If you love jewelry, you’ve likely looked at a stunning necklace or bracelet and thought, “this is unbelievably gorgeous – how did they come up with this design?”. Jewelry designers are artists, and like all artists, they have their own unique creative processes. Finding inspiration for artistic jewelry isn’t easy. However, as we all know, when they do get inspired, the results are incredible.
In this article, we have some of the most common things jewelers look to when creating their amazing work. Some are natural, and some are man made. But no matter where the inspiration comes from, the artist’s mind and skill work together to turn the idea into a beautiful necklace, bracelet, or earrings that we never could have dreamed of.
A designer’s unique inspiration for artistic jewelry
Plants and flowers
The natural world has been a source of creativity for artists for years. Scientists estimate there are close to 400,000 plants known to man. Each plant comes with its own unique beauty and symbolism.
Most plants need specific conditions to thrive, so many artists associate plants with their sense of home, self, and identity. For instance, a jeweler who grew up in Wisconsin might create earrings in the shape of the tiny wood violets they see dotted around their hometown. This way, they can capture the natural landscape of their home, and express who they are through their work.
Plants are also shown to directly impact creativity. As many of them purify the air, studies show that this can increase cognitive function. When an artist walks in nature, they will often be inspired to create some of their finest work. Many people recommend that an artist struggling with creative block go for a peaceful hike.
The animal kingdom
While flora is a common source of inspiration for artistic jewelry, fauna is much the same. You might think of animal jewelry as simply playful, but that’s not always the case. In fact, animal jewelry is often seen on the high fashion runways. Balmain’s Fall/Winter 2021 show included scorpion ear cuffs. Stella McCartney and Lanvin both worked monkeys into their looks.
Of course, these shows are far from the first time animals have been used in artistic jewelry. Jewelry with animals was very popular during the art nouveau period. These vintage pieces would include motifs such as butterflies, dragonflies, and birds. These styles are often very ornate and detail-oriented.
It makes sense that designers would use animals to infuse connotations into their work. The particular animal you identify with depends on who you are. Scorpions are linked with power and control. On the other hand, monkeys, butterflies, and small birds are thought of as playful and cute. When you buy and wear jewelry showing an animal that you feel you align with, it’s a great way to express yourself to the world.
The night sky
The dark night sky has hung above every society since the beginning of time. All over the world, for centuries, people have looked up at it and wondered what’s out there. It remains mysterious and elusive, but one thing that’s certain is its immense beauty.
Of course, the stars and moon aren’t just there to look at. Several ancient cultures were very skilled seafarers, and used only the sky to guide them on very long journeys. When navigation tools, such as the compass, were invented, many of them featured pictures of stars as a nod to their old navigation methods.
As a result, the night sky is still thought to represent divine guidance. Many artists are inspired by the constant presence and guidance of the stars. To represent this, they create gorgeous earrings, necklaces, and bracelets which symbolize the night sky’s mystique. For instance, the ARY D’PO Sun, Moon & Stars collection depicts an eclipse. This rare event is associated with ancient myths and celestial beauty.
An artist’s own emotions can be a huge source of inspiration and motivation. For many creators, their artistic work is an outlet for their feelings. If they feel joyful, they may create art as a way of channeling this positivity. Many studies prove that positive emotions can help open the mind and make people feel more creative. However, inspiring emotions aren’t always happy ones.
Many artists credit heartbreak with helping them create some of their best work. For instance, Sam Smith is a very talented singer who recently won four Grammys. During an acceptance speech, he said: “I want to thank the man who this record is about, who I fell in love with last year. Thank you so much for breaking my heart, because you got me four Grammys.”
Of course, singers aren’t the only artists who look to heartbreak for inspiration. In fact, the famous Cartier love bracelet was inspired by the end of a romantic relationship. Its designer, Aldo Cipullo, explained to Vogue, “I felt very sad. I wanted something no one could take away from me. I was searching for a permanent symbol of love.” From Cipullo’s sadness, one of the world’s most iconic pieces of jewelry was created.
Art has existed for almost as long as humans. Ever since we came into existence, people have been driven to express themselves through painting, drawing, and sculpture. As art has developed throughout the centuries, it has evolved into many distinct branches.
When most people think of art, they first think of 2D images. However, jewelry is a vital 3D form of art. Many famous artists have dabbled in jewelry making. For instance, Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso each created some incredible brooches and pendants. These pieces show the overlap between jewelry and art.
However, many dedicated jewelry designers are inspired by the incredible work of other artists. American jeweler Alex Soldier is known for his version of Van Gogh’s iconic sunflowers. He took the flowers from the classic painting and recreated them as earrings made from gold, black diamond, and tsavorite.
Many other jewelers have looked to techniques used in art to help them create stunning work. Enamel, ceramics, and special methods for working with gold or silver are now often used in jewelry.
Buildings change in style over time. Sometimes, a jewelry designer will look at the shapes, materials, and lines of a building and feel compelled to create something that captures its beauty. Perhaps they see a quatrefoil shape as a window arch, or they feel inspired by the building’s bold lines. Any element of a building can inspire jewelers.
For instance, the ARY D’PO Black Jewel collection draws on the Palace of Versailles. This French structure features 2,300 rooms and some of the most ornate designs that the world has ever seen. The Black Jewel earrings and necklace are crafted from 18 karat gold swirled around a svelte black agate gemstone. With this piece, the designers felt inspired to evoke the palace’s amazing features and sense of luxury.
Buildings are a frequent source of inspiration for artistic jewelry. Of course, there are hundreds of styles of architecture. Some of the most common are Gothic, Colonial, modernist, and minimalist. From minimalist stud earrings to chunky modernist rings, each of these styles has influenced jewelry in some way.
Traveling to new places offers a new way of looking at the world. You may have felt the eye-opening effects of traveling before. When you’re somewhere new and outside of your routine, you can focus on your passion and desires. For many jewelers, this passion is their art. And, of course, seeing a place’s unique beauty can lead to newfound inspiration.
Perhaps a visitor to South America would feel inspired to work turquoise, Aztec patterns, and earthy colors into their next jewelry collection. Or maybe a jeweler visiting China would want to try the copper wire enamel style that’s so popular in the region. They would be able to use the skills they possess to put a new spin on the styles of the country they’re visiting. And by meshing their experience with the new place’s styles and materials, they tend to create jewelry that’s truly unique.
How to find inspiration
If you’re someone who’s looking for inspiration, remember that it’s normal to have mental blocks sometimes. Many artists find that it’s best to:
- Spend time outside in nature. Many studies suggest that plants improve cognition and mood, which is vital for creating.
- Take a weekend trip. Even just a slight change of scene can help you get new ideas.
- Reflecting on your thoughts and emotions can help you understand things that you may want to express through your creative work.
- Look at art. Try taking a trip to a gallery or jewelry boutique, looking through a photo book, or even reading a book.
- Create for the sake of creating. Even if you don’t like what you’re making, the practice of making it will help you get back into your flow.
Most creative people know that making art can be a challenge. With that said, it’s one of the most valuable ways of expressing yourself. Creating jewelry or art that reflects your thoughts and soul should always be celebrated.