Craftsman Definitions 101: Who Does What Part 2

The Final Cut

Designer At WorkDesigner is the term used for the artist that has specialized in the jewellery field or specifically trained at college as a jewellery designer. A designer is not a goldsmith or silversmith. Unless they practised one of  the other fields, they would be dependent on the work of other, upstream practitioners. An analogy may suggest they are the architects  – they don’t build buildings or create construction materials, but have the creative flair to bring ideas to life.

A Designer/Maker is a term applied to those who are both trained in jewellery making and jewellery design. They may have a more hands on approach to making their designs a reality.

Great designer/makers of antiquity, like Fabergé, have names that resonate in the modern era and their works are highly prized as rare pieces of art.

Rene Lalique Dragonfly woman corsage ornament, 1897-1898

Rene Lalique Dragonfly woman corsage ornament, 1897-1898

René Lalique, for example, began his career as a jewellery apprentice at the age of 16, and by 1881 he was a freelance designer for many of the best-known Parisian jewellers such as Cartier and Boucheron. He was most well known for his works of art in glass. By 1890, Lalique was recognized as one of France’s foremost Art Nouveau jewellery designers. Today his works in glass and jewellery art continue to influence and inspire contemporary jewellery artists.

Golden Fleece Hat on display in Victoria and Albert Museum

Golden Fleece Headpiece, 2009, in 22 carat and 18 carat gold. On display in Victoria and Albert Museum courtesty of Adrian Sassoon

In the modern era, designers like Giovanni Corvaja, standing on the shoulders of artists before them, can work virtual magic. Corvaja can stretch gold to a diameter thinner than human hair. His many works are renowned and his Golden Fleece Headpiece is a modern marvel of the jewelry and art world.

Finally, Jeweller, is a very broad term that incorrectly incorporates anyone who works in the jewellery industry.  Traditionally, a jeweller meant a goldsmith.  Today, the term could mean someone who is a salesperson in a jewellery retail outlet or someone who makes jewellery, any type of jewellery.

Dede Marconato Signature

Dede forming a sterling silver cuff using the anticlastic method

Dede forming a sterling silver cuff using the anticlastic method

Dede Marconato is a designer/maker and works at her studio bench in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong.  Dede is also a Graduate Gemologist from the prestigious Gemological Institute of America.

If you are interested in learning more information about gemstones or designing a custom piece, please contact her at info@dedemarconato.com

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