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Crystal Growing Design Method: An investigation into the growing of crystals for jewellery designs

Boons, Sofie

Authors

Sofie Boons



Abstract

Grown crystals are used for a range of novel innovations supporting a wide array of industries such as technology, medicine and electronics. Within the jewellery industry however, grown crystals are only used in a limited capacity and those of gemstone quality mainly as a surrogate for mined gemstones. They have remained largely underused, despite their potential sustainability credentials and the creative possibilities the incorporation of the process of crystal growth holds for jewellery designers. The bespoke growth of gemstone quality crystals could lead to highly unique jewellery designs which would result in higher consumer attachment. This in addition to the potentially more sustainable production of these stones, would lead to overall more sustainable products. To address the barriers that are holding jewellery designers back from exploring the growth of crystals in their practice, and to address the knowledge gap that underpins this barrier, this article presents a practice-based exploration into the method of Crystal Growing Design for jewellery. Alongside reviewing a selection of the limited number of jewellery designers who have explored organic crystal growth, the article discusses the results of the practice-based explorations done. Three hypotheses derived from the characteristics and advantages of growing design were tested in three case studies and aimed to explore the design opportunities the method provides designers when (i) growing in situ either in designs or (ii) around shapes, or (iii) when utilizing the grow-ability of the process as a feature. Because the growth of gemstone quality crystals requires more elaborate and high cost equipment, sugar, alum and salt were experimented with as a prelude to further experimentation with the technique using gemstone grade crystals. Through utilizing an explorative DIY approach the author documents and discusses the opportunities and challenges presented by the incorporation of a crystal growth method into the jewellery design practice. The research article will additionally reflect on the DIY growth of these non-gemstone quality crystals as a meaningful learning process for jewellery designers wishing to gain a deeper understanding of crystal growth. The DIY growth of crystals can be considered a valuable tinkering process to investigate design ideas. Which is particularly relevant since the method of growing crystals holds creative potential when designing jewellery in collaboration with crystal growers, or through incorporating gemstone crystal growth processes, which are the topic of the author’s overarching PhD research.

Citation

Boons, S. (in press). Crystal Growing Design Method: An investigation into the growing of crystals for jewellery designs. Craft Research, 13(2),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 9, 2022
Deposit Date May 11, 2022
Print ISSN 2040-4689
Publisher Intellect
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 13
Issue 2
Public URL https://uwe-repository.worktribe.com/output/9491627
Additional Information Article awaiting copy editing and publication in upcoming edition.

This file is under embargo due to copyright reasons.

Contact Sofie.Boons@uwe.ac.uk to request a copy for personal use.




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