Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Sterling Silver and Polymer Clay
Shared Secret Brooch Pin

Located in Spain’s Malaga Province is the city known as Ronda.  

Situated in a mountain region over 2,000 feet above sea level, the city offers some of the country’s ancient landmarks including the Plaza de Torros de Ronda, and a 16th century bridge called Puente Nuevo.  Spain is also home to Rinaldo Alvarez.

Contemporary jewelry is a fascinating niche.  It is such an expressive form of jewelry making where any topic can be a source of inspiration and any material can be implemented to interpret that source.  

At its heart is a level of provocation; brooch pins, pendant necklaces and rings are not always visually appealing but once you see a contemporary piece of jewelry it is not an aesthetic easily forgotten.  I like to think of this niche as the yang to the yin of classically styled jewelry.

For forty-year-old Alvarez there is an interesting type of psychology that plays out in his work.  His abstract designs—that are reminiscent of Dutch contemporary jewelry—composed of twigs, wax, thread, wire, printed metal, sterling silver, and old pocket watches allow him to examine his internal dialogue as well as find a common dialogue that link the materials he chooses.

Sterling Silver Time Pendant Necklace
with Polished China
“I force, in a conscious way, those little elements that I collect to look for a dialogue among them in order to create a universal speech in the language of the objects,” says the graduate of Spain’s European Institute of Gemology and Jewellery.  “Most of the time I end up discovering things about myself that I am too lazy to analyze in a logical, introspective way.”

Admittedly when viewing his collection of items that resemble potatoes, moldy paper, solar balloons, and cuttlebones, I could not possibly imagine what parts of his psyche are embodied in his jewelry. 

In saying that I believe this is what makes contemporary jewelry so great; it is inherently challenging whether in the jeweler’s conceptualization to develop a piece or a viewer’s response to seeing the end result.

When viewing all of the seemingly erratic, crowded elements of any one piece I do recognize the expressiveness of it even if I do not understand the concept it represents or the story it tells.

In that sense his jewelry is very much like life; the components of which are often messy and ill-fitting.  However, sometimes upon closer observation one can ascertain the complementary aspects of people and circumstances that ebb and flow within your life.  Perhaps what Alvarez ultimately takes away from creating his modern jewelry is the same lesson for us all.

“Jewelry is the way in which I understand how I relate myself to the world.  Sometimes I feel I could make lots of works out of the same one; making combinations of the components in very different ways and creating different conversations among them,” he explains. 
Sterling Silver Ring with Linen and Paint

“Something beyond my conscious self finally chooses one combination of elements and I choose just one conversation.  

That conversation I hear makes me feel for a moment as if everything would fit perfectly in the world.  Just at that very moment, I feel fine.”
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