Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Regal and full of ancient history, Denmark’s Fredericksborg Palace is a 16th century fortress that currently serves as the Danish Museum of National History. Denmark is also the home of featured jewelry designer Alidra Alić.

Thinking outside the box, doing something that has not been done before seems to be an approach the public wants in film, music and jewelry design.

I like jewelry that produces a strong reaction. Since starting this blog, my reactions to the wares of contemporary jewelry artists in particular ranged from bafflement to unexpected chuckles to feelings of unease.

Where design concepts and material sources are concerned you cannot get more one-of-kind than contemporary art jewelry. Pointed individualism seems to characterize the vivid originality of this style of designer jewelry.

Hanna Hedman’s (Sweden) ominous creations conceptualized dark, human emotions while Joke Schole’s (Netherlands) whimsical blend of porcelain surfaces and pearl strands span fanciful interpretations of global concerns to tiny dogs in handbags.

No matter the concept or theme contemporary art jewelry artists always convey ideas that challenge perceptions of jewelry objects as well as jewelry making.

A graduate of Denmark’s Institute of Precious Metals and former goldsmith-assistant to designer Kim Buck, Alić’s strange and beautiful bijouterie evoke images of a deranged fairytale. In fact, one collection of her handmade jewelry designs is named for and inspired by the novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

The allegoric collection is a distinguishing assortment of beautifully sculpted plastic and sterling silver rings. The daring, voluminous floral-inspired creations wilt and billow with ring settings that are simply amazing; they seem to grow upward and outward from the shank.

One of her rings, Hyacinth, resembles a gnarled, inverted chandelier and is a great example of Alić’s artistry and imagination. “I work with themes of illusion and lack of function in order to awake my viewers’ curiosity and to show jewelry in new value contexts. I illustrate my concept using a self-invented plastic technique in combination with precious metals and stones.”

I am struck by the jewelry’s organic and naturalistic structure; the exaggerated, somewhat grotesque forms of Orchids and Poppies are so eerily lyrical and poetic they look like real flowers albeit a bit foreboding. It is bright and quirky evoking springtime within odd dreamscapes.

Alić softens the imagery a bit with her collection of floral-inspired 14-karat gold and sterling fine jewelry collection. While every style of jewelry serves as a form of adornment the contemporary jewelry market remains small. With the increasing popularity of custom jewelry, however, it is clear that the public has an appetite for unique jewelry designs.

Perhaps in time, the small market for conceptual, modern jewelry will expand. I enjoy seeing fertile minds explore and experiment with concepts and materials because this style of jewelry certainly keeps in line with artistic expression and after all that is the heart of any form of jewelry making.
Photo 1 (top right): Plastic and Sterling Silver Poppy Ring from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland CollectionPhoto 2 (center): Sterling Silver and 14-Karat Gold Rings from Interpretations CollectionPhoto 3 (bottom left): Plastic and Sterling Silver Iris Ring from Flora Collection
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