Jewellery worldwide on the screen

Erwin Olaf, Hans Appenzeller, Moving Metals, halssieraad, 1995. Foto Erwin Olaf, aluminium, rubber
Erwin Olaf, Hans Appenzeller, Moving Metals, halssieraad, 1995. Foto Erwin Olaf, aluminium, rubber
Erwin Olaf, Hans Appenzeller, Moving Metals, halssieraad, 1995. Foto met dank aan Hans Appenzeller, Erwin Olaf©

By Hans Appenzeller

Every day I am pleasantly surprised to view yet another jewellery designer like me but then again mostly very unlike me.

I was brought up in the Dutch tradition of mid-century Holland. Thus, my main influencers were heavily connected with Dutch artists who were part of the Dutch minimalist modernist movement. A cultural heritage of the Bauhaus and modernist architecture in the first half of the twentieth century. Actually, some of my teachers at the Rietveld Academy, where I studied in the late sixties, where taught at the Bauhaus in Weimar, Germany.

Modernist cocoon
I first realized my ‘modernist cocoon’ when I started exhibiting in the USA in 1974, and in 1983 when I opened my gallery/stores on New York’s Madison Avenue and later West Broadway.

I discovered that American jewellery was clearly separated into three different groups; fine jewellery, costume jewellery and art jewellery. With my design jewellery I was a new kid on the block. I was accustomed to explaining my design process to my clients in my gallery in Amsterdam, but the American clients put it on and went straight to a mirror. My first client asked me and herself; ‘but does it do anything for me?’ This was revolutionary for me. I realized that in the end jewellery was to be worn.

Fine jewellery, costume jewellery, art jewellery or design jewellery?
Unlike ‘fine jewellery’ and ‘costume jewellery’, ‘art jewellery’ (in my case ‘design jewellery’) had taken the liberty to sometimes forget about the person who could possibly be wearing it.

Are we ourselves the goal or the person wearing it?

All this to say that I am impressed with the variety of jewellery appearing on my computer screen almost daily, thanks to ‘Hedendaagse Sieraden’, by Esther Doornbusch. The culture of the homeland of each designer is clearly reflected in the pieces I see on the screen. The world is a lot more than the place each of us grew up in and it is a pleasure to learn about other cultures through the artists curated on the website.

Hans Appenzeller

Doornbusch, E. (5 november 2021) Overzicht gastcolumns eerste jubileum 2021.

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