I have been dappling with the concepts of preciousness and value for a while and after recently reading a section of the book Jewellery of or time-art, ornament and obsession (Helen W. Drutt English and Peter Dormer / Thames and Hudson) I think I am arriving at a deeper understanding of how things acquire value, and how it relates to my work.
The way I see it is that any material in its raw state or form is of absolutely no value, it acquires its value through other influences and therefore its value fluctuates in accordance to what value man applies to it.
Think of it this way- take a ‘precious’ metal such as gold. Only once a purpose was found for the raw material, and its qualities it could produce when refined through different processes did it become of some value. And when it became a comodoty in numerous forms (namely jewellery) that people were attracted to and delighted in, it’s value increased.
Yes, value can also be aquired by the rarity of something, but what is it that decides rarity is precious? Is it one’s desire to have the ‘only’ of something, and why? Do we need to find our own value and individuality in holding the individuality of something else?
What is it about owning something that no one else has that is so attractive?
In the book I mentioned above it is stated, ‘…it is people who make materials what they are…they learn that certain materials can be worked upon to produce effects that they, and others, gain much pleasure from. Jewelers, of all craftspeople…know how much they must bring to a material to make it precious…In this sense the preciousness of jewelery is a part of its content.‘