Separating Properties and Qualities: Material Relativism as a Resource for Breaking Tradition

Published: 21.06.2024

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Through the perspectives of philosophers, sociologists, and art historians, Ebba Van der Taelen explores the enduring prominence of precious materials in jewelry art, examining their cultural and philosophical significance and the social functions of jewelry.

Despite some jewelers in the late 1960s rejecting these materials as 'elitist,' 'superficial,' or 'bourgeois,' I seek to uncover the origins of these prejudices. Why have precious materials continued to play a significant role in jewelry production, and what meanings have individuals attributed to them, both historically and in contemporary contexts?

This article, the third of three theoretical pieces delving into the materiality of precious materials, is adapted from a chapter of Ebba Van der Taelen's master's thesis.