Since ancient times, people have fashioned jewelry from pieces of metal, beads, feathers and woven strands. Adorned, people change the way that they look. Men and women and children wear jewelry to associate themselves with a certain group of people, to show economic status or to make themselves look different. From the ear stretching of Masai tribes in Africa to the English Crown Jewels, jewelry is an expression of culture. Much like art, jewelry uses a canvas to express emotion and beauty. The canvas is the human body.
Activity 1 – jewelry culture
Jewelry has been used across time to define a person’s membership in a group or clan or family. Crowns, rings, necklaces, bracelets, and pins represent different tribes, religions, political movements, and even subgroups in society. For this activity do some research and find three different types of jewelry that define a group. Ancient jewelry practices continue to today’s modern trends connecting jewelry to specific definition groups.
Activity 2 – Jewelry Making
How is jewelry made? Jewelry comes in all shapes and sizes. It is formed, drawn, molded, cast, constructed, poured, welded. Research and make a list of the many processes for making jewelry. Then construct a list of the many different materials like precious stones or recycled beads or wires that jewelers use. For this activity study design and construction of earrings. Find three different types of jewelry production. (Think weaving, beading, and silversmithing, etc.) Look at single artistic creations as well as mass produced jewelry for retail. Jewelry production differs culture to culture, so make sure to look at at least one different culture different than your own.
Activity 3 – Nature Inspired Jewelry
Jewelers use dyes created by nature to color jewelry. The beauty of nature and nature patterns continue to inspire designers. Many of the precious jewels and pearls used in the production of jewelry come from the earth directly. For this activity use a piece of nature, such as a leaf or a seashell or an acorn, to design a necklace. Use a pencil and paper to draw three different ideas and pick one for the next activity.
Activity 4 – Bracelets
Bracelets are usually shorter than necklaces and are worn on the wrist or the ankles. Bracelets can organize objects (beads, stones, shells, etc.) to create and communicate many different patterns. Leather, string, and wire can connect the objects. Imagine making bracelets for a special person, or for an event. Bracelets are a comfortable item of jewelry that delight and connect people with memories.
Design and make some bracelets and upload them to the gallery!
Activity 5 – Found Object Jewelry
You can make jewelry out of anything! Using your favorite design from the last activity create a piece of jewelry from common household items. Anything lying around the house can work. Use recycled materials to make a unique piece of jewelry.
- African Jewelry
- A History of Jewelry
- Central Asian Jewelry
- David Bielander
- Diamant Museum Amsterdam
- Digital Bling Bar
- Exploratorium Digital Bling
- Japan History of Jewelry Around the World
- Munsell Bead Color Book
- Native American Jewelry
- Rene Lalique
- Royal Crown of Jewels Gallery
- Tiffany's & Co.
- Turkmen Jewelry
- UNICEF BRazilian Market