Conceptual Jewellery

What is conceptual jewellery?

It isn’t all comparable to fine art. It isn’t all about the democratizing status and wealth.  It isn’t all about aesthetics or adornment.   And it isn’t all about sentimentality.   It is all of these and none of these. 

Conceptual Jewellery comes in many forms and is as definable as a category as ‘Art’.  Aesthetic statements, political statements, ideological statements, and statements that question the societal precepts of jewellery: All of these are evocative and provocative.  All are and can be called ‘conceptual’.

How can conceptual jewellery be differentiated from other forms of jewellery?

One cannot just say it is sentimental.  All jewellery can be sentimental.  Such attachment is made through context and personal relationships. 

It cannot be said that it is the aesthetic.  What is called fine jewellery has an aesthetic and some conceptual jewellers use the connotations of this aesthetic to create their statement.

It cannot be said it is the choice of materials.  ‘Traditional’ materials – precious metals, stones, and natural objects – are used in conceptual jewellery and such materials as plastic and thread are used in some fine jewellery. 

However, I make a distinction at this point in my research.  Jewellery that does not question itself or its existence but uses the sociological interactions, the communicative and self-expressive nature inherent in the art of jewellery, I dub “Theoretical” jewellery.   

‘Theoretical’ is in the way the materials, the aesthetic, and the emotional relationships are intertwined and utilized.  This use is what makes a work theoretical over ‘conceptual’ whether it is obvious or subtle.  Theoretical jewellery makes a conscious and deliberate effort to use all aspects of what jewellery is and what it means, personally and in Western Society, in order to make a cohesive statement no matter what that statement is. There is no questioning of what jewellery is only of how it functions and to be precise how it can function best for the artists intention.

The maker forms a duality with the wearer.  What I intend with what I express in my jewellery (let’s face it you can’t take the maker out of the one-off jewellery) does not only have to attract the wearer but it must be ambiguous enough for the wearer to co-opt my intended meanings into their self-image.  

(This is my ideological view of conceptual jewellery based upon my practice, empirical evidence, research, mine and others', a priori observation of the field and the fine jewellery sector.  This page will be ever evolving as my ideas mature and knowledge is gathered. I cannot subscribed to the easy line drawn between conceptual jewellery and conceptual art.  It is incomplete and does not consider what jewellery is and how it functions.  The word 'conceptual' is not the word to bet upon).

Past Exhibitions

Pop up Jewellery Shop -- Dialogue 9,

Jewellery for 20 Quid!, 146 Columbia Rd., London, UK

June 11-June 27. 2010

THE ROLE OF ART, Luxury Goods IX, Courtyard Theatre, London UK

April 27-May 2, 2010

FLUX, Brilliantly Birmingham, Birmingham Musem of Art, Birmingham, UK

November 2009 – February 2010

PAUSE, MA Degree Show, Sir John Cass School of Art, London Metropolitan University, London, UK

September 2009

NEW DESIGNERS, Business Design Centre , London, UK

July 7- 14, 2009

Search This Blog