Applied Art
Gemstone and Jewellery


19th - 21st mai 2008: SD-IV "Ornament & Society"

On the way to a theory of jewellery

Under the title “Thinking - Jewellery” we are trying to reflect upon what jewellery really is. It is an interdisciplinary approach outside the respective categories of handicraft and art, either applied or liberal. It is the search for what jewellery amounts to, not about its appearance.

In 2005 ethnologists, philosophers, cultural and natural scientists started collecting ideas during an interdisciplinary discourse. In 2006 an approach was made through discussions and an analysis of different pieces of work and projects of conceptually- working jewellery artists. Manfred Nisslmüller presented some of his works for discussion as did Suska Mackert and Jivan Astfalck. Mackert and Astfalck also attended as speakers and participated in two of the four parallel exhibitions opened on the occasion of the colloquium in Idar-Oberstein.The 3rd colloquium of “Thinking – Jewellery” in 2007 focused on the complex relationship between beauty and uniformity. Among others Winfried Menninghaus, Birgit Richard and Bernhard Schobinger searched for an answer whether jewellery as a means of recognition is a tool of conformism or whether it may become an expression of non-conformism if used in a provocative attempt to distinguish oneself from 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? Scientists like

  • Marjan Unger, art historician und author,
  • Prof. Dr. Helmut Neunzert, em. Professor of Mathematics,
  • Prof. Dr. Burghart Schmidt, Professor of language und aesthetics
  • Dr. Christina Threuter, art scientist and
  • Prof. Reinhard Bahr, music theorist

and artists like

  • Johannes Stüttgen,
  • Peter Egli,
  • Lin Cheung and
  • Gijs Bakker

are discussing these controversial questions about the influences of the ornament on jewellery and society.

“Thinking - Jewellery” will be continued during the next FormDiscourse 2009 in Idar-Oberstein.

Theo Smeets, December 19, 2011