When World War II ended the world entered an era of renewed interest in the areas of artistic and leisurely pursuits. During this time Georg Jensen and other jewelry designers propagated the concept of wearable art.
The introduction of new materials, such as plastics, precious metal clay, along with new coloring techniques, led to an explosion in the area of style variation. Improved techniques in the area of pearl harvesting, and improvements in the quality of artificial gemstones, positioned jewelry within the economic means of a greater percentage of the modern day population.
With the approaching 20th century, jewelry dabbled with blending oriental techniques into European design. The bling-bling style of jewelry was popularized by hip-hop and rap artists in the early 21st century.
Artisan jewelry, also known as art jewelry, continues to grow and grow not only as a hobby, but as a profitable profession. In the United States, there are 17 periodicals about beading alone. A low initial cost expands the popularity of this venture. The Metropolitan Museum in New York showcases some fine examples of artisan jewelry.
Body Modification Jewelry
This type of jewelry is often fairly plain…with the use of rings, earrings, and simple silver studs encompassing this form of art. In Myanmar Padaung women place large golden rings around their necks. Girls as young as 5 are introduced to their first ring, and as they grow older, more rings are added. This can continue until about twenty-plus pounds of rings are situated around their necks. Lip plates are worn by the Sara people (ethnic group in Central Africa) and the African Mursi. Some South American peoples utilize lip plates as well.
Many cultures use jewelry as a temporary body modifier. In some cases hooks or other objects are placed into the skin of the recipient. This practice, often carried out in tribal groups, has worked its way into the culture of the west. Jewelry shops that revel in the extreme has sprung up, catering to those individuals who would like to have spikes or large hooks incorporated into their skin. More often than not, these hooks are used with pulleys, and together this mechanism will hoist the individual into the atmosphere. Said to give the person an erotic feeling, some have even gone as far as to have marriage ceremonies performed while suspended by these hooks.
The Modern Market for Jewelry
The largest jewelry market in the world is that of the United States. It has a market share of 30.8%. The countries of China, India, Japan, and the Middle East each comprise 8-9% of the worldwide jewelry market, while India comprises just 5%.