoyed designing pieces of this nature, not necessarily as minimalist jewelry, but with the goal to showcase the materials rather than clutter the simple beauty of the stones with complicated combinations. I love good stones and rare, collectible beads. I also love the silver color of argentium sterling silver (a new metal I'm excited to be working with).

I am not sure I’m really posing this as a question or as a rhetorical one that I enjoy sitting and intellectualizing over. Either way, feel free to post a comment below, as I’m interested to hear your thoughts on minimalist movements in general, as many of us have undertaken (with great effort and courage!) to de-clutter and simplify our homes, parent’s homes, offices, or even something as seemingly simple as a jewelry box! xo, Sharon Marzonie

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