In Conversation with Juries of the Romanian Jewelry Week 2.0

Published: 23.09.2021
Alexandra Bujenita
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Romanian Jewelry Week 2.0 will celebrate contemporary jewelry between September 30th and October 3rd with exhibitions, conferences, tours, and jewelry fair featuring over 200 Romanian designers and international exhibitors.
A renowned international jury will award the prizes in this edition, a jury composed of well-known representatives of some of the most important international organizations in the field of contemporary jewelry such as the European Jewelry Federation in Brussels, the Jewelry Museum of Athens Ilias Lalaounis, Joya Barcelona, Legnica Silver Festival and more.

David Sandu, Curator, and Founder of Romanian Jewelry Week.

What can you tell us about the 2021 selection from Romanian Jewelry Week?
For another period of several years, we set out for ROMANIAN JEWELRY WEEK to have an eclectic formula, we rely on diversity and not necessarily on proposing a theme. The 2021 selection is progress compared to the first edition, both independent designers and groups or schools have made very special choices. The pandemic was not an impediment for artists, on the contrary, the consistency of many collections is impressive.
Name three jewelry designers you admire.
I like the recent works of Andreia Gabriela Popescu, Andrea Serini from Argentina, the wearable sculptures as the jewelry of senior Bruno Pedrosa.

What should a designer know at the beginning of his career?
Being a jewelry designer requires continuous learning and discovery. It is a chance that we sometimes forget to appreciate and for many young designers, there is a very fast specialization, too early, which leaves no room for experimentation and self-rediscovery. The cultural competition involves reinventing and refining one's own ideas and discoveries, a simple tip for any artist, would be not to be afraid of contradictions or their own inconsistencies, to understand as much as possible, and not to rely on the image of a rectilinear career. The paradox is much more interesting and consistent compared to it is logical and obvious.

How do you see the future of contemporary jewelry?
Jewelry is constantly changing and rediscovering. Lately, digital and virtual jewelry has grown in importance due to the context in which direct social contact has diminished. However, jewelry as an object, as a concrete physical presence remains a need and an imperative. I think the big change will come from the very young generation of contemporary jewelry designers, who are now forming in the context of distance and the growth of the virtual as a way of life.

Charon Kransen, Charon Kransen Arts, New York.

What can you tell us about the 2021 selection from Romanian Jewelry Week?
Interesting to see a lot of work from a region not seen a lot, where the field of contemporary jewelry is not as developed yet as in a number of western countries. So a young field, but with great enthusiasm.

Name three jewelry designers you admire.
Liv Blavarp ( Norway ), Fumiki Tagushi ( Japan ) Dongchun Lee ( S. Korea ).

What should a designer know at the beginning of his/her career?
Who would you like to be in this field? Where is your unique talent best served? Envision a path.......

How do you see the future of contemporary jewelry?
Is there a future???? Sometimes I wonder....... It is kind of an elitist field and one needs a certain sophistication to understand, respect, appreciate, buy and wear it!!!

Byron Vafeiadis, Curator of Education and Collections at Ilias Lalaounis Jewelry Museum.

What can you tell us about the 2021 selection from Romanian Jewelry Week?
This year we truly saw a range of interesting, conceptually and artistically rich works of art. Considering the restrictions of transportation and promotion of the artists during Covid I would say that works produced during this closure were impressive considering the mind fullness and the psychological effects of this.

Name three jewelry designers you admire.
 When the conversation goes to that I cannot exclude Ilias Lalaounis from the artists that I admire. I love Marjorie Schick's and Gijs Bakker's work too. In addition, the participation of Khajornsak Nakpan got my attention.

What should a designer know at the beginning of his career?
There are three important factors artists should consider when starting a career in artistic jewelry. Firstly, they should consider receiving a formal education by selecting a degree that presents them i.e. being more theoretical or more practical, more conservative or more modernist. Secondly, they should consider what they are able and willing to give to the market i.e. would they like the market to look at something conceptual and unique piece for a museum or a more commercial to be sold.  Thirdly, it is important at the beginning of an artists' career to feel strong about producing and displaying works that are very original and unique or something more mainstream from what will be liked by more people.

How do you see the future of contemporary jewelry?
This is meant to be seen after the Covid era but we are optimistic.

Justyna Teodorczyk, Director Of The Gallery Of Art In Legnica, Poland.

What can you tell us about the 2021 selection from Romanian Jewelry Week?
It was a wonderful experience. I would like to warmly thank the organisers for inviting me to join such an honourable group as a jury member. As always, it was also a difficult job, involving a lot of dilemmas, doubts, and the need for fundamental choices. We faced the same problem – at that time as organisers – earlier this year, during an online jury debate at the 29th International Jewellery Competition organised as part of the Legnica Jewellery Festival SILVER 2021.
First of all, I am full of respect for the scale of the event, the number of applications was huge, and apart from many European countries, there were many artists from America and Asia. In addition to young artists, students, there were also many well-known goldsmiths, which gave a kind of panorama of contemporary jewelry and a full, multifaceted picture of the issues it deals with both in the aesthetic, philosophical, as well as technical and craft layers. I would like to warmly congratulate the organisers on such a large number of participants and efficient organisation!

Name three jewelry designers you admire.
An absolutely genius artist for me is Ruudt Peters, in whose work I see not only excellent ideas, perfect craftsmanship but also an element of the game (with oneself and the viewer) and a sense of humour. With full admiration and support, I follow the wonderful work of Małgorzata Kalińska from Poland, whose works, full of precision and feminine sensitivity, are rich in tenderness and care. A new love I discovered during the last edition of the Legnica Jewellery Festival is jewelry by Delphine Perrache, a French-born, now Belgian-based artist who abandoned working for fashion houses in favour of slow work and a metaphysical search for beauty and harmony in geometric shapes and materials ranging from silver, through a range of minerals, to plastics.

What should a designer know at the beginning of his career?
In my opinion, a jewelry designer has a difficult task in the difficult times we live in. On the one hand, the world of art and the expectations of conscious consumers set him the task of "saving the world", pointing to its most burning problems. On the other hand, we expect art to be a retreat from the hostile external reality, an asylum, to give us some forgotten beauty, pure ideas, utopia, etc. The designer must perfectly balance not only the materials and proportions on the goldsmith's table, but also these values, and at the same time invent his own, unique style.
Personally, I am very excited by the vision that artists are not those who just create objects, but above all those who create a way of looking at the world. I would like them to show us the future, I would like to follow them, I would like people to adopt their sensitivity. I would like all artists to have the awareness, the strength, and the visions to draw the crowds. I think jewelry can have that power too.

How do you see the future of contemporary jewelry?
Here again, I consider designer jewelry to be part of art. So I think the future of jewelry, like art in general, will go in a few clear directions.
Alongside the path that sets itself the task of producing beautiful pieces, I imagine that the path of engaged jewelry will develop and strengthen. This has been happening for a long time, of course, because the traditions of avant-garde art are long, but today we have times when artists can become creators and activists in equal measure, and jewelry designers are no exception. So I watch with delight the actions of jewelry designers that are a voice of activism, opposition, resistance, protest, inclusion, emancipation, but also care, remembrance, care for something and someone. There are also great creators whose artistic actions arise from concern for humanity, ecology, who do not focus on creating the new, but on processing, on sustainable sourcing of materials, raw materials, on "ethical design". This activist potential is particularly emphasised in the annual International Jewellery Competition, which we organise every year in Legnica, Poland.
When talking about the future of jewelry, one cannot forget about its connection with technology; after - let's say - synthetic materials, the time has come for rapid prototyping and 3D techniques, and the future is marked by wearing devices, as well as strongly deepened and advanced searches for body art, based on such scientific and aesthetic trends as transhumanism, soma esthetic, etc.

> The Central Exhibition will take place on September 30 at Arcub Gabroveni, Bucharest, and there will be presented creations of the over 200 contemporary jewelery designers from all over the world.

Read more about Romanian Jewelry Week here.

About the Interviewee

David Sandu
began to discover the secrets of jewellery making at the age of 13, under the guidance of the sculptor and jeweller Vlad Gherghiceanu. He is one of the first contemporary jewellery artists in Romania, and he has participated in international projects and exhibitions and has won significant awards. In 2010, David founded the Assamblage School of Contemporary Jewellery and The National Contemporary Jewellery Association, playing a major role in the formation of a new generation of artists and designers. In 2020, he became a founding member and curator of the international event Romania Jewelry Week.


Byron Vafeiadis, Curator for ILJM’s Collections and Educational Programs. He holds a B.A. in Museology, Museography and Exhibition Design and an M.A. in Applied – Clinical Sociology and Arts.
The Ilias Lalaounis Jewelry Museum (ILJM) is the first museum in Greece devoted to the art of jewelry. Since 1994, the Museum acts as an international center for jewelry and decorative crafts with an extensive educational program. The permanent collection covers the life work of Ilias Lalaounis, studio jewelry and selected decorative arts. The Lalaounis legacy is presented with the display of 50 collections designed and supervised by Ilias Lalaounis between 1957 and 2002, his archive including the library, tools, and maquettes. The 4.500 displays are selected to give an overview that Lalaounis presented in exhibitions worldwide. Inspired by prehistoric art, the history of ancient Greek art, 15 different cultures, contemporary technology, nature, and children’s designs; the displays are supported by videos, presentations and workshops giving an immense overview of fine jewelry making in the second part of the 20 th century. Temporary exhibitions on jewelry and the decorative arts, from Museum, private and artists collections are curated both in Greece and abroad.

Charon Kransen (Holland 195 ) has worked in the field of contemporary jewelry since 1969; as a jeweler trained at the Bezalel Academy of Fine Arts Jerusalem Israel, Hochschule fuer Gestaltung Pforzheim Germany and at Juhls Kautokeino Norway, as professor of jewelry (and enamel) design at the Hogeschool der Kunsten Utrecht Holland, as president of the VES (Dutch Jewelry Designers Organization) and as a lecturer at universities, colleges and art organizations all over the world, curator,art-dealer and agent of about 150 international contemporary jewelers in North-America. For the past 25 years he has shown the work of these artists at art fairs in the USA and at various curated exhibitions in galleries and museums. He has been a juror for Talente Munich, Athens Jewelry Week, Joya Barcelona, Gioielli in Fermento Italy for many years as well as other competitions/exhibitions related to contemporary jewelry. Since 1999 his masterclasses to students and professionals continue all over the world. Since 1988 Charon Kransen resides in New York City.

Justyna Teodorczyk, PhD – curator, educator, culture animator, author of texts about contemporary art. Since 2019 director, formerly employee of the Gallery of Art in Legnica (Poland) – an institution which for over 40 years has been organising the Legnica Jewellery Festival SILVER - one of the oldest and most important reviews of unique author’s jewellery in Europe. Curator of many goldsmith exhibitions organized in frame of the Festival. She initiated a project which resulted in the creation of the website Biżuteria Artystyczna w Polsce (Artistic Jewellery in Poland). Its’ purpose is to keep information about above 200 polish artists, and about history of contemporary Polish goldsmithing. Author of popularizing texts in trade periodicals: “Zegarki&Biżuteria” (Watches&Jewellery) and “Polski Jubiler” (Polish Jeweller). Obtained Master’s degree in cultural studies (2003) and PhD in humanities in the field of culture studies (2012) at the Wroclaw University, Poland. Apart from goldsmithing, she is involved in exhibitions of contemporary art by Polish artists and educational projects. Researcher and author of studies on rock music and culture.

About the author

Alexandra Bujenita
is the PR manager of Romanian Jewelry Week team, Art developer of Creative team of Imbold Cultural Foundation, Founder Delalu, PR account at Hello Menthol and Acuarela - Bucharest.