Diamond tennis bracelets and emerald earrings with a matching pendant are probably not on many birthday or Valentine's shopping lists this year. If you're looking for some new jewelry, here's a new, more affordable way to add to your jewelry collection. If you're not familiar with the eclectic and ethnic artisan jewelry, you should go take a look. You'll find the most interesting and lovely pieces at a fraction of the price of that diamond tennis bracelet. Artisan jewelry is handmade by individual artists who create unique, one-of-a-kind jewelry at relatively inexpensive prices.
So where do you find this handcrafted jewelry? Easy enough. Go to any of the crafts fairs to find at least a half dozen booths featuring artisan jewelry. You can meet the person who made the jewelry too. They're always happy to answer any questions you may have with respect to techniques, construction and stones used in any particular piece that catches your eye. Artisan jewelers live and breathe their craft, and are proud of their workmanship. Another good source of this type of jewelry is the small shops which stock unusual, upscale, ethnic jewelry and clothing.
Many other exciting possibilities await you online. Do an image search on Google – a search on 'artisan jewelry' turns up about 175,000 images, while 'ethnic jewelry' brings almost 240,000 images for you to browse. Some of these pieces are truly knockouts. Scroll through the images until you find a look or style you love – it won't take long! Then, just click through to the site and scout out what other items they have to offer. You'll probably find more items than you can afford at one time, so bookmark your favorite sites for an easy return. Artisan jewelry is also a big category on eBay.
Period pieces, such as Renaissance and Egyptian replications are a favorite with many artisan jewelry collectors. Lost wax casting is another technique favored by some artisan jewelers, producing magnificent effects and fairly ornate designs.
One particularly distinguishing characteristic of artisan jewelry is the unique combinations of materials. While beads are not expensive, an imaginative designer can create a stunning piece of jewelry at little cost. While a diamond pendant may not elicit a remark from anyone, your fabulously artistic beaded necklace is sure to draw notice and compliments, marking you as a trendy and fashionable dresser.
The same can be said of matching sets consisting of earrings, necklaces and bracelets. While most often made with semi-precious stones, the art is in the way the piece presents the stones.
Native American artisan jewelry is another ethnic style you'll want to take a look at in your searches. Native Americans have been making magnificent jewelry for many centuries. One item you should definitely check out is their watchbands. Talk about a conversation piece!
Be forewarned: once you start your collection, you might need to plan to buy a jewelry armoire to accommodate your collection of artisan jewelry.