History of Animal Motif Jewelry and the Jewelry of Laurie Stetzler

The_Reef_Views_PhotoFor anyone with a passion for jewelry, especially jewelry inspired by animals, collecting decorative art jewelry with animal motifs is a fascinating journey of discovery. From an early Cartier diamond-studded, gold panther reflecting this famous jeweler’s passion for form, abstraction, geometry and animals (the first Cartier panther ‘arrived’ in 1914 and a vibrant and exquisite parade of owls, eagles, pigs, giraffes, herons, and snakes followed)—to Celtic jewelry heaped in symbolism rife with boars (masculine power), bulls (virility, sovereignty and wealth), and dogs (archetypal symbols of shape-shifters) to the contemporary, animal-inspired, art jewelry by Laurie Stetzler—every mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian, marine animal, insect and arachnid one can possibly imagine has been represented in artfully-crafted jewelry throughout the ages, in every culture and society.

Antique & Vintage Animal Jewelry

Both sentimentality and symbolism were major elements in Victorian jewelry. In the late 1800s, Darwin’s controversial theories on evolution, as well as new, exciting botanical discoveries of the day piqued interest in the natural world. Personal adornment reflected these new interests, with jewelry created in the forms of insects and animals. Combining our love of antique and vintage jewelry collecting along with animal motifs, there is a cornucopia of animal delights from the Georgian and Victorian (Early Victorian and Romantic Era) eras from which to choose. It was a time when jewelry could be read like books; the design so poignantly expressing the giver’s feelings and hopes. For example, dogs symbolized fidelity, butterflies symbolized the soul, salamanders and lizards symbolized passionate love. Look for beautiful, gem-set butterflies, enameled beetles, silver monkeys and even lovely, golden house flies. Throughout the years, some of these same creatures have been used over and over again, incorporating the styles and workmanship of the Victorian era.

Contemporary Animal Jewelry

For the discriminating collector of unique, handmade contemporary art jewelry, award-winning jewelry designer, Laurie Stetzler, meticulously crafts animal art jewelry that reflects her love of animals, and her compassion and reverence for all life and the natural world. Her extraordinary body of work incorporates exquisite animal motifs, dragons, mermaids, feminist/goddess themes, mythology, masks, unicorns and more. Her fabulous "Leopard Pin" is reminiscent of the Art Deco era. Others, such as the dramatic "Roebuck Earrings and Necklace" are from mythology. Her enchanting interpretation of the Bear Totem, Coyote Totem and Horse Totem in sets of earrings and bolas, is crafted in sterling silver and natural "Sleeping Beauty" turquoise. Her whimsical, "Cats on the Couch", and all her animal motif and other sophisticated jewelry pieces are masterfully made by Laurie, from the original design to the finished piece. From hand-carving precious metal, cutting rare gemstones and hand-setting them, to lost wax casting and other techniques that are supremely difficult and take years to master, Laurie Stetzler has been making jewelry and doing lapidary since she was sixteen years old. She is inspired by what she calls the "Spirit of the Universe", and most interested in interpreting the beauty of life, both the spiritual and the manifest.

Not surprisingly, Laurie Stetzler has always been interested in the technical aspects of jewelry. Working with precious metals offers her the freedom of artistic expression. She views her jewelry not merely as personal adornment, but a powerful way in which she connects to those who wear her creations, drawing energies, healing and hope. Laurie has shown her work in many national juried competitions, is carried in many national art galleries, and has also exhibited in Japan. Her work is a must-see for jewelry collectors who appreciate the artistic sensibility behind a true work of wearable art. Check out this gorgeous piece: http://lauriestetzler.com/The_Reef_Neck_piece/ Visit Laurie Stetzler's site at http://www.lauriestetzler.com

All Rights Reserved Copyright Susan Dorling

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