Jewellery as it used to be

Autor: Piotr Zieliński

100 years ago, to create anything, you needed great skill, extensive knowledge and hard-to-find tools. Today, things are completely different. What has changed?

Is it a good idea for someone to buy tools on the Internet and make their own version of a product? I see this happen in the millions of DIY videos on YouTube. In addition, anyone can produce on a mass scale - all you need is the right program and a 3D printer. It would seem that we live in a time of exceptional opportunities. But what about the quality of these products today?

Quality in exchange for what?

Let's illustrate this with the example of music. In the past, in order to be a musician you had to know the rules of music (music theory). You also had to be able to play an instrument - preferably more than one. Knowledge of the musical notation was also advisable. What about today? All you need is a computer, decks (turntables) or empower (a cash register to generate sounds) and then every expert button operator comes to the conclusion that they are already a musician. The result is countless idle recordings devoid of sound, feeling, rules and harmony. Everything is almost free, and available on the Internet.

How does this relate to jewellery? In this industry, there is a clear reduction in quality, compared with products from several dozen years ago. Of course, it's true that some geniuses have made great use of technology and created unique things. However, the general tendency is that quality and individuality are  replaced with quantity and a cheaper price.

Past methods, or present?

How was jewellery made in the past? You had to start with a good idea. It could have been and idea put forward by a client, but the craftsman would mainly rely on his many years of experience, in which (through trial and error) he discovered the techniques that allowed him to create beautiful things. Then this idea had to be visualized- not with a boring computer render, but with an original design conveying the artist's emotions, such a drawing had influential power. Nowadays, traditional companies proudly present such archival designs, emphasizing artistry and heritage.

After the presentation of such a drawing and acceptance by the client, the craftsman went to the implementation phase, in which he used all his skills and secrets to implement his design. In this way, the drawing was transformed into a goldsmith's structure, which, decorated with precious stones, constituted a unique manifesto of handicraft. Such items age like wine and today we can admire them in auction houses. People who value individuality , craftsmanship, history and emotions today are willing to pay any price to own such jewellery.

Jewellery as before, created today

But what should someone do if they want to create something unique for themselves today? I regret to say that this is particularly difficult in Poland. Most of the specialists from here have left for other countries and the remaining services are not up to standard. For some projects I use the help of specialists from outside the country, because I can't find anyone suitable in Poland.  Many customers have had the same experience. Regularly I have people coming to me who have been looking for a contractor for a unique product for a long time. Only when they see a drawing made based on their individual guidelines, do they regain hope that someone is able to meet their requirements of quality and individuality.

How is my jewellery made? Even at the concept level, I try to respect the heritage left by the former masters of goldsmithing. I use a stone setting technique that was developed in the 19th century. I also like to look at the proportions used in old jewellery. At the same time, I try to combine the aesthetic aspect with practicality. In my opinion, jewellery should not only be beautiful, but also comfortable to wear. I love to combine tradition with modern art, thanks to which the jewellery gains a new quality and takes on an abstract or surreal expression. I also reach for inspiration from the natural world many times. It contains the answers to many design questions. I also try to be open to the client's suggestions so that they can feel fully satisfied with their jewellery.

Jewellery as before, created today - is actually a definition of my passion, which I am happy to share with every client who visits my studio.