a branch of industry that produces articles from precious metals and gems and from other materials subjected to artistic treatment. Objects of personal adornment for women, tableware, and various souvenirs constitute most of the articles made by the jewelry industry. The industry’s growth in the USSR has been linked with the rising standard of living of the working people and the increased export of jewelry to other countries.
The jewelry industry is subdivided into a branch that produces gold articles with precious and semiprecious stones and a branch that produces articles made of silver and nonprecious metals with insets of various stones and glass. Precious and nonferrous metals and their alloys, plastics, ivory, enamel, natural and synthetic precious and semiprecious stones, glass, and other materials are used as the raw materials.
Jewelry has been made throughout the world since antiquity. In the USSR, the jewelry industry as a specialized industrialized sector was organized in 1966, when all the jewelry-producing enterprises from various departments were united into a single system. During the same period, the All-Union Scientific Research and Design Institute of the Jewelry Industry was founded in Leningrad.
The jewelry industry’s output increased by more than a factor of 10 in the period 1966–76, while labor productivity rose by a factor of 3.7. New enterprises were built; existing ones were fundamentally redesigned and equipped with the newest equipment, and mechanization and automation of production were instituted. The largest enterprises are the Moscow Iuvelirprom, the Krasnoe Selo Iuvelirprom, and the L’vov Iuvelirprom production associations, as well as the Leningrad Russkie Samotsvety. Jewelry-making enterprises make use of up-to-date technology, such as precision centrifugal casting in wax molds, mechanized soldering in furnaces with a protective atmosphere, diamond cutting, electrochemical polishing and shiny gold-plating, and the ultrasonic working of gems. Specialized, mechanized production lines have been set up to produce wedding bands and jewelry chains and to work gem insets.
The primary development trends in the jewelry industry are as follows: the all-around improvement of the quality of products, the raising of the artistic and aesthetic levels of the articles made, and an increase in the range of articles available through the introduction of advanced technology, mechanization and automation of production processes, the construction of equipment to grow crystals of precious and semiprecious stones, and the introduction of technology for precision casting using low-melting alloys.
The jewelry industry in the other socialist countries primarily produces jewelry from nonprecious metals, that is, costume jewelry. The world’s largest costume jewelry plant is in the city of Jablonec, Czechoslovakia.
In the capitalist countries, the jewelry industry is most highly developed in the United States ($1.97 billion, 1975), Italy (1,500 billion liras), the Federal Republic of Germany (1.2 billion marks), and France (800 million francs). In all the capitalist countries, articles made of precious metals constitute more than two-thirds of the total output, while costume jewelry constitutes only one-third,
S. A. SELIVANKIN