Jewelry Television and JTV.com is excited to introduce the Barbara Garwood Collection--a special event featuring exotic jewelry designs handcrafted in the traditional Mongolian art form. Tune in for these special showings on Thursday, November 19th at 11am, 6pm and 8pm (Eastern) or watch us live at jtv.com/live.
Meet Jewelry Designer Barbara Garwood
Barbara Garwood initially began her career in textile design in New York City, and later worked as an interior designer. Her next career move took her to Europe, Autstralia and Hong Kong as a consultant in specialty textiles. While she was in Hong Kong, she discovered a beautiful jewelry making technique. She fell in love with the intricate designs and bought a few pieces for her own personal use. She soon was astounded by the attention and compliments she received from people who admired her jewelry whenever she wore it.
She later returned to Hong Kong and, with the help of an interpreter, searched for the craftsmen responsible for the intricately designed jewelry she had come to love. Her journey took her to a small village near Chinese Mongolia. She soon learned that the jewelry art form dates back more than 1,000 years! Intrigued by the craftsmanship and beauty of the Mongolian jewelry art, Barbara struck a deal with the artisans to create jewelry that she envisioned in her designs.
Her sterling silver pieces--including many that are 24kt gold-plated--feature Russian and Chinese influences handed down the generations by master craftsmen. Barbara has been refining the designs over the last 16 years to fit Western tastes and fashion. It took some persuasion to convince the craft to marry Mongolian tradition with Western design, but the result is very special indeed.
The entire process to make one piece of jewelry can take 4 to 7 days and many of the unique pieces feature less common gems such as Iolite, Chrysocolla, Serpentine, and exotic Jaspers. She also favors stones such as Garnet, Peridot, Amethyst, Topaz, Lapis and Turquoise in the designs. Barbara’s beautiful designs give the look of high karat gold without the high price tag.
The Jewelry Making Process
Mongolian style filigree and enameled jewelry is handmade with Russian and Chinese influences for thousand of years.This jewelry was originally made for the Mongolians and later filtered into what is now China. Eventually it was made during the 1700’s--the Qing Dynasty--and then only for the Empresses so manufacturing was very limited.
The technique utilized is similar to that used to make original Fabergé eggs, which were created from gold, silver and precious stones. Barbara’s pieces are made from sterling silver, various gemstones, and some are 24kt gold plated.
The filigree work is hand fashioned with tweezers and the sterling silver wires are shaped into flowers, butterflies and other objects. These completed compositions are fired in a kiln to approximately 1700◦F to be fused together with silver dust, which creates the body of the piece. Then, enamel colors and stones are added. The outlined designs are then filled with a very finely ground enamel powder and the colors are blended to create special effects. The piece is once again subjected to the kiln at a temperature of 1500◦F for brief flashes of time.This turns the enamel into glass with a high gloss finish with permanent beauty. This demonstrates the skills of the craftsmen as silver easily melts and the filigree work could be lost.
The final step is to set the stone and to 24kt gold plate or antique many of the pieces. Many of Barbara’s designs incorporate more unusual stones such as chrysocolla, rhodochrosite, chrysoprase, iolite, Black Star of India diopside. Other gems are used, including garnet, lapis, amethyst, Madeira citrine, onyx and turquoise.
Each artist has been extensively trained in the basic techniques and over time, they are considered master craftsmen. Because the filigree and enameling skills are totally different abilities, an artist is trained in only one technique, so many of the pieces require the skills of two artists to complete. To authenticate Barbara’s designs, each piece bears the initials “BG” and the mark “925”.
Jewelry Television and JTV.com is always pleased when we can bring you handcrafted artisan collections such as the Barbara Garwood Collection. Available for a limited time, so shop these exclusive and exquisite items while you can.