The Meaning of Contemporary Jewellery

Before I get to the definition, I’d like to address the spelling. English is spoken around the world however different countries sometimes spell the same word differently. In the United Kingdom its contemporary jewellery and in the United States it is spelled contemporary jewelry.

The word contemporary is defined as belonging to or occurring in the present. Jewelry is defined as personal ornaments, such as necklaces, rings, or bracelets, that are typically made from or contain jewels and precious metal. So the contemporary jewelry style are necklaces, rings and bracelets that are created in the present time versus jewelry that is considered antique, Victorian, vintage, or art deco that were styled at a different time.

Contemporary jewelry covers of a broad range and the possibility of finding two peoples definition of contemporary jewelry the same would be extremely rare as it is more of an opinion. Some think contemporary jewellery is a type of practice — understood as the contemporary offspring of a craft-based design activity. Others see the use of the term contemporary jewellery as a means of modern makers divorcing from the goldsmiths tradition.

Whatever your opinion of contemporary jewelry is, there is always the artist’s intent to consider. The jewellery is intended to be relevant, made in this time, perhaps referring to precedents but moving forward — after all, the dictionary does define ‘contemporary’ as “belonging to the same time; of the present time“.

Navel rings or belly button rings are a great example of contemporary jewelry. The navel piercing is one of the most common body piercings today. Popular culture has played a large role in the promotion of navel piercing. The navel piercing first hit the mainstream when model Christy Turlington showed her navel piercing at a fashion show in London in 1993. Since then, belly button rings have been a contemporary fashion.

A great example of an artist creating contemporary jewellery is Adriana Guelfi Herrera of Uruguay. Ms. Guelfi’s contemporary jewellery collection is named Dead Nature…Alive. The pieces that compose the collection were hand-forged by the artist and each one contains a small part of her. In turn, her created pieces will become part of the essence of each person that chooses them. To view Ms. Guelfi’s contemporary jewelry collection, you can visit her website.