The excitement of travel, the memories of experiences in distant places, the increased sensitivity in the approach to different cultures, now lead us to look at the expression of ethnicity in a new way. We turn the world and the world turns around us. And with him, also ideas, things, taste and style do the same. The "tendency to ethnic" comes to us directly, through the African, Oriental, Indians jewels who are handly in specialized shops and in the bustling markets, or filtered by the taste of young goldsmiths designers who look at "ethnic" with an interested attention.
Beyond fashion, this rediscovery passes the superficial concept of "exotic object" highlighting an endless world of forms, materials and techniques. These are reread through a different light and filtered by the Western taste, bringing as a result an original syncretism. The charm evoked by the jewel on ethnic goldsmith designer is that of the purity of lines, of the use of unusual materials, sometimes poor or easy to find in nature, such as wood, seeds, shells, glass, and extremely flexible, and that suggest unusual matches and combinations.Increasingly, the production of contemporary jewelry designers offers clean or primitive, naive or meticulous jewels. The search for essential finds an harmonious meeting in the call of the nature. Combinations and joints of old and multiform shells, remember the jewelry of the tribes of the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia and the Hawaiian Islands. The coral torchones, with added elements in bronze or silver, lost-wax casting, are similar to those worn by women in Nagaland, on the border between India and Burma.
Even the techniques of realization of ethnic jewelry are seductive and pass through manual processes, which require direct contact between hands and matter, nature and talent. The desire to design new jewelry is revived with the ancient wisdom of folk handicraft. The lost-wax casting, or the beating of 22-karat gold leaf, granulation and filigree, which are already widely used techniques in our ancient jewelry tradition, are taken now to make necklaces, pendants and earrings with geometric or baroque shapes.The ethnic ornament links together the symbolism of the animal, vegetable, mineral world and the human body, the power of colors and forms, that of numbers, of astrology, the universe of "virtue" of omens, characters, moods, beliefs and therapeutic, magic and religious practices of a culture. So some designers use materials that contain archetype meanings common to different cultures (coral and amber, associated with blood, fire and earth, are linked to Asian and North African people, who are catalysts of protective and magical powers), the dzi stones (striped agates to which the Tibetans assign positive spiritual benefits), as well as elements and forms borrowed from the Eastern or Islamic culture, such as the symbol of the waxing moon, the sun circle, jades carved with apotropaic and auspicious symbols.
Autore: Cristina Del Mare
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