subtler jewelry dynamics
Gray has a photo-file archive of all the pieces in her shop. I’ve become the chief manager of these archives, which involves processing and labeling new pieces and adding them to the live inventory files. It also involves periodically cross-checking our sales books (Quick Books in this case) in order to relabel and transfer images of pieces sold to the sold books.
I enjoy the process. It’s one that can be quickly mastered, honed to a zipping mechanical perfection, like cooking or banjo. Like the Halal guys in the carts on the corners in midtown do, whipping lamb meat in pita up in a handful of perfectly-efficient seconds of prep, men simultaneously flurries of action and centers of zen peace. Look at their hands and you see a storm and a dance: blink and you’ll miss it. But look at their faces and you see perfect calm, comfortable confidence. Disinterest, even. Masters of their repetition.
Narration. A critical point of learning occurs this morning. This morning I am labeling a dozen new mounts and incomplete rings to be sorted into our production systems. The first several steps of our process are mine. Well, Gray makes the initial decision and purchase, makes the interaction with the vendor or hawker, agents both private and commercial. In the case where decision depends more on stones then on antiquity, she will confer with Ali. After that, I take over. It’s a somewhat tedious and mundane process to explain, but this epiphany came as a result of a new understanding of ring form and function. A realization on the dynamic of design and purpose.
Our rings get separated into wedding bands and engagement rings or mounts. This distinction is most apparent by examining a sampling of either group. As probably all women already know, and some more custom-savvy men, most engagement rings are designed to be a spectacle, to create a wow-factor. In terms of design this can mean an odd number of stones to create symmetry, or a single ‘solitare’ stone of great size or quality, or any other ring that demonstrates real impression or emphasis. Obviously, this is because of the role of the engagement ring, to provoke a strong positive emotional response, both in the immediate sense and in the longer-sighted logical decision sense: holy shit! look at that stone!’ and then ‘wow, he really loves me and wants to commit to US this much”. Shock, and awe. Kinda brings Milton Friedman or Niomi Klein to mind, but that may just be cynical residual from learning recently about De Beers coup of the ritual. Another story.
Alternatively, a wedding band is typically uniform, symmetrical while creating a subtler message: Commitment. Intent. Conscious long-sightedness (or so we hope). In structure, this is demonstrated by either a plain or simple hoop of gold or platinum (some heavy and precious metal, which carries it’s own obvious messages), a half hoop of uniform stones mounted on the upper side of a simple base, or what’s called an ‘infinity band’ which is a full circle of stones.
It’s this newfound, multidisciplinary distinction involving philosophy, design, and psychology. Craftsmen, lovers and culture.