Jewelry as Identity

Once more I was catching up on back issues of Metalsmith when I read an exhibition review with a comment that spoke to me.  Kate Dobbs Ariail was reviewing Shari Pierce’s “Cardboard Democracy, USA” show at Jewelerswerk Galerie and mentioned that Shari “began to think of jewelry as symbol of identity, rather than as ornament or luxury.”  This made me pause as I have recently been trying to work out exactly what my goal is with making the pieces that I have created, and this seemed an interesting concept.

I have been thinking of my newer, stronger pieces as talismans, something to project an idea of the wearer’s personality outward.  This idea of identity rather than mere adornment for just adornment’s sake appeals to me.  Think back to high school when what you wore showed who you were, who your friends were, what you were into.  It was a way to express yourself when you felt that people were trying to put you into their cubbyholes rather than letting you create your own path.  At least that was the way it was for me.  I want my pieces to be that little something that you wear that shows the world a bit of your true, adventurous, daring self.  You might have to wear a suit or other conservative outfit to work, but a striking necklace or brooch can let you into your wardrobe.

I really didn’t want this to turn into a promotional piece.  I mean this from my heart.  I want my pieces to speak of secret selves, of the power that we each have within ourselves.  Yes, I also want them to be beautiful, to adorn the body, but I want them to talk of something more than that,  to showcase spirit.  In this era of identity theft and the giant consumer Wal-Mart tribe we need to find ways, no matter how small, to let our true identities shine.  Don’t lose your Superman in your Clark Kent, or your Bruce Wayne in your Batman. Let the most authentic you shine out in the details, or even your whole self if you can be that free.  Wear your soul on the outside and breathe freely finally.

3 thoughts on “Jewelry as Identity

  1. Your jewellery and blog are fantastic! thank you for the inspiration!

    Reading this post was like reading my own mind! I am busy doing research into the use of jewellery as an expression of identity, and working on a line of jewellery that allows people to explore and express their multi faceted personalities outwardly.

    I think that so many of the sub cultures that one was stereotyped into during the 20th century are slowly falling away with globalisation and there is a movement towards people wanting to show that they can be slightly feminine and like pretty things but still dress in black and like tatoos, as well as having an enjoyment for both classical music and heavy rock.

    People want to show their individuality and not be shoved into those ‘cubbyholes’ as you so appropraitely put it, and don’t you think there is no better way to show it but with jewellery! Jewellery has the ability to catch the eye and be expressive in a way that is not over bearing and this is so appropriate in an age where we live such conformed lifestyles at work.



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