RMIT Year 2, Semester 2, Jewellery #1

30 01 2012

Moving from the first to the second semester of my second year at RMIT….

Second year, second semester, Jewellery, project #1: ‘Gold

Unfortunately I seem to have misplaced the original project brief, though obviously it was to focus on Gold. Part of our background work on this project was to play around with various alloys of gold – making green gold (mixed with silver), red gold (with copper) and various carat alloys.

This was our main jewellery project for the semester, and I immersed myself in it with delight.

Initially I undertook a lot of reading about the place of gold in cultures. I found some interesting pieces of knowledge:

  • the Spanish plunder of gold from the ‘New World’ made me sad; “according to official reports of the Spanish colonial administration, about a century after the beginning of the conquest of America, 181 tons of gold and 16,000 tons of silver had been brought to Spain from American colonies” (‘El Dorado – Columbian Gold‘, p13; ISBN 0-7241-14130); the Inca also used gold ornaments to apply to their textiles
  • textiles of Ancient Greece were sometimes also adorned with ‘gold spangles’, and “some textiles even had very thin strips of gold woven into their wefts” (“Greek Gold: Jewellery of the Classical World“, ISBN 0-714-2202-5)
  • also, I remember reading somewhere that in Ancient Greece gold necklaces were made from set / standard weights of gold – so that the wearer knew exactly how much their piece was worth; it was a means of making wealth portable and able to be escaped with easily if needed (though I can no longer find where I read this)

It’s obvious that my interest was in the use of gold in textiles … a follow-on from the textile references of first year … gold thread embroidery (especially Chinese) … and the below image was my favourite of the time.

from my visual diary at the time; image from 'New Ideas in Goldwork', Tracy A Franklin; ISBN 0-7134-8780-1

My thoughts went into a kind of tangent at this point, into the beautiful detail of quilts … I’m not sure I can connect that to the gold embroidery though, at the time it was more of a parallel thought; my favourite at the time was from ‘Quilts of Provence‘ (ISBN: 0-500-01741-7; which became one of my favourite books).

image from visual diary; from 'Quilts of Provence', Kathryn Berenson, ISBN -0972369-0-1

After writing the above, I realise I’ve actually written about this project in a previous post: My gold brooches (5th October 2009).

Also, I shared some more images of the work in my 100th post (27th July 2009).

So instead of writing more about it, and risk repeating myself, I’ll share more images of the brooches.

gold brooch; image not to be reproduced without permission

group of gold brooches; image not to be reproduced without permission

And as you can probably tell, these are the brooches from which I’ve taken the banner of my blog:

MelbourneJeweller banner; image not to be reproduced without permission

… last post: RMIT Year 2, Semester 1, Theory #2


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