Over the course of the past few years, three innovative training institutions specialising in jewellery design have evolved in these three cities, located in Germany, Belgium and Finland. In this exhibition, the Jewellery Museum will be spotlighting new aspects of international contemporary jewellery – created in places that don’t rank among the focal points of the jewellery scene but for this reason are breeding grounds for the development of refreshingly new approaches to art jewellery.
Simply put, jewelry of the 1960s and ‘70s was revolutionary. If the 1950s were demure and controlled, the 1960s became an era of youthful rebellion and radical cultural change—and a new style of jewelry was part of that zeitgeist. Rock ‘n’ roll, the Vietnam War, the Kennedy assassinations, the civil rights and women’s movements, the widespread use of hallucinogenic drugs, and the concept of free love are all associated with these tumultuous decades. From space-age plastic hoop earrings to the hippie’s beaded necklaces, jewelry expressed individuality, nonconformity and the aesthetic, political, and intellectual values of the person who wore it.
Beyond these expressions in inexpensive costume jewelry that was available to all, fine jewelry took an equal turn to incorporate the mood of the times. Young jewelry designers no longer wanted simply to create demure baubles that accessorized current fashions. They thought of themselves as artists first, jewelers second, approaching their work as any painter or sculptor. They worked in gold, focusing on organic forms, favoring abstract shapes, and concepts related to space-age trends. They incorporated unconventional materials and were unrivaled in the texture and scale they brought to their designs.
Drawn from one of the most important private collections in the world, assembled by local Cincinnatian Kimberly Klosterman, this exhibition features the work of an international set of independent jewelers as well as major houses. The jewelry designers and makers of the 1960s and ‘70s were uncompromising in their vision. They took jewelry to a new level of artistry that paralleled the radical changes in society during these decades.