This project interviews 8 people under 40, living in the Netherlands or nearby, who own 3 or more pieces of contemporary jewellery. These questions open-up a conversation about the jewellery they own, we find out the story of each piece and get some insight into the ‘how and why’ of their collecting.

Key themes that arise are: jewellery’s sentimental value; locations and times that jewellery is bought or received as gifts; how pieces are displayed or archived; jewellery as a conversation starter; how these younger people consider the cost of jewellery and what factors are considered before collecting a piece.

*Collections and collectors… these interviews include a range of people who identify in various ways relative to the term collector: some consider themselves ‘Collectors’ and others do not. For this project, a collection includes 3 or more pieces of ‘contemporary’ jewellery and the term ‘Young Collector’ is inquisitively and speculatively used to frame younger people’s relationships with the jewellery they own.

The Young Collectors project is part of the Joy of Collecting manifestation organised by the Stichting Sieraden Collecties in collaboration with Current Obsession and is supported by the Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst.

 

Esmee Sanders

I have worked in the jewellery business for over 7 years. My career started at a local vintage and antique jewellery dealer on the Spiegelgracht in Amsterdam. In 2013 I moved to Hong Kong where I worked as a boutique manager for a small independent Parisian company, again selling high end antique and vintage pieces – from 1920s Cartier up to contemporary pieces by YAR. In 2015 I moved to Munich Germany where I briefly worked for the contemporary jeweller Hemmerle. Now I’m back in Amsterdam where, next to my job at a Creative Agency, I work as a jewellery consultant, helping people to find the right piece of jewellery (Antique, vintage or contemporary) for them.

How often do you wear your jewellery?

I wear jewellery every day. It should match my outfit and not overpower it. I have rings that I wear daily, for instance my grandmother’s diamond and sapphire ring from the late 19th century. When I have an event to attend I mostly choose to wear a simple outfit and a larger piece of jewellery – a statement piece. I don’t like to over accessorize.

Has there been any experience that has had an impact on the way you value contemporary jewellery?

My passion for jewellery started at a very young age as my grandmother was a collector of antique jewellery. I studied Art History and rarely focused on other things but the history of jewellery. My preferences and interests for jewellery design shift constantly. It started with a fascination for the eclectic designs of the 19th century, then the Art Deco period into the 1940s up to the strong and colourful designs of the 1980s. The interest in contemporary jewellery started a couple of years ago when I worked for contemporary high-end jeweler Hemmerle in Munich. The focus on the use of unusual materials and especially innovative techniques sparked my interest for contemporary jewellery. 

It is important for you that your jewellery communicates something to others?

Not really, I wear pieces because the hold a special memory. They are like little talismans that I wear dear to my heart. I do notice that when I wear a more obvious piece it can spark an interesting conversation, which is always nice!

Do you own other pieces of jewellery that might not be considered ‘contemporary jewellery’?

I would say my collection is very eclectic and truly echoes my passion for jewellery design through all ages. Every piece I own has a special meaning and represents a different period in my life. Most pieces I wear frequently and even though most of them were not made in the same century, they do complement each other. It’s a collection of fashion and fine jewellery, antique, vintage and contemporary.

Do you see any themes/qualities that connect your pieces?

Yes, I am very sensitive to colour and materials. This doesn’t mean I am looking for perfection, not at all. I am always looking for unusual colour combinations and interesting use of materials. A flaw in a gemstone, for instance, can make a piece of jewellery special and give it character. It just has to ‘make sense’…if that makes any sense…;)

Why are these four pieces ‘contemporary’ for you?

For me something contemporary is something timeless. I believe that a piece of jewellery should possess the ability to adapt to my evolving style and interests, therefore to be timeless. The 1940s necklace is as contemporary or maybe even more contemporary then a real “contemporary” piece. It is able to amaze me, to put a smile on my face and to make me feel great when I wear it, even when it was made over 60 years ago.

What directs your decision when acquiring a piece of jewellery?

A few things… It is really the combination of the right quality, the story behind the piece, who sells it, who made it, and the right price. For instance, when I like a piece that is completely out of my price range I will see it as a piece of exceptional art, and appreciate it as such. Meaning I won’t try it on, because if I do and fall in love with a piece I’m in trouble! If I see a piece that I love and it is within my price range I try it on and if it makes my heart ‘skip a beat’ I have to buy it, and luckily I can.

Do you think of yourself as a collector?

I have been working in the jewellery industry for a while now and I wouldn’t say I am a collector. I rather see myself as a jewellery professional and lover who helps others to find their perfect piece. But of course, now and then, if I come across a piece that intrigues me I will buy it. If the price is right, of course!

1. “Pearly whites” brooch by Benedikt Fischer was an instant hit! I saw it displayed at Rob Koudijs Gallery in Amsterdam, together with the other “pearly whites” brooches in the collection. It is my first ‘contemporary jewellery’ piece.

2. 1940s “tubogas” necklace: I instantly fell in love. The pleasant pinkish hue of the rose gold, so typical for the 1940s and the strikingly simple yet powerful design made me want to own this piece, I have been wearing it ever since. I bought it through a jewellery dealer in Hong Kong.

3. A pair of ear clips from the 1930s. I bought this set of simple ear clips made from Bakelite in a small vintage shop in Munich. These “Art Deco” ear clips look so contemporary and really fit my ‘minimalistic’ fashion style.

4. I’m not sure of the exact name, I call it ‘Column’ brooch, it’s by Benedikt Fischer and I received it as a gift from Galerie Rob Koudijs.

 

Clementine Edwards

I’m an Australian artist and editor based in the Netherlands, and currently studying at the Dutch Art Institute. clementineedwards.com

How often do you wear your jewellery?

Every day without fail. I have six piercings, too. If I forget my rings and necklaces, the rings and studs are always in and on.

Has there been any experience, person or learning that has had an impact on the way you value contemporary jewellery?

Robert Baines taught me two things about making jewellery: to transcend the material, and to get off the substrate. I return to this advice frequently, even if I don’t follow it. It has had a vast impact on the way in which I value jewellery. 

Is it important for you that your jewellery communicates something to others? Or does its value come from its private significance for you?

Communication is central to jewellery, but of course every reading is its own private interpretation.

Do you own other pieces of jewellery that might not be considered ‘contemporary jewellery’?

I have a Nick Bastin ring and a Robert Baines brooch, and small gifts from people over time, like Katie-Jayne Britchford, for instance. There is probably more but I can’t remember. Debris’ work lives in the realm of art but then, doesn’t it all? It’s a matter of framing. I wear a lot of jewellery made of things I’ve found or been gifted and just put on – a flower, a thread, a safety pin…

Do you see any themes/qualities that connect your pieces? 

Wearability, comfort and relationships (people give me stuff).

What directs your decision when acquiring a piece of jewellery?  

Chance and sharp eyes. If I am buying jewellery, mostly it comes from those jewellery vending machines or from cheap fashion stores. If I have a few euro change in my pocket then I might acquire a work. If I don’t like it, I’ll give it away.

Do you think of yourself as a collector?

I’m a collector of things that can or might be worn, but what I collect I also give away. I don’t see myself as a jewellery collector so much as a jewellery maker.

Tell us the story of your pieces.

1. Love heart pendant by Marcos Guzman – In my first year of studying gold and silversmithing at RMIT in Melbourne in 2009, I put on a big jewellery group show with two school friends. It was the first show I’d organised, so psychologically it was a momentous occasion. Marcos Guzman was one of the exhibiting artists and when it came to deinstall he gave me this heart pendant. If I recall the story correctly, the heart is cut from the steel of a red car chassis, probably a Ford; Marcos’ brother was working in a car parts factory at the time. Marcos drilled small divets into the backside of the pendant. It’s simple and elegant. I go through phases of wearing the work: I wear it when I feel like my heart chakra needs freeing up or when I’m wearing my red windcheater.

2. Necklace by Debris Facility – This necklace glows in the dark. That fact is essential. Debris’ practice is about parasitism, I guess that is their framework, really. Much of their work is about overlap – about the blurriness that occurs in social, spatial and material encounters. Debris gave me this necklace after we did a show in Melbourne together in 2015 called Losing Spree. It brings me such joy. Everyone who knows Debris recognizes their work immediately. I was at a friend’s dinner party in Rotterdam recently, and another guest recognized the work. People who don’t know Debris’ work want to know about it.

3. Face ring by me – I chose this ring and not, say, a resin ring I bought by Nicholas Bastin, because I wear this ring every day of my life. And in fact, I left the Bastin ring in a box in my parents’ house when I moved to the Netherlands. I’ve been wearing the face ring for eight years straight. It was the second thing I ever cast. Katherine Bowman taught me an important lesson in her casting class. She told me to never work on a piece of metal when I am in a bad mood – to instead put the work in a glass of water and leave it on a windowsill in the sunlight for a few days (so that the investment disintegrates), and to return to the piece later. When I first cast this work I was angry at it. I was broke and couldn’t afford the silver. Since then I have worn it with love, and it has spawned imposters around the globe (I know of three rip-offs, and am glad for their existence). I have lost it so many times but it always returns to me. It’s been starting conversations for eight years.

 

Astrid Ubbink

I have a Bachelor’s degree in Art History and a Masters of Arts and Heritage Studies. I have always been passionate about art and fashion, so when I discovered contemporary jewellery I completely fell in love with it. Now I work as a full-time gallery assistant at Galerie Marzee in Nijmegen.

How often do you wear your jewellery?

I wear my earrings from Annelies Planteijdt every day, because they are very comfortable. I do not wear the other pieces very often. 

Has there been any experience that has had an impact on the way you value contemporary jewellery?

As an art historian, I look differently at contemporary jewellery than jewellery makers themselves. I don’t see the ‘construction’ at first, but instead what the piece tries to tell us. For my master’s thesis I researched the conservation of contemporary jewellery, using conservation theories of contemporary art. These theories focused on preserving the meaning of objects, not their authentic materials. The process changed the way I look at jewellery, it helped me to search for the meaning of each piece. 

It is important for you that your jewellery communicates something to others?

I don’t wear jewellery to communicate something to others. I wear my pieces because I feel like wearing them.

Do you own other pieces of jewellery that might not be considered ‘contemporary jewellery’?

I also own fine jewellery, for example a ring from Swarovski, and commercial jewellery like earrings from H&M. I keep my different ‘types’ of jewellery in separate boxes.

Do you see any themes/qualities that connect your pieces?

I find this a difficult question to answer… I might say that my pieces are all quite minimalistic?

What directs your decision when acquiring a piece of jewellery?  

If the piece is wearable or if it is an investment (if the piece will remain meaningful).

Do you think of yourself as a collector?

I didn’t think of myself as a collector until Liesbeth den Besten suggested I participate in this project. This may be because I know about the collectors that buy pieces from galleries like Galerie Marzee. These ‘experienced’ collectors buy ‘bigger’ pieces. I feel like my ‘collection’ isn’t comparable with the collections of these experienced collectors. But I do see myself becoming one, once I have more budget to spend. I often think ‘If I had the money, then this piece would be perfect for me’. For now, I look for pieces with accessible prices that would be an addition to my ‘collection’, because there are some. So, in a way I see myself as a collector, but I wouldn’t dare say it out loud, because I am not a collector… yet.

Tell us the story of your pieces…

 1. Pendant ‘spoon’ Lucy Sarneel, 2017 – I got this pendant as a gift from Marie-José van den Hout, the owner of Galerie Marzee. The pendant was a present after the hard work of Schmuck in Munich in 2017. The piece was made by Lucy Sarneel for her exhibition in CODA Museum in Apeldoorn, but afterwards I received it.

2. Brooch Autumn Ball Urmas Lüüss, 2014 – This was the first piece of contemporary jewelry I bought myself. It was from his graduation collection and was featured in the Marzee International Graduate Show 2014. I bought it because I thought it was a fun piece. I can really enjoy a good cup of tea..

3. Brooch ‘Schrijfbroche’ Herman Hermsen – I bought this piece because I love the work of Herman Hermsen – his pieces are so clever ­- and I love the color black. This huge black disk fits me. I love to wear black clothing and the piece looks completely right with me when I wear it.

4. Earrings Annelies Planteijdt, 2015 and 2017 – The first pair of earrings I received as a present from Marie-José van den Hout, as a thank you for my work as an intern at Galerie Marzee. She had them made especially for me, she knows I like geometric shapes. These earrings are half a cloud, half a square. The other ‘baby’ versions of these earrings Annelies Planteijdt made for me because my parents wanted to give me them as a present for receiving my master’s degree. Both sets of earrings have an emotional value for me.

5. Ring Philip Sajet (I believe this piece was made in 1994) – I bought this ring at the Stedelijk Museum ‘s-Hertogenbosch. The museum was selling some pieces from their collection and I love rings, so I thought to just buy it as a present to myself.

6. Ring ‘Glasring’ Herman Hermsen – This is actually the second ‘glasring’ I’ve owned, the first was stolen from my house (together with most of the other jewellery I owned). Because I really like the concept of the ring, I chose to buy it again.

7. Ring Karin Seufert, 2016 – I bought this because I thought it was a beautiful and wearable ring, almost like wearing a small dark universe on your finger.

8. Earrings ‘lellebel’ Herman Hermsen – These are a classic pair of earrings and a very fun addition to my ‘collection’.

9. Bracelet Noon Passama – An edition piece I bought from Current Obsession.

10. Brooch Stefano Marchetti, 2017 – This small pin is made by Stefano Marchetti, commissioned by Marie-José, as a thank you for having a successful fair in Munich last year. The pin has 5 M’s on it: Marzee Marchetti Marvelous München Messe.

11. Brooch ‘untitled’ Paul Hulzebosch, 2016 – This brooch I got as a present from Marie-José. It is made by a student product design from ArtEZ university of the applied arts in Arnhem. It was featured in an exhibition we had in Galerie Marzee last year, with students from ArtEZ. I think the black wool pressed together with black resin give a really nice effect.

 

Jade Kerste

I am Jade Kerste. I’m a twenty-six-year-old art historian and I’m working at Galerie Marzee.

How often do you wear your jewellery?

I work at Galerie Marzee, where I have to wear a piece of jewellery every day. This is a very good excuse to wear my own jewellery a lot. In my free time I try to wear something every time I go out.

Has there been any experience, person or learning that has had an impact on the way you value contemporary jewellery?

Working at Galerie Marzee opened my eyes to contemporary jewellery. I am an art historian, and jewellery played no role in the curriculum at university. So I started working with jewellery from an ‘art’ point of view. But it didn’t take long for me to realize that jewellery has an extra dimension compared to other forms of art: you can wear it on your body, and therefore it becomes really personal. I think this is why jewellery is easy to collect. You get attached to it.

It is important for you that your jewellery communicates something to others?

I think it is most important to wear something that fits me, otherwise I wouldn’t wear it often. But I also like if it shows other people a little of my personality, that they will understand me better when I wear a piece.

Does your jewellery sit within the context of any other collection?

During my studies I made small exhibitions on the university campus and organized an art auction for students – small art works or models were for sale for low ‘student prices’. This is where I bought my first works of art myself, and got less scared of spending money on art. I thought, as I wanted to be an art collector, it would be best to start early. My jewellery collection took flight about five years later. 

Do you see any themes/qualities that connect your pieces?

They all say something about me. Also, I like to see the pieces not only as wearable jewellery, but also as sculptures or small art pieces.

What directs your decision when acquiring a piece of jewellery?  

When I choose to buy a piece, I make sure it fits me as a person, it fits my clothes and it is wearable enough.

Do you think of yourself as a collector?

I’ve always liked the idea of being an art collector, so I guess I see myself as one.

Tell us the story of your pieces…

1. Tube necklace by Vera Aldejohann: I bought my first ‘expensive’ piece of art jewellery in the gallery where I work, Galerie Marzee. The first week I worked there I saw this necklace and it immediately appealed to me. It’s a little heavy but looks good on almost anything, and it is an artwork in itself. It took me a year to get myself ready to spend the money. Also, I was getting more and more afraid every day that someone else would buy it. When I finally bought it, someone said “It was made for you.” I think jewellery should feel like that.

2. Lellebel earrings and a glass ring by Herman Hermsen: What I love about these pieces is that their wearability lies in the design. There is no pin or ring attached to it. It made me appreciate jewellery more. These are presents I gave myself my first year of working with jewellery.

3. Pin by Tabea Reulecke: I got this pin with a bear’s face on it for my last birthday. I like the look on his face so much, he looks so content and happy. It reminds of my boyfriend and our home, so I wear it quite often, taking that with me where I go.

4. Hand-dotted Dot pin by Lucy Sarneel: I liked these pins so much when they came into the gallery. I immediately spotted my favourite one: these colours remind me of the ‘disco dip’ I liked on my ice cream as a kid. It’s small and subtle but it makes me happy.

5. Steel sponge brooch by Merlin Meremaa: This has been my latest buy. It’s a piece from last year’s Marzee International Graduate Show. I love it if jewellery (or art in general) is made from existing materials. That’s how it happens to be that I have a necklace made from kitchen tubes and a brooch made of a steel sponge! Also, I wear a lot of yellow and this black brooch looks great on it.

 

Alexandra van Strien – de Groot

My husband, Robbert, and I started acquiring jewellery when we were studying at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie. We bought some pieces together, some are swapped, some were gifts. We have some more pieces, but for this project we decided to only show the ones which we feel ‘make’ the start of our collection.

How often do you wear your jewellery?

They have been in a moving box for a long time, but occasionally I take one out to wear to a party or an event or something.

Has there been any experience that has had an impact on the way you value contemporary jewellery?

I learned about contemporary jewellery at the Rietveld Academy. But my thesis where I researched the market for contemporary jewellery gave me a whole new perspective on the sector.

It is important for you that your jewellery communicates something to others?

I like how people react when I wear one of these pieces. It’s a nice way to start a conversation.

Does your jewellery sit within the context of any other collection?

I have a lot of ‘regular’ jewellery, but these have a separate storage place. We own some art and design pieces and we have a spoon collection. We like to make little exhibitions in our home with a selection of our pieces.

Do you see any themes/qualities that connect your pieces?

I now realise that somehow the colours match quite well, I’ve never noticed that before.

What directs your decision when acquiring a piece of jewellery?  

It usually speaks to me somehow, this can be the shape but also the story or concept behind it.

Do you think of yourself as a collector? Why/Why not? 

I see myself as a ‘starting’ collector.

 

Tell us the story of your pieces…

1. I bought this necklace by Thelma Aviani at the Grey Area exhibition in Mexico in 2010. I think it’s the most expensive piece we own. I remember that I was really doubting whether I should buy it. But it attracted me so much that I came back to the exhibition on one of my last days to buy it. We’ve recently moved and much of our jewellery is still packed in the moving box, but I took this piece out a few months ago to wear it, afterwards I hung it on my mirror, and it’s still there. In our last home we used to have little exhibitions of our pieces in the living room. Hopefully we can start that again once all of our renovations are finished!

2. Extra Button – Noon Passama (the blue and green one). These buttons were part of an exhibition that I did for my internship with Susan Pietzsch from SMUCK2 . We decided to buy two as a reminder of the project.

3. The porcelain ‘snowball’ brooch is from Manon van Kouswijk. Robbert got it as a thank you gift after he finished his internship with her. During the internship he assisted production of these brooches.

4. The Stop Boring Jewellery button is from Ksenia Obukhova. We studied together and she made these buttons as part of a button project at the academy. Robbert and I both liked it a lot so we decided to get one. I’m not sure if we bought it or swapped it.

5. We bought the XTC-pill brooch from Ted Noten at his Sale at Galerie Rob Koudijs (in 2008). We also bought another brooch by Noten which we both like a lot (more than the XTC one…), it’s based on his acrylic work. But unfortunately it’s been missing for quite some years and we’re afraid it has been lost in one move or another.

6. The brooch from Edgar Mosa is an early version of the pieces he made for his end exam work. He studied a year above me and we swapped a piece.

7. The Batman brooch is from Nina Stübler. She studied a year after me at the Rietveld and some time after I had left I saw a Facebook post with all these batmans in different colours. Robbert is a bit of a batman fan, so we just had to buy one.

8. The ‘chameleon’ button is from Willemijn van der Sloot. She was making these when we had a stand with the Jewellery department at the Sieraad fair. This button has been on my jacket since.

 

Juan Harnie

I’m a 24-year-old jewellery designer/blogger/collector from Hasselt, Belgium. Together with my boyfriend Dennis, I collect contemporary jewellery and we have around 65 pieces at the moment.

How often do you wear your jewellery?

I try to wear jewellery every day! As a jewellery maker, I think it is very important to wear my own pieces as well as that of others. I have noticed how few designers wear jewellery themselves, which is a pity.

Has there been any experience that has had an impact on the way you value contemporary jewellery?

My education at PXL University and internship at gallery Beyond really influenced my view on jewellery. Learning how to make jewellery during my education and organising exhibitions about contemporary jewellery during my internship taught me so much about a lot of different aspects of jewellery. Now I try to visit as many jewellery related events as I can – to stay up to date on the contemporary jewellery world. 

It is important for you that your jewellery communicates something to others?

I really need to love the piece and need to love wearing it. I’m not really concerned about other people’s opinions, to be honest.

Do you own other pieces of jewellery that might not be considered ‘contemporary jewellery’?

I only collect contemporary jewellery.

Do you see any themes/qualities that connect your pieces?

We both love black jewellery, so we have a lot of dark pieces. Nevertheless, I have occasionally fallen in love with a very bright piece.
A lot of our pieces are also quite minimalist and they are very different from most of the pieces I design myself. I don’t know why…

What directs your decision when acquiring a piece of jewellery?  

We need to be able to wear the piece. Also as a young person, I don’t always have the money to buy expensive pieces. I love it when galleries have some affordable pieces as well. It would be great if more galleries would do this! There are more young people on a budget that would love to be able to acquire a piece.

Do you think of yourself as a collector?

I do think of myself as a collector because I really go looking for pieces I like during fairs and exhibitions. I also have a list of designers from whom I hope to own a piece at one point.
I really love owning a piece of someone’s creative process and I can spend hours opening all the boxes and just looking at all the jewellery.

Tell us the story of your pieces.

1. This black necklace was made by Anneleen Swillen and is from her Containers In Context Collection. She uses waste containers as molds to create the pieces. I love black jewellery and this is the only blackish piece she made in this collection. I was able to buy it directly from her in 2015.

2. I visited KunstRai Amsterdam for the first time this year. Gallery Ra was one of the jewellery galleries presenting their collection. Here I received this orange/grey necklace by Paul Derrez as a birthday gift.

3. The blue oval brooch was made by Ana Margarida Carvalho. I traded it with her when we both participated in The Contemporary Jewellery Exchange 2017. As a result, we were offered a shared exhibition at Gallery Beyond in Antwerp.

4. The round ring was made by Tai Jingwen. I bought it during the Marzee Graduate Show 2016. I loved it the second I saw it!

5. The black cicada brooch by Märta Mattsson was an anniversary gift my boyfriend gave me this year. We both love Märta Mattsson’s work, black pieces and brooches. Therefore this is a piece we both can (and love to) wear.

6. I love the work by Karen Vanmol. I have a few pieces by her, but this is my favorite one by far! I bought it during her solo expo at Multiple gallery in Hasselt, Belgium last year.

 

Koen Jacobs

My name is Koen. I’m a gold and silversmith who moved into the contemporary jewellery world and recently I graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy. I’m fascinated by opposites and the tension between contradicting values, such as ‘natural’ and ‘artificial’.

How often do you wear your jewellery?

When I tell people I’m a jeweller they are often surprised. They look at my body and question why I’m not wearing any jewellery. I’m a jewellery maker and when I’m at my workbench I don’t like the feeling of wearing something precious on me, to be careful of. Personally, I only like to wear jewellery on special occasions, like a gallery (or museum) opening, or during events like the Munich jewellery week.

Has there been any experience that has had an impact on the way you value contemporary jewellery?

During my year at Alchimia in Florence, Ruudt Peters gave me the assignment to make 99 ugly flowers. It was my introduction to contemporary jewellery and a huge eye-opener. I learned that, working through ugliness, I could reach new, interesting shapes and a more interesting type of beauty than I was used to as a goldsmith. Since I was not allowed to work with metal, I started to appreciate the qualities and possibilities of new materials.

It is important for you that your jewellery communicates something to others?

I highly value the personal stories which are attached to pieces of jewellery, so for me the personal meaning is more important than what it communicates to others. When I wear jewellery from friends, it reminds me of nice memories.

Does your jewellery sit within the context of any other collection?

I have two watches, the first one I got from my parents on my 18th birthday. When my grandfather past away, I inherited a pocket watch which has been in the family for several generations. I also have some jewellery from distant travels, including a bracelet made from Giraffe hair, from Kenya and a jade carved pendant, from China. 

Do you see any themes/qualities that connect your pieces? 

My collection of jewellery is the result of lovely friends who have given pieces to me, so there is a personal relation between me and the maker. Besides personal feelings, I see a material quality between the pieces. A tension between natural and artificial.

What directs your decision when acquiring a piece of jewellery?  

I have still never bought a piece of contemporary jewellery. However, the latest exhibition at Rob Koudijs gallery made me seriously consider buying a shell brooch from Benedikt Fischer. I have a crazy fascination with shells and a huge collection myself, so when I saw these brooches by Benedikt, each with a different expression, for the first time I really wanted to buy a piece and I could already imagine wearing it myself. For me it’s important to have a personal connection to the piece, I’m fascinated by materials and techniques. I would never buy because of an artist’s name.

Do you think of yourself as a collector?

I don’t consider myself a ‘jewellery collector’, since my collection is the result of gifts. But I’m definitely a collector. At home my jewellery is presented in combination with many small things which are precious to me. So the pieces I own sit next to little material tryouts, minerals, shells, pieces of jewellery from myself, which represent an important learning moment in my development, but also edition pieces which I collected during the Munich jewellery week and a series of business cards from Otto Künzli, which he gave to me during a party at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts.

Tell us the story of your pieces…

1. The first piece of contemporary jewellery I got is an edition piece from my friend Daria Borovkova when I visited the graduation show at Alchimia in Florence (summer 2014). In the following years I got jewellery from other friends including an edition piece from Elwy Schutten and a heart brooch from Urmas Luüs.

2. I have a ring from Boris de Beijer. Boris was moving his studio and contacted the Rietveld jewellery department to have them pick up a box with useful materials he wanted to get rid of. I was asked to bike to his studio and once back at the academy I was the first one to have a look in the box. Somewhere in the mess of materials I found this ring.

3. I am the studio assistant to Ruudt Peters and some years ago he gave me an Ouroboros edition piece for my birthday. After assisting some meetings of the SSC foundation for Dutch jewellery collections, Ruudt said that now I’m a jewellery collector too!

4. There was a moment when Ruudt destroyed some ceramic tryout pieces of the Terram series. I managed to save one piece and to convince Ruudt to give it to me. To clarify its status as a tryout piece, Ruudt was about to sign it with an ugly black marker, so I quickly put it into my bag. We made the deal that I could have the piece if I promised to never wear it.

5. In 2016 I enjoyed a four month exchange program in the jewellery department of the Munich Academy of Fine Arts. At the end there was a farewell party organised and that evening I received a necklace from Takayoshi Terajima.

6. When Jantje Fleischhut was leaving the Rietveld jewellery department, she gave everybody an edition piece. The girls in the department decided that the pink and yellow, sparkling dot suited me best!

7. The Rietveld jewellery department has a beautiful tradition where a trophy is made for the graduating students. For the Diploma ceremony last summer, Yunting Zhang made a necklace for me with baby shoes. She was inspired by my graduation project, in which I tried to go back to my childhood. Baby shoes also represent my first new steps into the jewellery world after graduation and leaving the academy. For me this piece is very special because it’s so personal.

Stephanie Schuitemaker

Stephanie Schuitemaker is founder of SCHUIT, a pop-up gallery representing multidisciplinary fashion designers and artists who push the boundary of their professional fields.
Half Norwegian, half Dutch, Stephanie lives in Amsterdam-Noord with her partner of a decade.

How often do you wear your jewellery?

I wear my jewellery all the time, not just on special occasions. Why leave it in the closet or in the safe when such interesting pieces can brighten your day?

Has there been any experience that has had an impact on the way you value contemporary jewellery?

My aunt has played a significant role in the way I value contemporary jewellery as well as the act of buying. I share with her the respect for artists. I love to learn more about them, their vision and techniques and I delight in contributing to their continued career.
I am grateful to Galeries Rob Koudijs and Marzee for taking the time to educate me in the way the artists they represent work, and the materials and techniques that they use. Discovering this world has also helped me discover my own style.

It is important for you that your jewellery communicates something to others?

Haha! The jewellery and clothes I wear aren’t always easy for other people to appreciate. I know exactly why I love what I love. I feel empowered by each work. To me they are also living memories.
For example I own three pieces by the designer Joanne Vosloo. Originally a fashion designer, some of her work can be considered jewellery. Her pieces make me laugh and remind me not to take life so seriously. One bracelet hangs 30 cm from my wrist. It’s not very practical but I love how it challenges my perspective on what is conventional – and those of other people! The humor makes me smile. After a while I don’t even notice I’m wearing it.

Do you own other pieces of jewellery that might not be considered ‘contemporary jewellery’?

My interest lies in the cross-over between jewellery and fashion design. For my gallery SCHUIT, I work with fashion designers whose pieces go beyond the definition of clothing and become pieces of art instead. For my own collection I’m drawn to works that I can wear on top of my clothing. Also, it is interesting to see that what is considered ‘contemporary jewellery’ differs significantly in price and valuation from fashion design and as a professional I seek to further explore this space.

Do you see any themes/qualities that connect your pieces?

I love unusual materials and a balance between beautiful and raw. Also, I’m mostly drawn to three-dimensional works that create depth and have a significant size. No small stuff for me. Also, things don’t need to be beautiful in the traditional sense. I do, however, love delicacy in the detail and the workmanship.

What directs your decision when acquiring a piece of jewellery?

When a piece speaks directly to me and it is something I haven’t encountered before. I like it when I feel there is a story within the work which I need to unlock. When I experience a mystical sense of recognition – as if such a piece is already part of me. I’m especially attracted to pieces which are on the edge of what we perceive could be worn daily or kept for special occasions.

Do you think of yourself as a collector?

Although I keep track of a number of artists and work I would love to buy, I find ‘collector’ quite a big word.
I definitely dedicate time and effort to following artists and see buying their work as a contribution to the art scene. Professionally, I enjoy being involved with the artists I select. Maybe trying to buy a piece of every designer I work with does make me a collector after all. If collectors are allowed to be highly irrational in their choices from time to time, I qualify. Sometimes I just need to have a work and I can’t stop thinking about it. It makes me feel alive.
I’ve always had this. When I was young, I would spend half a year’s allowance on one extremely beautiful coat or lingerie and have nothing to spend for months. I have never regretted these purchases.

Tell us the story of your pieces…

1. My first pieces of jewellery were given by my mother to my two sisters and me when she passed away. I was 15 years old. It took some time before I felt ready to wear the bold earrings and necklaces by Christian Lacroix she used to wear – I was too young to handle such extraordinary pieces with confidence and pride. I love wearing and sharing them with my sisters.

2. My aunt Lisette Schuitemaker introduced me to contemporary jewellery. She had already acquired an exciting collection, and she would take me for visits to Galerie Rob Koudijs. I fell in love with the blue brooch by Benedikt Fischer, which she immediately acquired as a present for my graduation. The brooch is made from a plastic construction helmet which the artist carved in a pattern.

3. This was the start of an increasing interest and dedication to the art of contemporary jewellery.

4. The first significant work I bought was a pair of earrings by Ute Eitzenhöfer at Galerie Marzee. The earrings consist of a circle and a rectangle. I love that these earrings are elegant although they have a rough edge. The structure of the diamond powder resembles gravel and it is this uneasy beauty that I’m intrigued by. The work of Ute Eitzenhöfer is incredible and I find her work inspiring in so many ways. Her book and the postcards of her work, issued by Galerie Marzee, are all within arm’s reach of my desk. Although I would love to acquire another piece by the artist, I already feel privileged to wear these earrings which have become more than solely an object.

5. I bought this brooch by Catalina Brenes at Galerie Marzee. It touched me with its balance between delicacy and uneven edges. I was totally into the book ‘Two Moons’ by Murakami and the two moons I saw in the brooch instantly spoke to me. That evening the moon was so big, reflecting in the water so brightly that I decided to let them know this work was mine. I am a true romantic, it seems!