In this exhibition, Museum Volkenkunde – the Netherlands’ national museum of ethnography – will be presenting the largest collection of jewellery ever to be displayed in a Dutch museum. Almost 1000 items of jewellery by designers from all over the world will guarantee a feast for the eye, as well as plenty of surprises and no small measure of wonder.
As well as exploring how people around the world adorn themselves, the exhibition will also zoom in on the makers, the techniques they use, and the extraordinary stories of some of those who wear the jewellery.
Gold, silver, natural materials and glass
People’s need to adorn themselves is universal and as old as humanity itself. Every conceivable material is used for the purpose: shells, fruits, seeds, bone and stones, as well as the usual gold and silver, and of course precious stones like diamonds, sapphires and rubies. Jewellery makes people more attractive, and it often has a deeper meaning. But one aspect that is sometimes overlooked is the people who make the jewellery and the materials and techniques they use. This exhibition will change all that.
Ode to jewellers
The exhibition will thus be an ode to jewellery makers. Crafts and techniques that date back centuries, such as gold- and silversmithing, tell tales of culture, history and identity. The exhibition will feature the most beautiful items of jewellery from the collections of Museum Volkenkunde, the Africa Museum, Wereldmuseum Rotterdam and the Tropenmuseum, from delicate gold pieces made in Asia and South America, items made from a huge range of natural materials from Oceania, silver jewellery with special meanings from North America and the Middle East, to beadwork from Africa.
Old and new
Besides jewellery from its own collection, which spans several centuries, the museum will also be showing recent pieces by designers from all over the world. Their work demonstrates their love of traditional techniques, motifs and materials, which they use as inspiration for new applications, occasionally combining them with new techniques. This produces some exciting and impressive pieces, like the rings designed by Johanna Dahm, who learnt the Asante gold casting method from a master goldsmith in Ghana, West Africa. One unique element of this exhibition is the five designers who have been invited to take a new look at the collection. In a workshop specially set up for them in the exhibition, they will make an item of jewellery inspired by the museum’s collection. Visitors will also have the opportunity to make a piece of jewellery to take home.
Workshops en sieradenatelier
Een uniek onderdeel van de expositie zijn de vijf sieradenontwerpers die zijn uitgenodigd om met een nieuwe blik naar de collectie te kijken. In een speciaal ingericht atelier in de tentoonstelling zullen ze een sieraad maken, geïnspireerd op de museumcollectie. Bezoekers kunnen ook zelf aan de slag en met een eigengemaakt sieraad naar huis.