Opening at DIVA, the museum for diamonds, jewellery and silver, on October 30th is the exhibition The Jeweller’s Art. Revolutionary jewellery from the 1960s and 70s. The swinging London of the 1960s engendered an explosion of innovation in the jewellery industry, which spread to the rest of Europe and the USA. Besides jewellery, the exhibition showcases fashion, music and design from that vibrant period. The timing of the exhibition could hardly be more opportune given that the 1960s and 70s are right on-trend at the moment.
“Jewellery should be fun.”
A new generation of post-war jewellery designers reacted to convention and changed the face of jewellery design. Goldsmiths flouted its rules and experimented with new techniques, materials and influences. They saw themselves as artists and their jewellery as an art form. This led to statement jewellery, a cross between art and design.
Andrew Grima was one of the most famous and sought-after jewellers in this genre. Though Grima was born in Rome (1921) and died in Gstaad (2007), he spent most of his life living and working in London – the shining epicentre of the Swinging Sixties. “Jewellery should be fun”, said Grima. He believed that jewellery is made to be worn and enjoyed rather than stowed away in a safe. This revolutionary wave produced jewellery that was expressive, futuristic and organic in form and concept. Nature was an important source of inspiration, along with a whole new approach to materials. For example, use was made of ‘raw’ gold and hitherto unconventional materials for jewellery, such as tiger’s eye and rough crystals, but meteorite and even dinosaur bone were also incorporated into the designs.
Designers captured the social, cultural and artistic changes of that time in their jewellery creations: from surrealism to the first man on the moon, from optical art to disco. The result was asymmetric, colourful jewellery. Jewellery that was designed to be seen. This new take on jewellery attracted a glistening clientele of royals, Hollywood stars and other A-list celebrities.
Never before have the 100-plus items in The Jeweller´s Art exhibition been shown together. The jewellery comes from the collection of just one person, Kimberly Klosterman, who began collecting twentieth-century jewellery 30 years ago. The contents of that collection are by American and European makers, with a focus on artist jewellers from the 1960s and 70s.
The pieces were commissioned by (among others) Bulgari, Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels and Masenza and designed by collectable names like Andrew Grima, Arthur King, Cesare De Vecchi, Charles de Temple and David Webb, whose work features in several museum collections. They also include jewellery by the Belgian pioneer in modern jewellery art Fernand Demaret.
Space out at DIVA!
A major feature of the exhibition is an installation by Space Encounters and Children of the Light. A modern interpretation of 1960s and 70s design, the work blurs the boundaries between art, design and architecture and takes technology to its limits.
The installation occupies an entire room in The Jeweller’s Art exhibition. Visitors step into a labyrinth and lose themselves in a new world: a world where light and sound effects heighten all the senses and imitate a real space experience. Visitors can wander round freely and admire the space-age jewellery in a spellbinding setting.
The artwork was designed to stand alone and, with the help of the latest technology, behaves almost like a living organism. The rolling waves of light create an uncanny sense of time and space. The basic principles underlying the installation and its outward form give visitors the chance to experience the ideas and ideals of the 1960s and 70s first-hand. In the light of COVID-19, the installation is also a good way to separate visitors in an aesthetic, exciting and technically interesting way.
The installation was made specially for DIVA. Below is Transito, another Space Encounters creation, which was on display at De School in Amsterdam.
To mention in every publication
This exhibition is organized by the Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, Ohio and produced by DIVA, museum for diamond, jewellery and silver, Antwerp, Belgium
DIVA curator: Catherine Regout
- When: Friday October 30th 2020 to Sunday March14th 2021
- Where: DIVA, Suikerrui 17 - 19, 2000 Antwerp
- Opening times: Mondays to Sundays from 10 – 18.00 hrs, closed on Wednesdays
- Tickets: standard rate €12 per person, including the permanent exhibition.
- Tickets can be purchased via the web shop
To arrange previews, guided visits and interviews with the curator, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org