JEWELRY -The State of the Nation

Article  /  Debates
Published: 26.01.2006
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Under the title "JEWELRY -the state of the nation" a 2-days' Meeting was held on April 29 and 30, 2003, in Barcelona, aiming at discussing the current state of the profession of jewelry. This was the first series of meetings which are scheduled to take place on this subject, and which continuity in the forthcoming years, is highly desired by all the participants and lecturers.

The event was organized by PEU DE REINA, a group of 9 female artistic jewellers. It was sponsored by COJORGC ("Colegio Oficial de Joyeros, Orfebres, Relojeros y Gemólogos de Catalunya) and took place within the scope of the various events that FAD Orfebres have scheduled for celebrating "the year of the design" and also for the commemoration of their first centennial, both occuring in 2003. As mentioned, the purpose was to debate the different questions that jewelry professionals are facing and often raise to themselves, individually, and which answers are required for analyzing, understanding and appraising the state of the profession of jewelry, nowadays, in whichever angle it is to be considered.

Divided in three thematic chapters, all focusing on jewelry, the participants were given the opportunity to listen to speakers from different branches of the sector, so having a wide vision of the whole points at issue and being briefed on different ways and techniques of developing the tasks, which, on a superficial approach, may seem to be incompatible.

It was curious to find out that such eclecticism of wills, involvements and working philosophies within the same sector, have created in the audience a mixture of feelings, going from great enthusiasm to some disappointment in a number of cases. Many pertinent remarks and questions have been raised, as well as suggestions, namely the organization of the sector into groups. A consistently positive message has been handed down from veteran jewelry professionals to the newcomers, in the sense of stimulating their morale and increasing their expectations.

The meeting was opened with the participation of the following individuals, with a communication under the title "What jewelry is today ?" ("Qué es la joyeria hoy")

Monica Fugaroles, contemporary jeweller;
Félix Zuazu, jeweller;
Carmen Esteba and Marion Roeting, both designers and
Franco Palmieri, moderator,

all have briefed the audience on their working methodologies, stated the reasons why they embraced the world of jewelry, defined their own choices and described the different strategies they have adopted to pursue working within this market.

Comments such as "required revolution" by Felix Zuazu and fully approved by all the members of the board, made all understand that there is a struggle for change. The lack of confidence of the corporations in creative designers - eventually explained by the insufficient professional education, from schools - was one of the most important claims.

Teamwork involving creative designers, manufacturers and commercial companies is vital. Other considerations such as design, marketing and publicity, which are indispensable in others sectors, are being claimed by jewellers, as well.
A window of hope and opportunity can be anticipated in the recently established "Jewellers Association" ("Colegio de Joyeros"), entity which can act as a tool in co-ordinating the two-ways' communication among manufacturers, trade and creative individuals.

The difficulties faced by new jewellers to take over a place in a sector based on family tradition, with associative grounds, coupled with the non-viability of innovative projects due to the lack of confidence of entrepreneurs, count as realities that will contribute, in a decisive way, to the renewal of the sector.

Therefore the futur will mainly root through the persistence of jewellers who decide to commercialize self-designed products or through manufacturing companies which are prepared to trust and believe in designers who are teamwork-oriented and willing to cope with common and solid working philosophies.

The next speakers, responsible for a topic, which turned out to be the most distinguished subject-matter of the meetings, that is : "Jewelry and its market" ("Joyeria y su mercado") were: Joan Gomis, collaborator of the company Enric Majoral; Beatriz Würsch, art gallery owner; Rosa Oriol, product manager of the company Tous; Laura Cappelletti, Stylist of the fashion magazine Vogue Milan; Santiago Agustina, international representative and Carles Codina, professor in Massana school, acting as moderator.

They made an exhaustive explanation of the different features which regulate the market, obviously including their own personal experience and points of view. Sentences like "communication required between all interveners in the sector" and "entrepreneurs' recognition and trust of new designers" repeatedly led the discussions coupled with the concepts of mark, idea and product.

Clear and bruising words of Santiago Agustina directed to the new talents, aiming at encourageing enthusiasm for a world perceived as uncertain. Words of stimulation to have them believing in the futur of a work which requires awareness and sense of duty, however without neglecting the true needs of the market.

Jelwery was analyzed under the point of view of the human need of ornamentation, and in this sense, there is no reason to stop with it, however, it is possible that the fashion sector will once absorb it, if no changes will soon be introduced in the positioning of the jewellers.
The difficulty to reunite under the same concept all the different forms of today's jewlry became once again evident and is not removed. All are valid. Each one make the best with its own resources. But the purposes are sometimes different.
From the contemporary jewelry which considers the object as a fruit of a process which is essentially creative, to the jewelry requiring massive reproduction to exploit its commercial potential, along with the jewelry that follows the fashion tendencies and is mostly considered for this sector.
All types have in common the need of a preliminary work with more or less consideration of the concept of image but always with an important valuation of the human and philosophic quality of each project as an element required for its feasibility.

A hard topic to discuss was dealing with the education and training of the Jeweller. It took place during the second day of the meetings and was lectured by professors of a number of schools, which have departments of jewelry, as follows: Ramon Puig, professor in representation of Massana School; Tomàs Palos, professor in representation of the Tarragona School of Art and Design; Carles Abella, professor in representation of the Vilafranca del Penedès Arsenal School; Teresa Casanovas, professor in representation of the Industrial Technical School of Barcelona; Toni Pericó, professor in representation of the School "Lotja de Artes y Oficios"; Carlos Pastor, responsible for the Department of Jewelry of the Valencia School of Art and Jesús Ángel Prieto, acting as moderator.

The different positionings of the professionals involved, all dedicated to the same task, that is, teaching and instructing, were individually explained to the audience, obviously in accordance with their personal perceptions and inclinations, as well as with the guidelines of the school which they were representing, and still accomodating the rulings of the new educational laws.

It was understood that the changes LOGSE has introduced to the teaching of jewelry are the main reasons for dissatisfaction (but without entering into despair). Words like "frustration" and lack of time were said in unison by professors. They informed about their teaching limitations imposed by the new plan of studies which has reduced the duration of courses to a ridiculous limit of 2 years, disregarding that one of the most important dimensions in jewelry working is precisely time.

One by one they have stated in their communications that in spite of the new constraints, they all perform their teaching tasks in a most positive way, channelling their efforts towards features they value most, following the philisophy imposed by their school or by their own convictions.

From such facts, one can draw as a conclusion that the future of the jewelry schools may focus on specialization in a sole branch, preventing the student to make his own choice within the world of jewelry.
It must, then, be admitted that in the futur, engineers and industrial designers are the professionals who will take over the design of jewelry.

Shall the students who received education in a school of art accept the fact they are obliged to find their own way only in the field of artistic jewelry, due to the previously mentioned specialization?

The organizers refuse themselves to accept that industry can absolutely give up creative designers. Again the need for change was in the air, as it was perceived since the beginning of these meetings.

A wide number of jewelry professionals have disclosed their working philosophies and answered to questions raised by a big audience; around 125 people, mainly students, recently graduated people, other individuals who are searching for their own ways in the jewelry sector, designers and a very few manufacturers, such as Mr.Conill, who was there in the quality of a representative of entrepreneurs devoted to the production and commercialization. One can ask wether they should not be the most concerned ones about the future of a sector which due to tradition lacked dynamics and that is now desperatly crying for changes?

The last communication of the meetings - "Nuevos Caminos para la Joyeria" - precisely gave a good example of what can be done to find out new ways to jewelry."Juni" is a group of six jewellers who joined together to unite efforts. From Phorzeim, Germany, they brought images to explain how they perform their work as jewellers. As it was proved throughout the meetings, it is not only a question of technical skills. We also saw them assembling and designing their own stand for the jewelry fairs and acting as sales people, when need was.

"Maragda Borras to Peu de Reina"

Organized by PEU DE REINA and sponsored by COJORGC ("Colegio Oficial de Joyeros, Orfebres, Relojeros y Gemólogos de Catalunya)-2016-2016


Auditori del FAD, Barcelona, April 29 and 30, 2003

Organized by PEU DE REINA and sponsored by COJORGC ("Colegio Oficial de Joyeros, Orfebres, Relojeros y Gemólogos de Catalunya)

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