Art as jewellery, or vice versa? Either way, you’re winning


Art as jewellery, or vice versa? Either way, you’re winning

Contemporary jewellery that’s worth showing off

Geraldine Fenn

The fine-jewellery industry in SA is in somewhat of a crisis: excessive regulation by the government and cheap imports from the East have eroded the market for locally produced jewellery over the past 15 years, closing down countless businesses as a result.

Given this, it’s not surprising that art jewellery is relatively unknown and underappreciated here. Granted, it’s a niche category, often characterised by an experimental approach to unconventional materials. 

The common thread that binds art jewellery in its own category is that it is made by an individual artist or craftsperson, so it is very much about that person’s idiosyncratic artistic expression. Each piece is unique. These factors are both its strength and weakness: most contemporary jewellers are forced to make more commercial work or teach to earn a living because it’s very difficult to access the right buyers for their art pieces...

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