It’s apt, then, that today sees the opening of the Design Museum’s show of contemporary jewellery, Unexpected Pleasures, with exhibition design by Ab Rogers and exhibition graphics by Jonathan Barnbrook.
The exhibition celebrates the best in contemporary jewellery from around the world, looking not only at the aesthetics of the works, but also questioning ‘what we value and regard as precious’, according to the Design Museum.
Starting with the beginnings of the contemporary jewellery movement in the 1970s, the show traces the new processes and constant experimentation that have characterised the practice until the modern day.
The role of ‘preciousness’, says the museum, has gradually moved away from the idea of monetary value and instead has come to represent the idea of the personal association we can feel to the pieces.
Curator Dr. Susan Cohn, herself a jewellery designer and maker, has arranged the exhibition into three themes.
The first, Worn Out, highlights the experience of wearing jewellery on the body, and as such, pieces are displayed at the height at which they would appear on a person.
The Linking Links part of the show examines how jewellery can be used to delineate narratives and meanings, while the final theme, A Fine Line, shows how contemporary jewellery today has been informed by the styles that preceded it, highlighting key figures within the movement.
Unexpected Pleasures runs until 3 March 2013 at the Design Museum Shad Thames, London SE1