What Is Artisan Made?


By Alexa Martha Butler

When the Label Says ARTISAN, What Does That Mean?
Artisan is Not a Label

The authentic meaning and application of artisan leads to a simpler time when people took pride in their craft: It’s about special and unique. It's about being able to make useable, wearable sellable things with your hands. 

As you know from my About Me Video...I grew up in a German family where the father was a jewelry designer/goldsmith working from his home business.

Today, the draw for real artisan products is born out of a movement deriding overly processed, mass-produced jewelry linked to big corporations. Manufacturers, attempting to ride the wave of this movement by stamping artisan on their products, are hoping it will suggest that what’s inside is higher quality—even premium.


Hammered Copper Hammered Open Bangle 3- Pack by Alexa Martha Designs

 Artisan is not a label. Marketers are attempting to use artisan to suggest value-oriented, premium in a down market economy. Just as natural became organic and moved beyond to local (due to its link to nature). Artisan has become a Trend

Artisan jewelry is custom made by a highly skilled craftsman. It is sold on the Internet, in local markets and jewelry stores around the world. This jewelry is made from many different types of materials, and some pieces are made from a combination of materials. These materials are often the best and highest quality in the world.


Artisans often work with metals and gemstones that are native to a certain area. The native materials change from region to region. In some countries a prospective buyer will find beaded jewelry, and it others jewelry pieces that are made from gemstones and fine metals.

Child Abuse Prevention Bracelet by Alexa Martha Designs

An individual who crafts this type of jewelry is an artist, but is often referred to as an artisan. According to the dictionary an artisan is a person who is skilled in an applied art, and is also called a craftsperson. The word artisan originates from the Italian word artigiano, which means a person who is trained in arts and crafts. All jewelry artisan crafted items are functional, decorative or both and of high quality.Pink Magnesite Wire Sculpted Copper Swirl Necklace

Artisan jewelry is known to have existed as far back as 7000 BCE. These first handcrafted ornaments, necklaces, bracelets, rings and earrings were made of gold and copper. They were often sculpted to depict human and animal forms. Today handmade jewelry is made of metals, gemstones, beads and many other materials. Every piece of handmade jewelry looks and feels unique.

As a result of this uniqueness, custom handmade jewelry pieces can have a high price and a high monetary value. The inflated price not only reflects the individuality of each piece, but it also shows the high quality of the materials that are used to make each item. The best materials combined with the distinctive look of artisan jewelry pieces have even landed some items in museum exhibits around the world.

Artisan jewelry is not just unique, it is durable and strong. It is ideal to wear for any occasion. While each piece of artisan jewelry is a one-of-a kind piece, it is not personalized unless it is made to order. Some jewelry designers will craft a piece of custom jewelry for a special order. Special orders allow anyone to personally choose a gift for any type of person. A gift of artisan jewelry is unique, high quality and beautiful, and anyone is sure to enjoy it.

One can argue that a per­son who makes things from wire and sheet metal is also using mate­ri­als that are pre-formed since the artist did not make the wire or sheet metal from ore, so in a sense the word “hand­made” applies equally to both kinds of prod­ucts. But I would argue that there is in fact a world of dif­fer­ence between string­ing beads–to take one example—and forg­ing a metal bracelet from sheet, because the skill sets are vastly different.

A bead stringer may pro­duce an orig­i­nal prod­uct, in the sense that the pre­cise com­bi­na­tion of beads in the design has never been seen before (not hard to accept due to the enor­mous vari­ety of beads avail­able.) But the method, the string­ing itself, relies on a sim­ple set of oper­a­tions: putting a wire or cord through a hole in a bead and attach­ing a pur­chased find­ing (such as a clasp or pin) to fin­ish the piece. In many cases, a piece of jew­elry pro­duced this way car­ries the label “handmade.”

By con­trast, an arti­san who forges a piece of flat metal into a sculp­tural shape must have a more com­plete knowl­edge base, such as how metal moves when stretched or com­pacted and how dif­fer­ent metal alloys behave when heated or hammered—and must have mas­tered the tech­niques for con­trol­ling the shape of the form. The more knowl­edge the arti­san has, the more advanced the result­ing form can be, and the process of learn­ing can be end­less. This is why it seems ludi­crous to me to apply the word “hand­made” to both prod­ucts equally.

When eval­u­at­ing a piece of jew­elry , con­sider the skills and knowl­edge that go into its mak­ing. Some­times it’s not easy to see, but if you look care­fully you can usu­ally detect dif­fer­ences.

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