Today we stand within the majestic walls of Germany's Mespelbrunn Castle.
Its hidden location in a Bavarian valley protected it through World Wars I and II, and it is considered one the country's most beautiful castles. Its halls are filled with gorgeous columns with carved angels, masks, and rosettes. Germany is also the hometown of featured jewelry designer Constanze Schreiber.
A photo of Schreiber's skull bracelet was the first piece I saw from her unusual jewelry collections. To be frank, I found the spooky, drawn faces of the skulls rather creepy. As I read about her, and viewed more of her pieces I recognized the expansive themes she conveys through her jewelry.
Working with porcelain, fine silver, copper, ceramics, silk, plastic, steel, iron, and fur, Schreiber bases her unconventional designs on traditional antique jewelry. "I focus mainly on pieces out of the 19th and 20th centuries particularly protective amulets that remind the wearer of his or her mortality," she says.
Ethereal flowers structured from white silk, and silver, beautifully designed fur necklaces, as well as the skull pieces each serve as manifestations and/or interpretations of themes ranging from remembrance to love to death to fear. Often times a single piece is a representation of two or more symbols.
Having studied jewelry design and goldsmithing in the Netherlands and Denmark, Schreiber has a joyous fascination with exploring unusual materials, textures, ideas, and symbols. "I believe there is a crucial truth in the symbols and archetypes of the past that are still valid today. I see them as attempts by human beings to give form to essential themes."
Schreiber's unique jewelry will definitely engage those who see it, and her pieces have been exhibited in the Museum of Applied Arts in Denmark, the Gallery Funaki Connect in Australia, and the Gallery Ornamentum in Chicago.
"I am intrigued by the beauty and power of symbolic meanings," Schreiber explains. "The symbolic meanings make the pieces so powerful for me. I am searching for a contemporary continuation of traditional jewelry."
Photo 1 (top right): Fine Silver and Silk Flower Necklace with 18-Karat Gold Accents
Photo 2 (bottom left): Katharine Necklace made from Fur, Silver and Lead