Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Gold and Polyester Pneuma
Brooch Pin
Contrary to popular belief the city of Leiden, located in the Netherlands, is not a sleepy university town.

Although the city is renowned for being the birthplace of Rembrandt as well as other influential thinkers, Leiden offers annual music and film festivals.

The Netherlands is also home to featured jewelry designer Ruudt Peters.

It just got seriously weird!  To say that contemporary art jewelry is daring is an understatement.

Viewing this jewelry style is akin to entering a parallel universe; a bizarro world where jewelry become objects of wonder in a shocking and provocative way.  

Contemporary art jewelry makes no apologies for what it is.  If statement jewelry is a style rebellion, contemporary art jewelry is a full-blown revolution!

As is the case with this jewelry style, Peters’ expansive collections of items hold no resemblance to traditional rings, brooch pins, or pendant necklaces.  His creations completely lack any specificity but that is the whole point.

Peters’ ideas and concepts are deeply embedded in the abstract arrangement of materials that include sterling silver, magnetite, polyester, calcite and rubber. 

Though his jewelry creations are informed by various philosophies including Buddhism, kabbalah and alchemy, Peters only provides titles or names to his designs.  An observer is therefore left to form his or her own ideas about the design without the intrusion of his own.

The 63-year-old graduate of Gerrit Rietveld Academie has enjoyed a career of thirty-nine years (and counting).
Sterling Silver and Desert Rose
Mibladen Ring
Considering that the Netherlands is currently the premier site for the largest number of contemporary art jewelry galleries, I was surprised to learn that Peters felt creatively stifled during his early years as a visual artist.

The self-described “jewelry maker” began his career at age twenty-four during the mid-seventies.  At this time the artist community adhered to strict specifications and restrictions.

His sculpture and jewelry conceptualizations, such as an inflatable suit made of transparent PVC foil, were radical and not readily accepted by his peers.  

Consequently he continued to make sculpture but refrained from making jewelry.  It was not until many years later that he was coaxed out of self-imposed retirement by the passion of ancient Italian artists.

“I was educated during a period of absolute restraint.  A systematic way of working and minimalism were of vital importance.  Gold and silver were denied and even repudiated.

In the early eighties I became interested in the work of Italian architects Francesco di Giorgio and Giambattista Piranesi and I made a series of plaster collars, and Formica bracelets inspired by Roman architecture. 

Needless to say my non-formalistic concepts were observed as questionable because artists were still struggling with the formalist dogma; but I continued to create series pieces.

Jewelry is my laboratory.  I observe my jewelry as subservient.  I want people to carry my jewels and to charge them with their own meanings and personality.  I really love to constantly try to push the borders of possibility.”

Sterling Silver and Polyester
Thenandiet Brooch Pin
2013 Jewelry Trend Alert:  Believe it or not found objects are a key jewelry trend for this year.  

Peters’ inclusive design styles calls on rubber, polyester and an actual desert rose to produce jewelry.

You can view more of Peters' contemporary art pieces at
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