A piece of jewellery is a small object able to be of great significance to a person. People and jewellery are inseparable: jewellery has a human scale, humans impute meaning to jewellery.
A piece of jewellery is not merely a decorative ornament; it again often has a meaning to someone beyond the here and now. This might be something personal, marking an event, a celebration, a loss or an identity. These meanings can also be universal, part of the code language shaping society.
In industrial and secular societies rituals have often lost their meaning: initial rites of passage are often not known to us anymore, death and funeral rituals have become standardised. Jewellery is part of a familiar ritual such as marriage, and it is frequently present in military and other official decorations. What has happened to human and social rituals?
Is it possible to develop or reinstate new rituals in modern life? Does this already happen, without actual acknowledgement – in group identities, life styles? What kind of role does contemporary jewellery play when it comes to rituals?
The theme ‘Rituals’ inspired 14 international designers to design reproducible jewellery of an outspoken character, offering fresh and humanistic views on rituals.
Bless designed and made a necklace Winterjewellery, soft and comfortable as a scarf, referring to knitting as a ritual of hominess.
Chris Kabel designed Fladder, a decorative fan which will determine the streets more and more now our summers lengthen and become hotter, and power failure could prove to be a regular recurring phenomenon.
Heartbreak, designed by Tjep, is a little golden hammer and ceramic heart, coated with rubber on the inside. Thus the broken heart expresses the state you are in, while the act of smashing can be felt as a relief.
Frédéric Braham’s brooch Bonbons très Bons are ‘sweets’ which refer to modern life which without pills is almost unimaginable for most people: a pill for some ailment or other and for every kind of party
The Greeting Necklace and Peace Ring of Gijs Bakker investigate new ways of greeting are in our multicultural society a way for young people to show to which group you belong or wish to belong.
Katja Prins’ Bound by Blood brings together and mixes various prayer-necklaces, which only differ in details, a contemporary blood red jewel is created referring to our mutual bond as well as to the blood shed in the name of a religion.
The Wishbone necklace, designed by Michael Leung, is made of porcelain and together with a friend can be broken in half.
In the old days, Catholic children used to have a Madonna medallion pinned on every morning, significant little symbols for protection and remembrance. An old lost ritual that has been revived by Ruudt Peters in his design, Picture Medaillon.
The Kawari Dama by Susan Pietzsch is a string of beads made from coloured sugar with lover beads inside. It is intended for pleasure derived from a private ritual, the enjoyment of slowly sucking the beads and the unexpected find of a concealed preciousness.
Earth Ring ritualizes our sense of place. Warwick Freeman gives back the bond with the earth beneath our feet.
Last the Blast, designed by Susan Cohn, is a container designed to survive bomb explosions and other disasters. The two labels can be used for personal details as a way of identification, or for a personal message addressed to the next of kin.
Lin Cheung’s Friend or Foe? is a long tape measure of transparent PVC with red imprint, to be worn as a necklace. Instead of inches designations are given to assess the other person’s nature: friend or foe?
Abschiedsfest from Constanze Schreiber are a bracelet and ring, which may put a special meaning on the mourning ritual.
Wedding Pills, designed by Ted Noten, are golden alternative wedding rings with a traditional inscription with the name of the loved one and the marriage date. They can be taken with a glass of vodka or other beverage. Because of the intimate process these pills undergo a fundamental question is laid bare: are we going to search for it or not, it may provoke the first marriage crisis. And with whom it agrees, the ritual can be repeated after each crisis – a nice reconciliation ritual.
The photography is by Wouter van der Brink and Brecht Duijf. ‘Rituals’ has been made possible thanks to SM’s (Stedelijk Museum ‘s-Hertogenbosch) and the Mondriaan foundation, Amsterdam.