Saturday, 30 January 2010

"It becomes personal"

From reading chapter 4 of Guy Julier’s book The Culture of Design, I realised that it is better to have commissioned jewellery rather than mass produced jewellery.

Jewellery that is churned out will only have meaning if someone buys it for you. There was nothing special about it to begin with and you know many people will own the same piece.

Cheap jewellery is not significant. Whereas as a limited collection or even just one piece that is more expensive is significant. It becomes personal.

Jewellery that is commissioned is more personal. The commissioner knows or has spoken to the person that made it. It is not made for an unknown person. There is a connection between consumer and maker. This is what Ikea tried to do, where they created a relationship between consumer and production by letting the consumer build the furniture. Obviously the Ikea furniture is mass produced so there is nothing special about it, yet with commissioned jewellery it is special because it is unique.

I have a lot, and I mean a lot of junk jewellery that I’ve accumulated over the years, yet I only ever wear sentimental jewellery, not jewellery that I’ve bought myself (unless it is earrings).

Ever since I started studing jewellery & metalwork, I’ve actually stopped buying jewellery. I do not like the idea of mass produced jewellery (I’m not fully against it, I love receiving jewellery :D) and I know in a few years I’ll be able to make my own and it would be personal because I designed it. I have found myself either changing the chain, or taking off a charm on a necklace before.. it makes it different and looks better most of the time. So I think if I was to make my own jewellery it would be versatile pieces that you can change in small ways to make it fit with what you are wearing or how you personally want it to look.

I’ve gone a bit off topic…

Julier has mentioned many authors in the chapter and will try and maybe look into a couple when I find time - it just takes me ages to read and understand what I’m reading :(


  1. hey,

    I was just thinking that jewellery that is mass produced could be just as personal as commissioned pieces. i mean so what if other people have similar pieces, its about the meaning and story that you attach to the piece over time. Its the way you wear it, or even little things that it reminds you off that make that piece "yours". (i dont know, swear it makes sense in my head!)

    anyway you said that "Jewellery that is churned out will only have meaning if someone buys it for you" well yea if someone buys it for you that would carry an obvious sentiment for you, however, i feel that even if you bought the piece yourself, and at that time it may have been off the rack, nothing personal but over the years one does begin to associate events and stories with it giving it meaning and importance. I have alot of jewellery that in monetary terms may be worthless (and was certainly not commissioned for me), yet i can never imagine throwing it away just because i associate so many things with it, even things as little as conversations that revolved around that piece.

    Besides, i think that every little piece of jewellery that you own doesn't even have to carry personal significance. Even if the piece doesnt mean anything to you, if it looks good on you, fair enough! imagine only buying expensive things that were commissioned for you,yea they would all be personal but you would only be able to afford what ten items of jewellery. while on the other hand if you buy cheap jewellery off the rack, you can buy tons of it and wear something different everyday! :)


  2. I don't seem to link jewellery to events or times I wore it. If someone has mentioned my jewellery, I've never had a conversation about it... Or this could just mean my memory is bad and I never remember anything :)

    I've got so much jewellery I don't think I need anymore anyway!