Is ‘jewellery’ an over-used term?

29 12 2011

Recently I was watching day-time television – one of the perks / tortures of being on holidays – and I half-noticed an advertisement for what I thought was being called ‘thong jewellery’. Now, I wasn’t sure if I got that right (surely not), so to Google I went.

The first site that pops up when searching that particular term is Frostings. Yes: “the highest quality fashion jewellery for simple (and interchangeable!) attachment to your average thong“. [For the international readers, ‘thong’ in Australia is a casual footware and are more often referred to as flip-flops in other countries – phew, we don’t want any confusion here.] So, okay, ‘jewellery’ for footware (kinda cute, I could see my nieces getting into that).

I’ve also noticed (but tried to block it out) ‘glass jewellery’ or ‘wine glass charms’. They’re put around the stem of a wine glass, so you know which one is yours if you put it down.

randomly selected image from internet

Oh dear lord – the indignity of the clanking as you drink!

Do these uses of the word “jewellery” cause you concern? I was getting pretty annoyed with them personally, so thought I’d check dictionaries first… definitions include:

    1. articles of gold, silver, precious stones, etc., for personal adornment.
    2. any ornaments for personal adornment, as necklaces or cuff links, including those of base metals, glass, plastic, or the like.
  • Wikipedia:
    a form of personal adornment, such as brooches, rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets.
    The word jewellery itself is derived from the word jewel, which was anglicized from the Old French “jouel”, and beyond that, to the Latin word “jocale”, meaning plaything.
  • Cambridge Dictionary:
    decorative objects worn on your clothes or body which are usually made from valuable metals, such as gold and silver, and precious stones
  • Merriam-Webster:
    ornamental pieces (as rings and necklaces) worn on the person
  • Macmillan:
    objects that you wear as decoration. Types of jewellery include rings, which you wear on your finger, bracelets, which you wear on your wrist, and necklaces, which you wear around your neck
  • Reverso:
    objects that are worn for personal adornment, such as bracelets, rings, necklaces, etc., considered collectively
  • Illustrated Dictionary of Jewellery, quoted by this site:
    any decorative article, including any jewel, that is made of metal, gemstones or certain organic materials, of high quality and with artistry or superior craftsmanship and intended to be worn or carried on the person for personal adornment or, in the broader sense of the term, used by a person for some purpose closely identified with his convenience or pleasure rather than only for a utilitarian purpose
  • I’m sad that to access the Macquarie and Oxford English Dictionaries one needs to subscribe

So a general consensus that it is personal adornment, on body or clothes (remembering that the English monarchy loved little gems on their clothing) … so does that mean the ‘thong jewellery’ is perfectly fine?

The last definition quoted is interesting as it includes the possibility of carrying the item … though ‘carried on the person’ probably excludes ‘glass jewellery’ right?

Maybe I’m just a snob with the word ‘jewellery’? Maybe I need to relax and enjoy the evolution of the English language as it changes and adapts over time…

Then I thought … jewellery for pets … yes, it’s possible. A few sites caught my eye, with fancy collars and leads and pendants (for the collar, naturally). I can kind of understand decorating these objects, for even the bridles of the celtic warriors were adorned with magnificent work of goldsmiths (though I’m not convinced they called the pieces ‘horse jewellery’). The objects I’ve seen are restricted to cats and dogs …I was going to mention the menagerie of jewellery-lacking pets, and the possibilities of jewellery beyond the mere collar … but I best stop before I get carried away.

Next thing we hear about will be ‘house jewellery’ … no people, that’s called decorating. Plant jewellery? Car jewellery? Surely not…

Chairs. I want to know more.

28 12 2011

My beautiful chairs were deconstructed recently – as I posted.

In this state, I noticed they’re stamped with numbers (in the middle of the front piece on the base):

chair 10

chair 16

This intrigues me. I want to know more.

All I know is that their Danish – well, they were bought in Denmark (by Ed from Grandfathers Axe) recently. We think they’re between Art Deco and Modernist … maybe more mid-century, maybe not even Danish.

beautiful ... bringing sexy back ... yeah!

I wonder how many were made…
I wonder who the maker was…
I wonder how I can find out more ….

I did a little bit of reading a found a similar shaped chair, perhaps a precedent, attributed to the Scandinavian Art Deco period [here] … but I want to know more!

Update (29th December): I emailed the store with the similar shaped chair and they replied in super-speedy time (how great is that!). Their advice is that my chairs are likely Danish and from around 1930-55. Cool! Though my investigation continues….

Interwebs reading habits

28 12 2011

I thought it’d be funny to see what my interwebs reading habits are like. I use Firefox and it holds memory of the regularly used sites and pre-empts as I type …  if I type in a single letter, these are the sites suggested (of those most recently visited) …

A : Animals talking in all caps & ABC news

B : Bureau of Meteorology & BBC news

D : Dictionary (I like to spell stuff)

E : e.g.etal

F : (almost embarrassed) Facebook

G : Google mail (of course!) & The Goldensmith (David Neale) & Grandfathers Axe (I kind of stalk this site!)

H : Hotmail (yes, lots of emailling!)

K : Katherine Wheeler & Katherine Bowman & Katie Jayne Britchford

L : Lucy Hearn

M : my blog Melbourne Jeweller & Maker Wearer Viewer (Zoe Brand)

P : Pieces of Eight & Peaches + Keen

Q : Qantas (I like flying places)
: Readings (I like books)

S : Stuff my Girlfriend Says (it’s a little bit naughty sometimes)

T : The Age (I like the news)

U : unhappyhipsters

V : Vetti Live in Northcote

Of course, I still regularly read the blogs and sites on my Links Page … but not as often as I look at the above ones it seems.

That’s all for now.

Jewellery workshop

26 12 2011

Some excellent jewellery focussed workshops are being planned for 2012.

This one was on Anna Davern’s blog and information was also sent to me by the coordinator at Fibre Arts Australia.

Now you may not usually consider Fibre Arts to be a jewellery kind of thing – but you’d be wrong on this occasion!!

—- (info from Fibre Arts Australia site) —-

Art Jewellery @ The Winter School

Dates: 30th June – 5th July 2012
Where: Ballarat
Enrolment by: 1st March 2012

Workshop teachers:

BOWMAN Katherine, AUSTRALIA: Wax carving and casting including casting from nature

DAVERN Anna, AUSTRALIA:  Jewellery from sublimation printed metal and plastic

DOREMUS Sarah, USA: Kinetic Jewellery

GUINEY Caz, AUSTRALIA: Location based jewellery making 

HASH Arthur, USA:  Up cycling/ Design challenge

LIMB Ali, AUSTRALIA: Design and make simple contemporary jewellery pieces.  

PFEIFER Hilary, USA:  the playful object | ssǝɔoɹd lnɟʎɐld ǝɥ

SIMON Marjorie, USA: The Essentials of Torch-Fired Enamel

TAVERN Amy, USA: The Whole Jewel


workshop media; from Anna Davern's post; click on image for original source

Sounds a-maz-ing. I just may consider going myself … though you know I’m not so magnificent in workshops … this does sound great though…

“Bring back beautiful”

24 12 2011

There has been an interesting development in the world of LEGO. Seriously.

Why do I care? Because LEGO was one of my favourite playthings when I was little, and I consider it “making”.

Controversy has been stirred by the release of a new ‘girly’ range – including figures with sort-of-little-boobies. See this news article for more.

There are quite a number of aspects of the backlash I totally agree with – especially if LEGO was excited about the new colour range (which they have said repeatedly in the defence of the range), then why not just introduce a new colour range in their traditional range of bricks and body shapes …

This old-school advert is being used in the response … it’s just gorgeous!

media image; for original source click on image

I checked out the facebook page mentioned in the news article – an interesting comment that caught my eye was “remember how well the Lego Jewellery line went?“. What? LEGO jewellery? To the interwebs to investigate…

There’s nothing on the official LEGO website. There’s one news story from last year, though no image; one here with an image; oh and another new story with a more extensive image, reproduced below.

media image; click on image for original source

The trouble with searching for LEGO jewellery (as in that made by the company), is that the blocks are so iconic that they are regularly used in jewellery by many others – making pieces for quirk and fun.

Anyway, back to the original point … I realise that companies need to evolve their product lines to make profit and to continually access niche market pockets (I mean this is only one of their huge range, include a whole bunch of movie-related products) …  perhaps the story just made me feel a little nostalgic, especially the image, and the recollection of the joy of spreading out huge box of LEGO pieces on the floor and playing innocently with my brother for hours (until one of us knocked over the other’s construction in ire because they took the block you wanted …. ah memories!).

Update (27th December): an opinion piece has also been written about this here

Update (28th December): I’ve been watching the debate (especially on the Facebook page) and find it interesting to think about. There is an exceptional degree of vitriol and gender-stereotyping accusations being thrown around.

I don’t like the new collection, but so what? I don’t like almost all of the various ‘specialty’ collections that have been released over the years either. I’m more of a classic-bricks kind of girl. The classics are still being produced. The other collections are ‘options’, not replacements; and are there to make the company money. If they keep making money, they’ll keep producing the classics (hopefully!).

Some of the ‘feedback’ to LEGO includes “go back to what works” … but we can’t go back to the 80s! And besides that, this isn’t the only ‘diversion’ from the classics that LEGO has made, they’ve been evolving their collections for years.

The more interesting issue is perhaps not the product but the marketing … and with the wide ‘news’ coverage, LEGO is getting lots of that for free. There seems to be criticism for the recent ‘exclusive’ gender-specific marketing and lack of the ‘inclusive’ gender-specific (as seen in the 80s) … that, I think I can agree with (though it must be said, I’m no expert in the LEGO marketing of the last three decades, so maybe I’ve missed stuff!).

I’m still going to buy the classic brick sets for the children I know, and still not buy the themed sets – nothing’s changed here. On reflection, I’m not sure why people are getting their knickers in a knot – you can choose what you spend your money on; and children may be influenced by marketing, though aren’t parents the most important influence in their development?

[ps. the title of this post is in reference to the catch-cry being used in the media … ]

Update (29th December): okay, last thought on this topic … if this is the first and only time LEGO have changed the body shape (except for aliens in their ranges; it’s true), then I am not happy. I don’t know if it is the first time, if it’s been done before, if there are non-classic boy shapes too; and I’m really not going to start to research that now, it’s not that important to me! But as I said, last thought on the topic.

Chairs. Deconstructed.

24 12 2011

My new favourite home objects are my beautiful chairs … Danish, thought to be 40s or so, perhaps earlier, perhaps on the cross-over between Art Deco and Modernism…

The upholstery is the original, an amazing apple/acid green, gorgeous though difficult to capture in photographs well.

The woodwork is beautiful when the cushions are all off …

my beautiful chairs

They’re low and smaller than you would imagine from the image … I adore them.

‘Top posts’ for 2011

23 12 2011

As I did this time last year, I thought it would be a bit of fun to see what were the ‘top posts’ were in 2011.

Excluding ‘Home Page’ and other pages, the top 10 posts with the most ‘clicks’ during 2011 were:

Most popular posts since I started writing (March 2009):

I’m looking forward to a busy 2012 writing more… happy reading!