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Antique and Vintage Jewellery Lecture:

Design, Fashion, Commissioners, Users

jewelry design fashion

Historically, royalty played a pivotal role in commissioning and dictating jewellery fashion trends, which were then eagerly adopted by the nobility and bourgeoisie.

The church also significantly influenced design, especially for silversmiths, though less so for goldsmiths. However, the decline of wealthy commissioners in the latter half of the 20th century significantly impacted the world of high-end jewellery, leading to a decrease in the creation of "haute jouallerie."

Prominent names like Cartier, Boucheron, Tiffany's and Van Cleef & Arpels maintained the prestige they had garnered as creators of "haute joaillerie" during the first half of the 20th century. However, towards the end of the 20th century, these esteemed houses seemed to merely coast on the reputation they had established in the earlier years. Their brands remained highly attractive to oil sheikhs, oligarchs, and wealthy Chinese clientele, who appeared to favour ostentatious, expensive, branded 'bling' over genuine artistic merit.

It appears that only at the onset of the 21st century did these "haute joaillerie" brands begin to demonstrate signs of innovation once more, gradually moving away from their earlier emphasis on diamond-laden designs to embrace more original and artistic creations. Notably here is the interesting way Dior set the tone under the leading direction of Victoire de Castellane.

Interestingly, the Council of Rome around 1960 inadvertently contributed to the decline of silversmithing artistry. As the primary commissioner of silversmith work, the council's decision to simplify religious services resulted in less demand for elaborate silverwork.

Antique and Vintage Jewellery Lecture
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