The Arts & Crafts movement is interesting because it was both an artistic and a social movement.
Coinciding with, or rather reacting to the industrial revolution, the designer and socialist William Morris created a movement founded in the belief that industry dehumanized men and removed their creativity. Revolting against technology and the machine age, he advocated returning to a more holistic way of creation, by forming Medieval type guilds.
In this philosophical spirit, he advocated hand made jewelry that was created by one designer from start to finish. He emphasized the beauty of design over the wealth of the materials and chose to find beauty in imperfection.
In this artistic spirit he drew inspiration from nature—creating pieces natural, abstract and sometimes symbolic. Eschewing diamonds and rubies, he mounted lapis, turquoise, moonstone, carnelian, blister pearls, amethyst, peridot, malachite, opal and ivory in silver, copper and brass. Enameling was also very popular.
Like most movements, it could not remain entirely uncommercial. Liberty, a London shop, commissioned designers to create beautiful pieces in the Arts & Crafts style with an emphasis on design rather than material. These pieces were made by machine and finished by hand. All are stamped with the name Liberty, and though not as authentic to the original ethos of the Arts & Crafts movement, they are, still, fantastically beautiful works of art.
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