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“The difference between art jewelry and a painting or a sculpture is that jewelry is closer to the heart — literally. Because you can wear it, it’s actually even more intimate and personal than other artwork.”

In a recent interview, Chitose Ohchi of Tokyo’s O-Jewel was careful to use the term “art jewelry” when discussing the pieces shown at her gallery’s exhibitions. That’s because it’s a term that specifically refers to works that have been designed to be unique; jewelry that, unlike most commercial pieces, is handmade to express its creator’s vision. It’s also the kind of work that has been at the heart of the ongoing debate about whether contemporary jewelry should be considered a craft or an art form.

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