Thursday, April 15, 2010


The castles of Switzerland are known for their beautiful, storybook-like architecture making them some of the most picturesque in Europe.

Trachselwald Castle, named after the barons that owned it, boasts a stair tower, keep, and other structures built over a period of several centuries. Switzerland is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Claudia Stebler.

A region best known for its superlative watches, for over a century Swiss jewelry designers have actively created other forms of jewelry that were expressions of the time period; from the artistic explosion of the Art Nouveau era to the uncompromising avant-garde aesthetic of the 1960s.

Such names as Marie Bedot-Diodati and Bernhard Schobinger were instrumental in bringing to the world the eclectic range and splendor of Swiss designer jewelry.

With an education base spanning an apprenticeship with Eugene Lang; jewelry and printmaking studies at Canada's Nova Scotia College of Art and Design; and lessons on everyday objects and jewelry at Pforzheim University of Applied Sciences, Stebler brings a sense of "play" and innovation to jewelry reminiscent of Ursula Woerner (Germany), and Joke Schole (Netherlands).

Her aesthetic is simple but distinctive blending materials like porcelain, garnet, sterling silver, pearls, plastic, and 18-karat gold in pieces that are alternately whimsical, and buoyant.

The configurations are rather irregular, organic, and unusual such as the Neckish necklace fashioned with linked porcelain bones, and the wickedly sly humor of her We Got Balls pendant. The design features a delicately detailed, 18-karat gold simulation of a specific feature of the male anatomy suspended from an oxidized silver chain!

On the other side of the style spectrum, there is the button-like appearance of her multi-colored Princess Necklace fashioned from sterling silver, and plastic. Though not classically beautiful, I do not mean to suggest the pieces are unattractive; they are not. Unconventional in certain ways, yes.

The jewelry pieces do capture your attention. It is evocative as well as provocative; an indication that perhaps the designer leaves her items open to the interpretation of the observer.

Stebler's delicate yet distinctive design approach won her Signity's Facet Award in 2001, and she has participated in exhibitions in the United States of America, Germany, and Switzerland.

Photo 1 (top right): 18-Karat Gold Bubble Gum Rings with Rubies
Photo 2 (bottom left): Plastic and Sterling Silver Princess Necklace
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