Из истории ювелирного производства

Первые ювелиры появились на планете Земля 20 тысяч лет назад, в каменном веке. Ища защиту от злых сил, наши далекие предки мастерили бусы-погремушки и обвешивались ими с ног до головы. В ход шло все: красивые камни, ореховые скорлупки, ракушки, клыки зверей. Процесс отбора бусин по ранжиру (величине) можно назвать первой попыткой художественного конструирования ювелирных изделий. Доподлинно известно, что первые амулеты-украшения появились раньше, чем одежда. Подтверждением тому стали три браслета из рыбьих позвонков, найденные в захоронениях близ Монако и датированные XX-XVIII тысячелетиями до нашей эры.

Для наших прародителей украшения имели не только эстетическую и магическую ценность, но и чисто утилитарную. Ожерелье из зубов кабана или когтей и клыков других животных помимо охраны охотника от порчи и неудач свидетельствовало о его отваге и доблести, а заодно и о его социальном статусе, занимаемом в «древнем обществе». Поскольку обладателями такой красоты становились только самые сильные и достойные мужчины рода и племени, да и сырье для амулета нужно было заполучить в схватке с диким зверем, можно судить об истинной «стоимости» тех украшений.

Позднее, когда стало возможным мастерить колье, серьги и браслеты без риска для жизни, они перестали считаться исключительно мужской привилегией. Хотя социальная дискриминация осталась, поскольку материалы для ювелиров, да и их услуги были по карману только знатным господам.

В период расцвета Древнего Востока ювелирные украшения стали использовать в качестве пуговиц, зажимов для одежды и обуви, пряжек и поясов — они стали неотъемлемой частью костюма. Кокетки древности использовали драгоценности в качестве парикмахерских аксессуаров. К сожалению, украшения из меди и других цветных металлов быстро окислялись и разрушались, хотя срок их службы был длительнее, нежели костяных или каменных.

В IV-III тыс. до н. э. египтяне освоили искусство глиптики — резьбы по камню. Как ни странно, изобретательные и не чуждые эстетики египтяне применяли технику глиптики для производства конторских печатей. Древние египтяне высоко ценили камни за их твердость, необычайный блеск, красочность и яркость, наделяли их сверхъестественными свойствами. По одной из легенд, драгоценные камни есть не что иное, как следы царственной поступи верховного бога Египта — бога Солнца Ра. Поэтому каменные амулеты и талисманы считались у египтян панацеей от всех сил Ада. Примечательно, что египтяне предпочитали сине-зеленую гамму, судя по дошедшим до нас украшениям. Бирюза, малахит, лазурит, сапфир чаще всего использовались в украшениях из золота. А вот древние индусы, наоборот, особо ценили камни золотисто-красной гаммы: алмазы, гранаты, рубины. Возможно, это объяснялось геофизическими особенностями стран.

Изделия древних египтян-ювелиров и по сей день поражают совершенством форм, дизайнерским оформлением (орнаментика, подбор камней), гармонией цвета и виртуозностью технического исполнения.

Но египтяне не долго почивали на лаврах. Им на смену пришли римляне и греки. Последние слыли непревзойденными мастерами, что подтверждает найденная при археологических раскопках на территории бывшего СССР «феодосийская серьга» греческой работы (V в. до н. э.). Эта изящная безделушка, поистине шедевр по красоте рисунка и формы, поразила современных ювелиров сложностью использованной техники грануляции (огранка камня), практически не воспроизводимой в современных условиях.

Греческие мастера были признанными профессионалами в технике литья, тончайшей филиграни и зерни. Они первыми применили сплавы из золота, добиваясь нежных переходов желтого, зеленоватого и красноватого цветов. Технические приемы, применявшиеся греческими мастерами ювелирами, переняли и иностранцы, которые оставили накопленные знания в наследство своим будущим последователям.

Премудрости и все тонкости златокузнечного дела переходили из поколения в поколение, описание их мы находим в разные времена у Плиния (Рим, 1 в.), Теофила (немецкий монах XI в.), Бенвенуто Челлини (знаменитый скульптор и ювелир, Италия, XVI в.).

На Руси ювелирное искусство получило широкое распространение с приходом христианства. Древние россы переняли приемы византийцев. Чаще всего они изображали святых в резных рельефах на сапфире, яшме, агате, стеатите.

Современные ювелиры, суммировав опыт предков, смешали традиции и веяния моды и создали целую индустрию. Каждый истинный художник хранит свои секреты мастерства за семью печатями. И все же мне удалось приоткрыть завесу в призрачный мир злата-серебра и царство самоцветов. Вот несколько любопытных и полезных сведений. Золото в чистом виде почти не используется ювелирами, т. к. оно очень мягкое. Чаще всего то, что мы по незнанию принимаем за чистое золото, на самом деле сплав золота с серебром или медью. А проба, проставляемая на готовом ювелирном изделии, указывает на его процентное содержание. Наиболее распространенная проба — 585, самая низкая — 375. Выше 750 пробы металл не используется.

Широко применяются современными ювелирами золото, серебро, платина. Золото, серебро и платина редко используют в чистом виде из-за индивидуальных качеств данных металлов. Примеси, которые добавляют в драгоценный сплав, именуют лигатурой. Они придают золоту и серебру твердость.

В серебро зачастую добавляют медь; в золото — медь, серебро, платину, палладий; в палладиевые металлы — серебро, золото.

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