Fine art jewelry can be divided into three categories: jewelry that is formed from metal, jewelry that is strung on a wire or thread and a third, less common, category of jewelry made from fiber. Examples of metal formed jewelry include rings, bracelets, choker necklaces, pendants and brooches that might have been formed by casting, heating or bending the metal. Fine art jewelry that is strung on wire or thread can be constructed from a variety of materials, including gemstones, glass, fused glass or common stone. Almost any type of jewelry can be made by stringing, including necklaces, earrings, bracelets and rings. The designer is limited only by his or her imagination.
The maker of metal art jewelry can use either precious metals, such as gold and silver, or a common metal, such as copper. Jewelry designers who work in metal are often familiar with a variety of techniques, which include cutting, bending, assembling metal and casting. Metal can be heated, joined and hammered to create texture. The designer can add enamel or set gems or other materials into the jewelry piece. He or she might also use thick, flexible wire to form different shapes and types of jewelry.
Many contemporary jewelry designers create pieces by stringing together elements such as beads and pendants. Beads usually are thought of as being small and round, but beads can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some beads are very large.
Beads can be made from many types of materials, including glass, bone, crystal, pearl and acrylic. Among the other materials out of which beads might be made are wood, shells, clay, fiber and paper. After the designer chooses the beads for stringing, he or she must create a pattern that is pleasing. Beads are strung together by using a needle and thread or wire.
The making of beadwork jewelry, or "beading," is a popular hobby. Many magazines about beading are available, and bead enthusiasts can also visit bead shows or go online to purchase various types of beads from around the world. Many of these enthusiasts like to sell their handmade jewelry, so it is possible to find custom jewelry at prices that are more reasonable than those found at expensive boutiques and major art festivals.
Fiber jewelry is a more esoteric category of fine art jewelry. The flexibility of fiber materials, such as yarn, hemp, felt and silk, make it suitable for some custom jewelry designers. Fiber can be woven or twisted into necklaces and bracelets. Artists often combine fiber jewelry with other materials such as shells or beads.
Designers who make handmade fine art accessories typically focus on the aesthetic elements that are important to all works of art, including line, shape, color, value and texture. Fine art jewelry is prized by many collectors for its artistic quality and one-of-kind appeal. Like other fashion accessories, contemporary fine art jewelry can be an expression of savvy and taste in fashion.