The term ‘contemporary jewellery’ differs among regions. In France it is called ‘creation’ or ‘creative jewellery’, in Italy they refer to it as ‘art goldsmithing’ and the USA knows it as ‘studio or art jewellery’. Here in Australia we simply call it contemporary, modern or art jewellery.
Contemporary jewellery is hard to define, because it’s so diverse. It is more than just trend driven decoration, it is an artistic statement that utilises both traditional and modern techniques and materials to conceptualise an idea without being confined to precious metals and stones. It is a vessel of expressing an individual creativity for the maker and the wearer.
This form of jewellery takes into consideration a range of concerns from the materiality to the social context, to formulate the final product. While many of these pieces are one of a kind, contemporary jewellery also boasts everyday wear necklaces, rings, earrings, and brooches.
Contemporary jewellery has a flexible approach to materials, encouraging designers to diversify and get creative. This, in turn, gave the designer freedom in the outcome of the piece, and the message it conveys.
Contemporary jewellery can easily be seen on a fashion runway, and at a jewellery exhibition, but it can also sit quite comfortably at a contemporary art gallery or museum. And though it doesn’t appeal to the mass market consumer, it still needs to be able to work with the human body to some degree.
Traditional limits of wearability don’t apply to contemporary jewellery, as it lies between the realms of craft and art. This kind of jewellery, the body can be restricted by it or given the freedom to interact and perform with it. It’s not always suited for practical purposes and plays with scale; going beyond the traditional suitability and comfort of traditional jewellery.