Book review: Contemporary Jewellers

Self-expression has always existed, whether in the form of decorating the body or using objects – so the original human act of piercing some kind of pigment or object into the body gave birth to jewellery.

Contemporary Jewellers: Interview with European Artists successfully follows the development of this art and craft throughout the ages. It charts the history of jewellery makers, and explores the important role that self-expression has played in contemporary European jewellery design.

Contemporary Jewellers, written by Roberta Bernabei is published by Berg

Here the author Roberta Bernabei fully explores the various jewellers in different stages of European history and in particular the post-war development of contemporary European jewellery. She has divided the book into two major categories:  jewellery as content and jewellery as social commentary.

The first category, as the name suggests, is characterised by the meaning it encapsulates and projects. This is shown in the work of jewellers Gijs Bakker, Emmy Van and Peter Skubik.

In the second category, the jewellery has become a vehicle for the delivery of content that often relates to prevalent social conditions, politics, major world events or philosophical questions.

One of the major innovators in this area was Bruno Martinazzi, although others such as Otto Künzli and Ruudt Peters are notable contributors.

Bernabei, a professor at Loughborough University in the UK, has interviewed many of the major jewellery artists of recent years. Each interview is supported by a rich selection of photographs, detailed bibliography and an appendix that locates the jewellers’ work in galleries, museums and on line.

The book is a well-researched documentation of contemporary jewellery design, rich with photographs, drawings and illustrations of each practitioners work. It opens the door to contemporary practice and offers an essential reference for anyone interested in jewellery design.

Guest blogger Jaleh Parvardin

Contemporary Jewellers: Interview with European Artists by Roberta Bernabei, Loughborough University is published by Berg. To purchase a copy visit here at the DT Bookshop.

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