Lecture Programme 2018
A History of Gemstones
From antiquity to the present, mankind has been fascinated with the wonders of nature, and not least of all, the smallest, and most valuable: precious gems. In this talk, Helen Molesworth, Managing Director of Gübelin Academy and Deputy Director of the Gübelin Gem Lab, will look at their availability and use through different civilisations and cultures, while also exploring their practical and emotional place in history. Join us to hear about myth, magic and mysticism, and the development of science and stories through thousands of years.
250 Years: The Jewellery Industry in Pforzheim, Rise and Transformation
In 2017, the city of Pforzheim in Southern Germany celebrated its 250th year in the jewellery trade. The fascinating story begins on the 6th of April 1767 with two watch-making companies from French-speaking Switzerland. In the orphanage and infirmary of the city, the inmates were trained to produce watches and jewellery, and these were the humble beginnings. By the 19th century Pforzheim-based companies were extremely successful and at times dominated 70% of the world market for jewellery. This lecture will give insight into the ups and downs of the Pforzheim manufacturers in history and today, their worldwide export success, and their acclaimed innovative designs for mass production.
St John Simpson and Aude Mongiatti
Gold of the Scythians: art, culture and techniques
This talk will bring together new insights into the level of skill achieved by ancient Scythian craftsmen. It will discuss the range of techniques used to form and decorate gold items, mostly personal adornments, which are part of the Oxus Treasure in the British Museum and the Siberian Collection of Peter the Great, and will discuss these within the cultural background of the Scythians and their relations with the Achaemenid Persian empire. This work is based on new examination of these objects which was carried out in preparation for the BP exhibition 'Scythians: warriors of ancient Siberia' which was on display at the British Museum from 14 September 2017 - 14 January 2018.
Dr Zara Power Florio
All that glitters: Jewellers and Gems in Georgian Ireland
Although there is a plethora of studies written about Early Irish personal adornment, the history of Irish jewellers in the period thereafter has not been fully investigated. Through an examination of the production and consumption of jewellery in eighteenth-century Ireland, this lecture will examine the jewellery business, revealing a hitherto unexpected engagement with and desire for personal adornment in this period.
Purchasing the Past: Consumers of Irish Facsimile Jewellery, 1840-1940
A new analysis of Irish consumption patterns has conclusively demonstrated that members of all political, economic and social classes, with the exception of the poorest members of Irish society, adopted facsimile jewellery as signifiers of personal and national identities between 1840 and 1940. Records of facsimile jewellery, primarily ‘Tara’ brooches, from newspaper articles, advertisements, classifieds and contemporary photographs provide a previously untapped resource for public consumption and usage. Five main categories emerge from a breakdown of the records, which include notices of lost property, wedding gifts, costume and dress, presentations and prizes. When situated within four distinct phases of Irish facsimile production, these reveal the life-cycle of the trend for Irish archaeological-style jewellery.
Christopher Thompson Royds
My work as a jeweller
Christopher Thompson Royds will be discussing his work as a jeweller. Since graduating from the RCA in goldsmithing, silversmithing & jewellery (2010), he has become known for work that breaks the distinction between jewellery and object art. His practice has always been tied to narrative; the idea that an object or jewel can be a conduit to multiple stories. Represented by European gallery Marzee, and Louisa Guinness Gallery, London, Christopher has been taking common English wildflowers as his point of inspiration for a growing body of work. Initially this formed the collection Natura Morta; necklaces, traced from hand-picked pressed flowers, cut in paper-thin gold and silver and hand painted directly onto the metal, recalling the tradition of collecting pressed flowers both as mementos and scientific specimens. Pieces from this collection can be seen in the collections of Crafts Council; UK, CODA Museum; NL, MIMA; UK, Rotasa Collection Trust; US, Schmuck Museum, Pforzhiem; DE, V&A Museum, UK. More recent work has gained another dimension; life-like representations of wildflowers in gold, life-size and placed in vases, which hold the jewels when not in use, become still-lifes when not being worn.
Clasps: 4000 years of fasteners in jewellery
Anna Tabakhova, the author of 'Clasps: 4000 Years of Fasteners in Jewellery' reviewed in JHT issue 30 (Autumn 2017), will present a technical and art historical survey of clasps from the Bronze Age to the 21st century. Her talk will be based on wide-ranging research carried out in 22 museums and in 30 countries. She is also a collector and working jeweller, so will bring a unique perspective to this essential, but long neglected, element in jewellery. She has identified five different types of fastening methods for jewellery worldwide, and will explain how they work, paying particular attention to some remarkable examples in British and Irish museums.
Designers and Jewellery: Jewellery and Metalwork from the Fitzwilliam Museum 1850-1940
The Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge, holds excellent examples of jewellery and metalwork from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This lecture, which accompanies a display at the Fitzwilliam Museum (31 July - 11 November) and a book, published by Philip Wilson in July 2018, will reveal the history of many of these pieces and some of their original designs. Jewellers represented include some of the finest historicist designers, including Castellani, Giuliano and John Brogden, Arts & Crafts designers Henry Wilson and John Paul Cooper and the artist Charles Ricketts, who designed unique pieces for his friends Katherine Bradley and Edith Cooper, known collectively as Michael Field.
Links to previous Lecture Programmes