To a point I get the awkwardness around materials and money, wealth and the display of it is used as a marker of status.
EXACTLY that. What I realized here:
Is that our natural instincts, as tribe animals, are to self-censor and persecute those within our own class who attempt to mark their status as anything other than where we are now.
The fundamental deconstruction of "dress for the job you want, not the job you have" is "if you signal a higher status than what you have, higher-status individuals will respond." The signaling is far more subtle than most people think, however; Primates of Park Avenue spends easily two chapters on the Birkin bag.
Here's the issue: goldsmiths, silversmiths, fine craftspersons of all intricacies must necessarily signal to the people who can afford their products. If you're working in copper or nickel, you have a few deficiencies - they color the skin, people are allergic, they have zero scrap value. One of the reasons I love Art Nouveau is that Lalique and crew created bijouterie, adornments made out of crap materials that they sold for the same prices as gold and gemstones because the value was in the effort:
...but unless you're bomb.com your efforts into garbage materials just make things look more garbage-ey.
And here's the thing. If you're going to spend 10 hours making something, and you're assuming a 40% markup, and you think you're worth $15 an hour, that means your labor costs alone are $200 or so. So congrats: at minimum wage, you're making $200 "objets d'art" that nobody wants.
That Faberge cup? That was turned on a lathe. Probably took half an hour. Then they did some engine turning. Probably took an hour. Then they did some enameling and polishing. Probably took another couple hours. They're selling it for $2300. They can do that because (A) they're a big jewelry house (B) their shit actually looks good.
I gave a presentation yesterday on automata. I pointed out in every slide that they're the playthings of kings and rich people. Everyone oohed and aahhed in the right places. It's okay to like jewelry. It's just not okay to make jewelry.
In jewelry class.
Because if you can't afford it for yourself it's baaaaad. Those rich people can do whatever they want but as soon as you put on airs of being one? You too are baaaaad.
Grinds my gears.