Contemporary and classical style: two ways of conceptualising jewellery
Contemporary jewellery is established as an artistic style capable of creating pieces that contribute to the expression and identity of people
After thousands of years of history, jewellery has gradually evolved, as have its styles and characteristics. The origins of jewellery date back to the human beings’ need to distinguish themselves and produce their own identity. In this sense, the jewellery styles that have appeared throughout history are many and diverse. If we understand jewellery as another artistic expression, the currents and forms that can be produced are innumerable. However, we can identify two currents of highly differentiated conceptual art in modern jewellery: classical and contemporary style.
We understand classical jewellery as the type of jewellery that adheres to parameters of tradition. Historically, in the west we connect the classical concept with the periods of Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire. In the case of jewellery, the classical style is linked to perfection and the canons of beauty and ostentation. So, generally speaking, we can define classical jewellery as those pieces of jewellery where the materials are the main focus and with standardised designs which, with the passing of time, have not gone out of fashion.
However, the history of jewellery experienced a turning point at the end of the 19th and early 20th century, with the arrival of Art-Nouveau. With the appearance of this current of artistic renewal, for the first time in jewellery, the creativity of the jeweller began to be more appreciated than the raw material of the pieces. This meant a revolution in the canons of beauty used in jewellery until then. Jewellery designs began to introduce criteria of rationality, functionality and clarity. Contemporary jewellery thus appeared.
Contemporary jewellery throughout history
From the late-19th century, jewellery took on a more creative character, focused on the functionality of the item of jewellery. During the 20th century, contemporary jewellery was also influenced by Art Deco. Artisan jewellers began to go for functional jewellery and create pieces capable of adapting different expressions according to the person wearing them.
The firms and manufacturers of classical European jewellery began to see the need to evaluate the impact of the new perspectives that contemporary jewellery offered. And from the fifties, this artistic current grew. But the history of contemporary jewellery cannot be understood without the role that signature jewellery has always played. Contemporary jewellery comes from the creativity of the artisan jeweller, resulting in functional works, converging art with design and craftsmanship.
In the second half of the 20th century contemporary jewellery took a further step in its form of expression. A step that sought to create unusual pieces capable of expressing itself with universal values. With this new current, contemporary jewellery endeavoured to return to the origins of jewellery: to generate symbolic values through aesthetic designs.
Majoral’s commitment to contemporary style
The capacity of contemporary jewellery to transmit is one of Majoral’s raisons d’être. Since his early days, Enric Majoral has conceptualised his work as a creative, conceptual and artistic contribution in contemporary jewellery. Crystallising the essential and Mediterranean beauty in pieces of contemporary jewellery has always been Majoral’s obsession.
Understanding jewellery as an artisanal creation capable of extracting the beauty of the forms involves giving meaning to the pieces of jewellery. At Majoral our intention is for our collections to stand up for themselves as artistic objects that transform into jewellery on people’s skins. A contribution to the expression and identity of each of us.