Brooches: Contemporary Art Jewelry Staple?


Since entering the world of art jewelry, I have struggled with validity of the Brooch. For one, throughout history, brooches have never been a common adornment for men. In their early days, brooches were used as a functional object which held garments in place. Functionality eventually gave way to pure adornment. However, whether it was serving a functional purpose or simply to adorn the body brooches have been incorporated into wardrobes for thousands of years. (For some great examples of brooches throughout history, visit here.)

In a new world of alternative materials, techniques and concepts in jewelry making, how valid is the brooch? When I began making jewelry, I noticed that the brooch seemed to be a staple in many accomplished art jewelers collections. I wondered whether it was simply a long standing prerequisite or if brooches were actually something appreciators sought. During my research I came across an exhibition featuring brooches at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art curated by Jan Katz. According to Katz, "Brooches are a small sculpture, a small canvas but a big statement." Katz organized the show Brooching the Subject : One of a Kind. I can connect my work to the way in which Katz explains arts jewelry as "... not [being] prized for the weight of the stones or the value of the metals. It's prized for the sculptural or narrative quality, or just its beauty." 

Art jewelry goes beyond crafted adornments because the emphasis is not placed on the value of the material but on the value of the concepts. This gives artists freedom to create something more personally meaningful and with more intention. In a way the wearer is the canvas and the brooch, a masterpiece that may express a mood, a feeling or a facet of the adorner who consciously chooses to let it become an extension of their existence. 

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It just so happens, that at the moment, brooches are trendy for men. Are you man enough? View this blog on the brooches for men trend

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