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The craftsman
Vol. IV, No. 3 (June 1903)

Belknap, Henry W.
Jewelry and enamels,   pp. 178-180 ff. PDF (1.3 MB)


Page 178


Jewelry and Enamels
HENRY W. BELKNIP
N designs for jewels there has been, for many years, an appar-
     ent monotony of conception and a following of beaten paths,
     which have produced an almost complete lack of artistic feel-
     ing; while mere concrete value, by the use of stones of perfect
     form or color from the lapidary's point of view, has seemed
to be the end chiefly sought.
     To Ren6 Lalique, perhaps the greatest goldsmith the world
has ever known, and to his followers, we are indebted for a school
of workers, who, while often willing to use a gem of the finest qual-
ity, commercially speaking, if, by so doing, the design they have
conceived can be better carried out, are yet willing to employ an ir-
regular or off-color stone, not even necessarily a precious one, if
only it lend itself to the attainment of an artistic result.
     Probably in no other use has the so-called Art Nouveau lent
itself with happier effect than to this branch of work.
    In the jewels of Lalique one notes a most complete mastery of
technique, and a daring in the conception of his designs, which is
little short of marvellous. But there is, withal, a tendency to real-
ism in his treatment, which, however cunningly it may be em-
ployed, seems to lack the dignity a more conventional and reserved
style would attain.
    In this country, we have, at present, a considerable number of
individual craftsmen at work upon jewels, and the smaller articles
in metal which seem to be fittingly included in a review of this sub-
ject.
    One of the pioneers was Colonna, who for some years has been
busily designing in Paris, at the Maison Bing, and who has
produced many charming pieces; but it is more particularly with
those actually working here, and executing their designs with their
own hands that we are now concerned.
    Illustrations are given of a number of examples of the work
of Brainerd B. Thresher of Dayton, Ohio. Mr. Thresher has had
opportunities which do not come to many craftsmen, in the way of
travel in Japan, Europe, and other countries. He has profited
greatly by this and by the fact that he has been impelled to work
out his ideas by mere love of the craft, and not with thought of
remuneration.
178


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