Architectonic jewellery may be categorised as a strand or subset of Modernist jewellery. Architectonic jewellery is jewellery that considers or interprets the qualities or principles of architecture in relation to the body.
The three interesting texts that discuss this subject are "Architecture in Jewelry" by Barbara Maas, "Architectonic Jewelry" by Patrick Kapty and a chapter from, "Jewelry of Our Time" by Helen Drutt and Peter Dormer, entitled "Architectural Forms."
All three articles touch upon different aspects of architectonic jewellery, the concept of scale and proportion in relation to the body, the Modernist/Constructivist influence and through citing examples of jewellers, the different manifestations of architectural expression within jewellery.
Of the three texts that survey architectonic jewellery, only one, Architecture in Jewelry by Barbra Maas, attempts to clearly define the genre through carefully selected examples of work. Maas acknowledges the similarities and differences between disciplines through “the central issue of their dimensions.” Touching on the differences, Maas observes: “Jewelry, with its direct relationship to the human body, necessarily involves a more intimate aspect than the art of building, which devotes its attention to free spaces.” On the connection between the disciplines Maas comments: “humans and edifices do indeed have at least one thing in common: laws of proportion [that] govern the ratios between the parts of both”. This connection to the body is central in establishing a relationship between architecture and jewellery. The proportions of architecture and jewellery, regardless of scale have in common their relationship to the body. Whilst designed to fit comfortably around the body, create intimate spaces or dominate the body, their proportions remain constant in relation to the human form. It is through the body that we relate to the world and measure it; it is our medium through which the world is understood.
- Maas, Barbra. Architecture in Jewelry. Schmuck. January. 2000.