Symposium ThinkingJewellery XIII (October 2025)

"ThinkingJewellery" is an attempt to reflect on what jewellery is. It is about an interdisciplinary approach beyond the relevant categories of craft or art, applied or free: about exploring what jewellery is - not what it looks like. The need for adornment and jewellery has accompanied mankind as an anthropological constant from the very beginning. As an important cultural asset, jewellery is constantly reinterpreted in all eras. ThinkingJewellery brings together analyses and perspectives for action that are relevant to artistic practice.


THEME of ThinkingJewellery XIII: Joy & Lust




ThinkingJewellery XII (2021): The Political Challenge of Art

an the arts be satisfied with a role as a supplier of consumer goods on the cultural industry market? Or is it time to focus more on the political implications of art in order to deal more proactively with contemporary social issues? 

At the beginning of the 20th century, when the industrial revolution had unhinged the old world, the response of modern art was a socio-politically understood programme for the reconciliation of science, technology and society through art.

Since the 1970s, this programme has been considered a failure. The unleashed economy of the post-industrial age and globalization have brought the earth to the brink of ecological collapse and exacerbated social injustice. At the same time, the late effects of colonization and the digital revolution have posed new cultural and political challenges. More profound changes are ahead than those of the industrial revolution.

ThinkingJewellery XII gathers - with jewellery in mind - exemplary analyses and discusses perspectives for action under the aspect of political premises.


  • "Nur sauber gekämmt sind wir wirklich frei" - Politische Aspekte in Schmuckobjekten von B.S. im Kontext ihrer Zeit. 

(NOTE: Lecture of approx. 2,5 hrs in German/
HINWEIS: Vortrag von ca. 2,5 Stunden in deutscher Sprache)

“See through your life, your life is a scheme

Pressed by TV and these magazines
I look at you and you look at me
What are you trying to be?

Dein Sacko sitzt so sackgerecht
Dein Herz passt auf den rechten Fleck
Yes, we are made in Germany
Nur sauber gekämmt sind wir wirklich frei
Nur sauber gekämmt sind wir wirklich frei

Nur sauber gekämmt sind wir

Wirklich frei“

Ausschnitt Songtext «Man of Stone», Hans-A-Plast, 1979

Schmuck als Manifest einer Haltung ist allein im Kontext seiner Zeit zu verstehen.
In Zentren urbaner Subkulturen des Westens zeichnete sich seit den späten 1970er Jahren ein grundlegender Paradigmenwechsel ab, der sich einer völlig neuen Ästhetik als Ausdrucksmittel bediente. Einem saturierten, dekadenten und repressiven Establishment begegnete man mit einer neuen Sprache. Wütend und lustvoll, sarkastisch und zynisch erscheint sie in Bildender Kunst, Musik, Tanz, Mode und Lebensstil: Eine Revolte gegen Rassismus, Faschismus, Imperialismus und Krieg, antiautoritär, feministisch, anarchisch.

Bernhard Schobinger
geboren 1946 in Zürich, Schweiz,
1962 Kunstgewerbeschule Zürich,
1963 Goldschmiedelehre,
1968 eigene Goldschmiedewerkstatt in Richterswil,
zahlreiche Ausstellungen, Preise, Vorträge und Workshops weltweit. 

  • Jewellery - resources and material in the context of politics and power" 

Material structures society and nature in relation to one another. It is both a driver of innovation and a driver of destruction. The extraction of raw materials transforms nature into a commodity and forces the exploitation of natural resources as well as people. In parallel, the appropriation of material generates cultural phenomena such as money, tools, weapons, jewellery and objects; economic processes such as trade and commodities. Meanwhile, the exploitation of materials for mass consumption has led to the great ecological crisis. Precious and rare materials have been used to create decorative objects of all kinds that incorporate and represent social and political hierarchies such as control and domination. In the lecture, various jewelley objects from the collections of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Berlin, ranging from the Wunderkammer to the present, will be examined for the first time for their narratives in the context of the "Matrix material-power".

Claudia Banz
born 1966, is an art historian, exhibition curator and author and currently curator of design at the Kunstgewerbemuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin Preussischer Kulturbesitz. Previously, she was head of the Department of Art and Design at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg. With exhibitions like 
Fast Fashion. The Dark Side of Fashion, Food Revolution 5.0. Design for Tomorrow's Society or Connecting Afro Futures. Fashion x Hair x Design she focuses on sustainability, resources, responsibility, consumption and decolonial design. Her new series "Design Lab" at the Kunstgewerbemuseum presents current positions in the global design discourse. Banz also researches and publishes on/at the interfaces of design, craftsmanship, fashion, art and decolonial collections.

  • "Jewellery and Politics - Notes on the History of Jewellery in Germany" WILHELM LINDEMANN

    Jewellery is usually associated with a beauty that self-referentially serves only itself. In reality, the stark opposite is the case: it is not only an index of social status that reveals a lot about its wearers. From antiquity to the present, it has been a sign of power and wealth, and precious metals and gemstones are still the preferred materials of jewellery. On the one hand, the lecture refers to the political aspects of German jewellery history in the 20th century, especially before and during the period of National Socialism; on the other hand, it reaches beyond this epoch and refers to current as well as general ethical and also ecological issues.

    Wilhelm Lindemann
    Born in 1949, after studying philosophy, literature and social work, he worked in cultural management for many years. Producer of plays, festival director and project developer of the Bengel industrial monument, Idar-Oberstein. Long-time lecturer at the Department of Gemstones and Jewellery, Idar-Oberstein, curator of SchmuckDenken and exhibitions, author and publisher of non-fiction books on jewellery and gemstones.

  • "pecunia expergisci debet"

    From a strong social and societal engagement, Pieter Lemmens plays with the relations between art and power in his work and expresses relevant themes of the time. As a witness to his own time, he feels drawn to comment on it in a creative, playful and ironic, but also serious way. Within his umbrella theme, his imaginary company Q P & S, Lemmens creates his views on what is happening in the (art) world when it comes to the dynamics and organisation within the various networks of production, participation, reception and distribution. To this end he pulls out all the stops and, although the aesthetic results of each work are surprisingly different, his own handwriting remains visible, both literally and figuratively.  (P. Snoeks)

    Pieter Lemmens
    (*1965) artist, autodidact.

  • "When Art wants - a personal view on political art"

    Being an artist means being a political person, no matter what the artistic work is about. Visual art has a special relationship with our society and history. Art is at the same time a part of society and takes a look at it from the outside. A work of art is something different from a protest or a political action. What can art do, what does it want? What if art wants nothing? This lecture takes a look back at some historical positions in political art and gives a reflection on being an artist in a time like ours, with circumstances that more and more require us to take a clear position and get involved.

    Eva-Maria Kollischan
    is visual artist, born in Nuremberg, based in Cologne and Idar-Oberstein. She studied fine arts at Kunstakademie Münster. Within site specific installation, drawing, painting and photography she is exploring the limits and properties of our perception and spatial imagination. She has been teaching art basics and drawing at Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, Hochschule der Künste Bremen and others. Since 2014 she is teaching art basics at TUAS, Department for Gemstones and Jewellery.

  • "Prints and Politics"

    Prints, because of their reproducibility, play a prominent role in the theme of art and politics. Since the emergence of printmaking in the 15th century, it has been used by artists and rulers to make political statements - as commissioned art by those in power to secure their positions or as resistance by the governed to oppression and injustice. Unlike any other medium, thousands of prints of an artistically worked woodblock, copper plate or litho stone on light, mobile and inexpensive paper allowed the dissemination of theses and motifs that were politically highly explosive. In addition, printmaking offered artists a creative freedom in a wide variety of techniques that inspired them to innovative, sometimes decidedly provocative formulations. Through selected examples from six centuries, the lecture will discuss the history and significance of a medium in which free art and political motivation enter into extraordinary dialogues.

    Dr. Dorit Schäfer
    studied art history, classical archaeology and French literature in Heidelberg and London. Doctorate in 1998: The Ortenberg Altar - Studies of Middle Rhine Art and Painting Technique around 1400. 1998 - present at the Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, where she became head of the Kupferstichkabinett in 2003. Main focus of work in French art of the 18th-20th century and in contemporary drawing and prints.  Among the exhibitions at the Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, which she curated or in which she collaborated, are worthy of special mention: Jean Siméon Chardin 1699-1779. Werk – Herkunft – Wirkung (1999); J.J. Grandville. Karikatur und Zeichnung (2000); Eugène Delacroix (2003); Stefano delle Bella. Ein Meister der Barockradierung (2005); Picasso, Matisse, Chagall… Französische Druckgrafik 1900-1950 (2006); Kräftespiel – Zeichnung und Grafik von Thomas Meier-Castel (2008); Camille Corot – Natur und Traum (2012); Ich bin hier! Von Rembrandt zum Selfie (2015); SEHEN DENKEN TRÄUMEN. Französische Zeichnungen aus der Staatlichen Kunsthalle Karlsruhe (2018/19); Alles ist Ausschnitt! Matthias Mansen: Potsdamer Straße (2019); Marcel van Eeden - The Karlsruhe Sketchbook (2019)

  • "Identity Markers"

    Swiss born, Munich based artist David Bielander takes the familiarity of everyday objects and combines them with a witty abstraction to create truly uncanny artworks. His realm of inquiry encompasses the play of identity, belonging, dissonance, external perceptions and the opinions they create. More than ever actually, he is specifically preoccupied, aware and excited about the potential of these humble objects in connection with us.
    Bielander doesn’t work in themes or phases. All his works are one oeuvre, one continuously growing single body of work, intertwined, connected and slowly shifting. So previously created works make astounding evolutions. What does it now mean to mimic an animal or a flower in this dystopian reality?  Who are we sticking our tongue out at with the iconic rubber lip from 1999? And how does it interact with the 2019 pinocchio nose, carved from the wood of a confessional? 

    David Bielander
    Born in 1968 in Basel.  After a four-year apprenticeship as a goldsmith with Kurt Degen, and working as a goldsmith with Georg Spreng in Schwäbisch Gmünd, he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich from 1995 to 2001 with Prof. Otto Künzli, where he graduated as a „meister" student in 2002. From 2006 to 2010 David Bielander was an artistic assistant to Prof. Daniel Kruger at Burg Giebichenstein, University of Art and Design, Halle/Saale, and from 2011 to 2013 an external tutor in the jewellery department, Gerrit Rietveld Academie Amsterdam (NL). Since 2002 he runs a studio in Munich together with the artist Helen Britton, Australia, and Yutaka Minegishi from Tokyo. His work is represented by the galleries S O in Solothurn and London, Ornamentum Gallery in Hudson, NY, Rob Koudijs in Amsterdam, Galerie Funaki in Melbourne, Antonella Villanova in Florence, ATTA gallery Bangkok and Galerie Wittenbrink in Munich.

  • "painting space"

    Amadyar's colour is there in extreme clarity, simple, immediate. It stands openly on the bare canvas. Radiantly light, almost floating, the colours transcend their material bondage. They glisten into each other, lift, fade through or arch over each other. Between intimacy and intensity, colour alone carries the pictorial fields in settlement and opposition, turmoil and balance, depicting memories of a youth in Afghanistan.

    Colour and light unfold a sensuality that points perceptibly beyond the pictures. Only what does Tamina Amadyar bring into the presence? She paints from memory. And in her pictures - hidden in the colour and at the same time revealed by it - places, inconspicuous everyday situations or entire landscapes actually appear as colourful moods, sensations and hunches. A horizon of experience that makes Tamina Amadyar's painting an enormous resonance space.

    Tamina Amadyar
    born 1989 in Kabul, studied painting at the Düsseldorf Art Academy. Group exhibitions at KIT - Kunst im Tunnel (2011), Contemporary Fine Arts (2015), Eduardo Secci Contemporary (2016), solo exhibitions at Guido W. Baudach (2015), Farbvision (2016). In 2016 she was elected to the Forbes "30 under 30" list.

ThinkingJewellery XI (2017) - The Materials of Art

Imagination and virtual worlds

Beyond its value of utility , noble material - gold, silver, noble stones - has a lasting existence above all because of its symbolic power. In the field of jewellery, the classic range of materials has been expanded to include many natural materials and plastics that can be recharged. In jewellery, too, art, the old master of fiction, utopian design and thus virtuality, outlasts time: Ars longa - vita brevis. 

Meanwhile, it is not only physics that has long since abandoned the traditional notions of "solid" matter in dynamic cosmological models. The digital age is revolutionizing people's living conditions and, in particular, their social relations - probably to a greater extent than the invention of book printing at the beginning of the modern era.

Virtuality does not require proof of authenticity, nor real correspondence between material, form and colour. In view of these scenarios, which are also omnipresent, a longing for the authenticity of analog life, for a permanence and value grows, which materializes in the material and thus sensual presence of high-quality, identity-creating goods or in art.


  • Searching for unity – modern physics and its explanation of the cosmos 
    Dr. Sibylle Anderl, astronomer and philosopher, Institute of Planetology and Astrophysics of Grenoble, FR
  • Edelstein. Zur Kulturgeschichte einer Ikone (Lecture in German!)
    Wilhelm Lindemann, curator, Trier University of Applied Sciences, Campus Idar-Oberstein, DE
  • My material
    Patricia Domingues, Rudy Faulkner, Eduardo Tarin and Elvira Golombosi: Master graduates of the Trier University of Applied Sciences, Campus Idar-Oberstein, DE
  •  Understanding light through the art. Emeralds contribution to optical knowledge 
    Ph.D. Marjolijn Bol, postdoctoral researcher, Max-Planck-Institute for History of Science, Berlin, DE
  • Goethe on colours. A vindication 
    Prof. Dr. Olaf Müller, professor for natural philosophy and scientific theory, Humboldt-University Berlin, DE
  • Digital nature. Contemporary material aesthetics in face of virtual mediality 
    Dr. Niklas Hebing, Hegel Archives, Ruhr University Bochum, DE
  • Cold shining – empty glamour. On Jeff Koon’s ‘Celebration Series’ 
    Prof. Dr. Regine Prange, professor for art history at the Art History Institute at the Goethe University, Frankfurt/Main, DE
  • The art of stone cutting. The collection of the art chamber of KHM Vienna 
    Mag. Paulus Rainer, Deputy Director of the art chamber and treasury of the KHM - Museum of Art History, Vienna, AT
    Silvia Weidenbach, Jewellery artist, UK
ThinkingJewellery X (2014) - Art between leisure and social responsibility

The process of globalisation in all areas of life, accompanied by the escalation of economic and ecological crises, technological innovations taking place in ever faster succession, a hardly manageable supply of information and communication have led to a growing need for leisure and contemplation on the part of many people - in addition to a feeling of being overtaxed. They are regarded by many people as a source of a regained art of living. The contemplative life design opens the senses for aesthetic experience and creativity. For some it has become the gateway to a new spirituality.

ThinkingJewellery X puts the contemplative concept of life to the test. Does it lead to a retreat into the private sphere and a rejection of social responsibility - or can it become a source of strength for creativity and worldliness in the sense of an argument for a peaceful policy based on mindfulness and sustainability?


  • Aesthetic experience and the good life
    Prof. Dr. Ursula Brandstätter, Musicologist, rector of the Anton Bruckner Private University Linz, AT
  • Philosophy – Art – Life
    Prof. Dr. Julian Nida Rümelin, Professor of Philosophy at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, DE, former Minister of Culture
  • The metaphorical ornament: philosophy and way of working 
    Prof. Dr. David Huycke, Jewellery artist, professor of Jewellery Design at the MAD-faculty of the University of Hasselt, BE
  • A vision of homo economicus to homo aestheticus
    Prof. Dr. Gisela Dischner, German Studies and author, emeritus professor of Modern Literature at the University of Hannover, DE
  • The truth of the moment – on the relationship between attention and art
    Prof. Dr. Yuka Nakamura, Psychologist, lecturer in Development and Health Psychology in the Vice President's education and research dept. of the Zurich University of Teacher Education
  • Bridging the divide: an exploration of collaboration through making
    Sarah Rhodes, PhD researcher at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, UK
  • Aesthetic economy – theory and applications
    Prof. Gernot Böhme, Emeritus professor of Philosophy at the Technical University of Darmstadt, director of the Institute for the Practice of Philosophy (IPPh)
  • Worthwile
    Prof. Ute Eitzenhöfer, Jewellery artist, professor of Gemstone Design, Trier University of Applied Sciences, Campus Idar-Oberstein
ThinkingJewellery IX (2013) - At the end of progress?

The need for adornment and jewellery has accompanied mankind as an anthropological constant from the very beginning. As an important cultural asset, jewellery is reinterpreted time and again in all eras. The age of postmodernism is for many an apocalyptic complex of crises: ecological crisis, financial crisis, crisis of justice. In the age of globalization and social division, politics increasingly appears to be incapable of action, despite all the conjurations of the lack of alternatives to one's own actions. At the same time - not only in fashion or advertising - a new regime of the aestheticization of everyday life is emerging, at the end of which the self-presentation of the individual in the net takes the place of real relationships. SchmuckDenken 9 gathers - under consideration of jewellery - exemplary analyses and discusses perspectives for action under the aspect of ethical premises.


  • „We’re like diamonds in the sky“ (Rihanna) - The addiction to luxury
    Wilhelm Lindemann, Author
  • The currency of jewellery, gold and gemstones
    Prof. Dr. Christina von Braun, Professor of Cultural Theory (with primary focus on gender and history) at the Institute of Cultural Sciences of the Humboldt University of Berlin
  • In the area of conflict between globalized haute couture and poverty – the ‘Sapeurs’ from the Republic of Congo
    Prof. Dr. Alexandra Karentzos, Professor of Art and Cultural Studies, Institute of General and Vocational Pedagogy of the Technical University of Darmstadt, DE – Wella chair of Fashion and Aesthetics
  • Dieter Lorenz – Portrait of the artist
    Dieter Lorenz, Gemstone Designer in conversation with Wilhelm Lindemann
  • Stinking rich – on conspicuous consumption,
    Prof. Dr. Birger Priddat, Professor of Political Economy, Faculty of Economics at the University of Witten/Herdecke, DE
  • Different lives in one world – Cultural diversity or global design,
    Prof. Dr. Christoph Antweiler, Professor of Southeast Asian Studies, Institute of Oriental and Asian Studies of the Rhenish Friedrich- Wilhelm University of Bonn, DE
  • Growth,
    Dr. Marjan Unger, Art Historian and Publicist, Bussum, NL
  • Golden Years - From the Light of Delft to the Sparkle of the Dolomites 
    Robert Smit, Jewellery Artist), Amsterdam, NL
ThinkingJewellery VIII (2012) - Science & Art

The 8th edition of ThinkingJewellery critically deals with the responsibility of art in a world that is endangered by the human being and the ideology of unlimited growth. Once again, it is focussed on the role of the jewellery artist within the society and his responsibility. Besides this ethical question it also deals with the question if art and aesthetic experi- ence will promote the process of the scientific perception and interpretation of the world and which role the traditional materials of jewellery art, gold and gemstones play or can possibly play within this context.


  • Prologue
    Prof. Theo Smeets, Trier University of Applied Sciences, Dept. of Gemstone and Jewellery Design, Idar-Obertein, DE

  • Thinking Materials – Forming Ideas
    Prof. Dr. Jivan Astfalck, Director of School of Jewellery, Birmingham Institute of Arts and Design, Birmingham City University, Brimingham, UK

  • About the metaphor of growth – tour through an exhibition project
    Dr. Holger Kube Ventura, Director of the Kunstverein Frankfurt/Main, DE

  • About the metaphor of growth – performance
    Armin Chodzinski, Performance Artist) Hamburg, DE

  • The near mirror – Philosophy and Art in the 20th century 
    Prof. Dr. Uwe Voigt, Philosopher, Professor for Analytical Philosophy and Philosophy of Science, University Augsburg, DE

  • The double gold. The birth of money from the spirit of jewellery.
    Dr. Pravu Mazumdar, Philosopher, Munich, DE

  • On the iconography of gemstones
    Wilhelm Lindemann, Curator of the city of Idar-Oberstein, DE

  • Daniel Kruger: Vita and Work 
    Prof. Daniel Kruger, Professor for Jewellery Design, HdK Burg Giebichenstein, Halle, DE

ThinkingJewellery VII (2011) - Identity and Responsibillity of Applied Art

The 7th ‘SchmuckDenken’ will strike a balance between the symposia to date and identify the initial contours of a theory of jewellery.

At the same time, possible parameters for strategies for action for an autonomous creative practice of applied art in the conflicting demands of craft, design and fine art will be developed. As a result, the focus this year will be on the artistic identity of jewellery creators and their social role and responsibility.

A book ‘ThinkingJewellery - A theory of jewellery’ will be published by the ARNOLDSCHE Verlagsanstalt Stuttgart to mark the 7th colloquium. The book includes a selection of articles from the years 2005-2010 and also contains around 100 illustrations of works of students and graduates which provide an appraisal of the current situation of the field of study of Precious Stone and Jewellery Design.


  • Prologue, 'Thinking Jewellery 2005-2011: On the way to developing a theory of jewellery’
    Wilhelm Lindemann, chairman, Idar-Oberstein, DE

  • The masquerades of identity – on the costume art of Leigh Bowery
    Prof. Dr. Gunnar Schmidt, Professor of Theory and Practice of Intermedia Design at the Trier University of Applied Sciences, Trier,. DE

  • Jewellery artist in the GDR
    Uta Feiler, Jewellery artist, Erfurt, DE

  • Jewellery in context
    Dr. Marjan Unger, art historian and publicist Bussum, NL

  • Impact of Signs and Design Ethics 
    Prof. PD Dr. habil. Angelika Karger, Professor of design theory, University of applied Sciences, Schwäbisch Gmünd, DE, and assistant professor of sciences, University Stuttgart, DE

  • Applied uncertainty, a doubt in process 
    Gemma Draper, Jewellery artist, Barcelona, ES

  • The jewellery of beauty and the beauty of jewellery
    Prof. Dr. Martin Seel, Professor of Philosophy at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University, Frankfurt/Main, DE.

  • Modern tool or ancient medicine? Thoughts on being a jeweller 
    Prof. Theo Smeets, Professor of Jewellery Design, Department of Gemstones and Jewellery, Trier University of Applied Sciences, Idar-Oberstein, DE

ThinkingJewellery VI (2010) - Globalization

This year the 6th colloquium deals with the all-embracing tendencies
towards globalization, which operate at every level – economic, political and cultural. The focus is on the cultural and artistic global interdependencies of the past and present and also considers their effects on jewellery. In the process, the theme will be exemplified in detail, taking art in the Islamic world as an example.


  • Pure Decoration? Objects of Islamic art in context
    Prof. Dr. Stefan Weber, Director of the Museum of Islamic Art, Berlin, DE
  • Many places later
    Iris Eichenberg, Head of the Metalsmithing Department at Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, USA
  • A Big World Getting Smaller – presenting 3 projects’
    Estela Saez Vilanova on: ‘Walking the Gray Area’;
    Dana Hakim on: ‘I Care A Lot’;
    Marieke van Diepen on: ‘Athometown’
  • Jewellery from the Orient
    Dr. Wolf-Dieter Seiwert, ethnologist, former research associate at the Museum of Ethnology, Leipzig, DE
  • How the agate reached the Tuareg. A journey from three continents to a Sahara oasis’,
    Prof. Dr. Gerd Spittler, Professor of ethnology at the University of Bayreuth
  • Modern art from an Islamic point of view or “modern Islamic art”? - A short overview
    Prof. Dr. Silvia Naef, Professor of history of art in the Arab world, University of Geneva, CH, president of the European Union of Arabists and Islamicists, UEAI
  • duodji and globalisation
    Prof. Dr. Gunvor Guttorm, Professor of Duodji (Sámi arts and crafts, traditional art, applied art) at the Sámi University in Guovdageaidnu/Kautokeino, 
  • European gems
    Prof. Dr. Gerard Unger, Professor of typography at the University of Leiden NL
Thinking Jewellery V (2009) - Jewellery as Attribute

‘Schmuck-Denken 2009’ places the focus on jewellery as an object. Jewellery can be many things: It definitely comes under the category of loved objects (Habermas), with which their owner develops a very personal relationship. As a personal object which is a part of the character of its wearer, it supports him or her in their self-development and the profiling of their personality, both internally and externally. Sometimes jewellery becomes a fetish, thereby even acquiring its own power to act. At all events, jewellery can be described as an attribute. Jewellery in the sense of an attribute raises the question of identification. Marjan Unger reflects the theories of Allison Lurie when she writes: ‘I don’t wish to place too much emphasis on the point that ‘jewellery’ behaves like ‘language’, but rather that it contains a language. The vocabulary would be the types of jewellery, supplemented by the symbolism of the forms, colours, motifs and any other references. The grammar would be how and when jewellery is worn and also who owns what pieces and who does not. In short: how people interact with jewellery.’


  • Prologue
    Wilhelm Lindemann, Chairman, Idar-Oberstein, DE

  • On the product-aesthetic education of human beings
    Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, professor of art history and media theory at the University of Arts and Design, Karlsruhe, DE

  • West African fetish cult and European fetishism’)
    Prof. Dr. Karl-Heinz Kohl, professor at the Institute for Historical Ethnology, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt, DE

  • Assignments – post from heaven
    Truike Verdegaal, Jewellery Artist, Amsterdam, NL

  • Diamonds are a girl's best friend – on the psychology of jewellery
    Prof. Dr. Tilmann Habermas, professor at the Institute for Psychology, area of study psychoanalysis, at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt/Main, DE

  • The magic object in modernity. An anthropological con- stant?
    Dr. Viola Altrichter, cultural sociologist, Berlin, DE

  • Reading jewellery
    Drs. Liesbeth den Besten MA, Art Historian, Chairwoman of the Françoise van den Bosch Foundation, Amsterdam, NL

  • Temptation“ (English)
    Drs. Marjan Unger, Art Historian and Publicist, Bussum, NL

ThinkingJewellery IV (2008) - Ornament & Society

In 2008, our 4th Symposium is dedicated to the ornament. Is jewellery per se decorating? Are there contemporary ornamental means of expression? What is their social context? Scientist and artists are discussing these controversial questions about the influences of the ornament on jewellery and society.


  • Prologue
    Wilhelm Lindemann, Chairman, Idar-Oberstein, DE

  • especially bananas: the ornament according to Adolf Loos or the evolution of culture
    Dr. Christina Threuter, Art Sciencist, Trier University, DE

  • Gijs Bakker and the ornament
    Gijs Bakker, Designer, Amsterdam, NL

  • Beuys’ social sculptures)
    Johannes Stüttgen, Artist, Düsseldorf

  • a critical theory on ornament
    Prof. Dr. Burghard Schmidt, professor of language and aesthetics – University of Art, Offenbach, DE

  • “since beauty is nothing but the beginning of the terrifying“ (Rilke) – Notes on symmetry and the breaking of symmetry in cognition and aesthetics
    Prof. Dr. Helmut Neunzert, em. Professor of Mathematics, Technical University Kaiserslautern, Kaiserslautern, DE, Fraunhofer ITWM, Kaiserslautern, DE

  • “those nice manners in fact ruin the beautiful melody“ Ornamentals and style in 18th century music
    Prof. Reinhard Bahr, Professor for Ornamentation at the University of Music and Theatre Hamburg, DE

  • is jewellery art?)
    Peter Egli, artist and author, Bern, CH

  • Jewellery. To be
    Lin Cheung, artist, London, UK

  • My longing for the market of Samarkand
    Marjan Unger, art historician, Sandberg-Institut, Amsterdam, NL

ThinkingJewellery III (2007) - Beauty and Uniformity

The 3rd colloquium “Schmuck-Denken” 2007 is still in search of a jewellery theory with the focus on the complex relationship between beauty and uniformity. As an element of pursuing acceptance, jewellery can become a tool of conformity. It also can become an instrument of non-conformity when it is used as a provocative attempt to separate oneself from society. On the other hand, it is conformist, in the case of the jewellery demonstrating an affiliation to a sub-cultural group.


  • The mystery of beauty
    Lucy Sarneel, jewellery artist, Amsterdam, NL
  • Against method constraint in applied arts
    Bernhard Schobinger, jewellery artist, Zürich, CH
  • About the Usefulness and Disadvantages of Adornment in Life” or: “Vive la difference! The Psychology of Jewellery
    Prof. Dr. Winfried Menninghaus, Peter Szondi-Institute for Literature and comparative Literature, FU University Berlin
  • pimp me up! Accessories and Jewellery in Youth Culture”
    Prof. Dr. Birgit Richard & Jan Grünwald (M.A.), Department for Art Pedagogy, JWG University Frankfurt/Main, DE
  • Headdress – a Theory about a Theory of Jewellery]
    Dr. Uwe Voigt, philosopher, University Bamberg, DE
  • Beauty – the last taboo in jewellery?
    Manuel Vilhena, jewellery artist, London, UK
  • Silence
    Iris Bodemer, jewellery artist, Pforzheim, DE
  • Love-Affair – love and fear in jewellery
    Kadri Mälk, artist and head of the Jewellery Department at the Estonian Academy of Arts, Tallinn, EE


ThinkingJewellery II (2006) - Adorning and Interpreting the World

The colloquium "ThinkingJewellery 2" focuses on the artistic and art theoretical discourse on jewellery. The starting point of the debate will be contributions by conceptually working artists. Their positions will be supplemented and deepened by theoretical contributions. This is an attempt to formulate the initial question about the nature of jewellery in concrete terms and to provide exemplary answers.


  • Prologue
    Willi Lindemann, chairman, Idar-Oberstein. DE

  • An object oft beauty
    Suska Mackert, artist, Amsterdam, NL, and Berlin, DE

  • on adornment
    Manfred Nisslmüller, artist, Wien

  • Lifelines
    Jivan Astfalck, artist, Senior Research Fellow and MA course director, School of Jewellery,  Birmingham, UK

  • Body - Limb - Jewellery
    Willi Lindemann, chairman, Idar-Oberstein. DE

  • Schmuck im Aufbruch: Schnittstellen in der Begegnung von Schmuck und Kunst im 20. Jahrhundert
    Dr. Ellen Mauerer-Zilioli, Art historian and gallery owner, Desenzano de Garda, IT

  • Man and the natural environment: sociological approach to the temporalities of stone
    Emmanuel Gleyze, sociologist, Université Paul Valérie, Montpellier, FR

  • Hinter Glas – Schmuck als musealer Gegenstand
    Dr. Cornelie Holzach, Art historian and director of the Pforzheim Jewellery Museum, Pforzheim, DE

ThinkingJewellery I (2005) - Jewellery and Thinking

Behind the at first glance somewhat strange sounding title "ThinkingJewellery" is an attempt to reflect on what jewellery is.

What seems particularly disconcerting is the idea of trying to grasp such a sensual matter in a mental, i.e. non-sensual way.It is about an interdisciplinary approach beyond the relevant categories of craft or art, applied or free: about exploring what makes jewellery - not what it looks like.It is easy to see that the answer to this question is not easily given: neither would it be a satisfactory answer that it is the task of jewellery to decorate - this would be a mere tautology. Even though the formal language of the jewellery can be quite artistic, it is still a self-referential work of art in the true sense of the word. Perhaps jewelry should rather be described as a special kind of personal objects that have a special relationship to the bodies and personalities of the wearers of jewelry. In 2005 poses the question of the nature of jewelry - not from the perspective of jewelry designers or art history.

This year's colloquium brings together ethnologists, philosophers, artists, natural and cultural scientists for a first look at the "beloved objects", quasi from outside.


  • Do we need a theory of jewellery?
    Wilhelm Lindemann, Conference Director, Idar-Oberstein, DE
  • The belief in noble and bad stones - about the baroque bottomlessness in the photogram
    Tim Otto Roth, artist and theorist, Oppenau and Cologne
  • Crystalline Worlds - Moments between the urge to explore and the desire to be an artist
    Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Wolfgang Hofmeister, Geoscientist, Joh.-Gutenberg University Mainz
    Bernd Munsteiner, gemstone artist, Stipshausen
    Tim Otto Roth, artist, Oppenau and Cologne
  • Jewellery - Decoration or personal object - Attempt to clarify terms
    Willi Lindemann, Conference Director, Idar-Oberstein
  • Jewellery as an index of sexuality
    Elisabeth G. Sledziewski, philosopher and political scientist at the Institut d`Études politiques de Strasbourg (Université Robert-Schumann)
  • The power of things,
    Prof. Dr. phil. Karl Heinz Kohl, ethnological historian, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Frankfurt University
  • Old enemy, new friend.Old enemy, new friend. How can jewellers benefit from fashion theory?
    Marjan Unger, art historian, lecturer, Sandberg-Institute/Postgraduate Academy Amsterdam
  • African sketches
    Martina Dempf, ethnologist and jewellery designer, Berlin















Date, venue, fee and registration

Date: t.b.a. for  October 2025


  • Trier University of Applied Sciences
    Campus Idar-Oberstein
    Saarstrasse 2
    55743 Idar-Oberstein
  • ONLINE: Zoom-Webinar
    Link will be sent max. 72h after payment

Participation fee:

  • ONLINE-LECTURES: 9€ per lecture (student's discount: 40%).



on the way to a theory of jewellery
352 pages, 16,5 x 24 cm, 110 illustrations in colour and 230 in black and white. Hardcover. Text in English.
ISBN: 978-3-89790-326-5

"SchmuckDenken" is the condensed result of the symposium of the same name, which has been jointly organised since 2005 by the Idar-Obersteiner course of studies in gemstone and jewellery design at the FH Trier and the city of Idar-Oberstein. More than 100 jewellery designers, students and scientists from all over Europe meet here regularly. They conduct a comprehensive, unlimited discourse on the theoretical foundations of jewellery on the basis of scientific contributions from a wide variety of research fields.

Sold out - try in an ANTIQUARIAN BOOKSHOP

ThinkingJewellery 2

ThinkingJewellery Two reports on the different perspectives of our quest for a "theory of jewellery“. The series "ThinkingJewellery" arose from the symposium series of the same name in which purely specialist jewellery expertise is deliberately integrated only sporadically and exemplarily – as well as in these books. Instead, scientists who look at the phenomenon "jewellery" from the outside will have their say. Then only an interdisciplinary approach makes it possible to determine the position of jewellery within the context of art and design within our contemporary society.

ThinkingJewellery Two offers, besides a contribution by Wilhelm Lindemann on the historical development of the crystalline, an essay by Regine Prange on the factual but also content-related reflections in the work of van Jeff Koons and its relations to Andy Warhole as well as an essay by Olaf Müller, he introduces thoughts on Goethe's work relating to physical phenomena.

2020 published by arnoldsche art publishers
184 pages, English
12 x 22 cm, approx. 50 pictures in colour.
Brochure with dust jacket.
ISBN 978-3-89790-539-9

€ 15,-

buy at arnoldsche

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