National Jeweler Network

Market Developments

Conference to explore jewelry history, techniques

April 24, 2014

Bellevue, Wash.--The history, science and artistry of fine jewelry will be explored at the Northwest Jewelry Conference in August, with jewelry historians and industry professionals holding presentations and seminars.

The second annual conference is scheduled for Aug. 15 to 17 (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) at the Northwest Gemological Institute in Bellevue.

On Aug. 15 after a reception, jewelry historian Diana Singer will present “What Makes Good ‘Good,’”, where she will discuss stone quality, workmanship issues and the components of a good design, including mathematical principles, color usage and negative and positive space.

On Aug. 16, Singer and fellow jewelry historian Peter Shemonsky will cover the history of Tiffany & Co. including its innovations, designs and imposters. The presentation is the launch of conference organizers’ plans to cover one major jewelry house in depth at each conference.

Another planned yearly session is “Another Time and Place,” also scheduled for Aug. 16, that offers a 360-degree look at the influences, developments and transitions within a slice of jewelry history. This year, Shemonsky will examine 1890 to 1905 and the political, socio-economic and technical influences that shaped the 20th century and the jewelry associated with it.

Also presenting on Saturday will be Al Gilbertson, cut historian at the Gemological Institute of America, and Scott Sucher, principal of The Stonecutter, which provides museums with replicas of famous diamonds. Gilbertson and Sucher will explore “The Evolution of Diamond Cutting,” a comprehensive history that will include physical replicas of the world’s most famous diamonds.

Karen Lorne, owner of Facèré Jewelry Art in Seattle, will hold “Jewelry as Art” on Saturday, taking a look at designers who create jewelry for artistry sake rather over intrinsic value and how that jewelry is evaluated.

Closing Saturday’s schedule would be a pearl stringing demonstration with Evie Chung, where attendees can see what happens when a strand is submitted for re-stringing. Chung also will demonstrate a traditional Japanese hand-knotting technique and discuss stringing options and restoration of period pearl strands.

Sunday will focus on workshops, beginning with “What is it?” led by Shemonsky, with examples and testing procedures for the many organics and their substitutes used in jewelry.

Following up will be “Where is it From?,” an interactive presentation and hands-on hallmarks workshop with antiquarian jeweler William Whetstone and antique jewelry appraiser Dasia Niklewicz.

“This is an information-dense weekend,” said Ted Irwin, director of the NGI and conference host. “Our intent is to bring world-class speakers to a small group environment … it does provide an opportunity for those passionate about period jewelry to explore the topic at home in the Pacific Northwest.”

The cost of a conference ticket is $595 and includes the reception, conference sessions, and breakfast and lunch.

Registration and additional conference information can be found on the Northwest Jewelry Conference website.