Career spotlight: Contemporary jeweller

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Madeleine Dore

Contemporary jewellery is a celebrated and varied art form. We find out what defines the artistic medium today and how to pursue a career as an artistic jeweller.

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Jeweller and taxidermist Julia deVille in her studio. Image: James Geer via egetal.com.au

It is often boasted that Melbourne is the cultural epicentre of Australia, but few are quick to include contemporary jewellery in the crown of the city’s artistic legacy. Yet Melbourne is considered globally as a centre of contemporary jewellery alongside Amsterdam and Munich.

Celebrating local and international contemporary jewellery and objects is the inaugural Radiant Pavilion. From 1-6 September over 170 artists from 17 countries will feature in a curated events program including street works, exhibitions, performances and installations, artist talks, workshops and open studios.  

Now bigger than expected, Radiant Pavilion is an opportunity for jewellers to share their work with their peers, make new connections and bring their work to a new audience, said co-founder Chloë Powell.

A key focus of the event is to expand the awareness of the art form. Director of contemporary jewellery gallery Emma Goodsir, said that when she started e.g.etal seventeen years ago jewellery as an art form was very niche. ‘It has become much more known but I definitely wouldn’t say it is mainstream yet.’

So what makes a piece of jewellery an art work, or a jeweller an artist? Goodsir studied a Bachelor in Fine Arts majoring Gold and Silversmithing at RMIT University and considers contemporary jewellery to be the 'love child' of art and fashion.

About the author

Madeleine Dore is a freelance writer and founder of Extraordinary Routines, an interview project exploring the intersection between creativity and imperfection. She is the previous Deputy Editor at ArtsHub. Follow her on Twitter at @RoutineCurator