Jewelry of utmost importance

"These are matters of utmost importance, which people nonetheless treat with contempt" (BT. Berakhot 6b).

The above saying from the Talmud explains the biblical verse in the Book of Psalms "when baseness is exalted among men" (Psalms 12:9) thus: "These matters are of utmost importance, but people nonetheless treat them with contempt". Rashi clarifies: "such as prayer that rises upwards". In other words, Rashi explains that people take prayer lightly and fail to attribute sufficient and necessary importance to it even though prayer has the potential to be lofty and reach great heights. In modern Hebrew, the expression "B'rumo Shel Olam" (lit. "at the top of the world") refers to important, fundamental things relating to individual and national destiny.

The contemporary field of jewelry, which is based on the classic field, accords the artisan extensive freedom with regard to the techniques and materials he uses. In addition to the historical baggage that the jewel carries, the contemporary jewel is designed, among others, to defy and raise questions about the accepted status and beauty markers as well as a way to express a message, an idea, even a protest, thereby expanding a craft into an art form.

What is of utmost importance in jewelry? Is it the type of material from which it is made? Is gold preferable to wood or plastic? Is the hierarchy of materials still valid in the field of contemporary jewelry? And is the type of jewelry, its shape, and colorfulness the most important thing or is it the message or idea that the jewelry embodies?

The exhibition displays the works of nine contemporary jewelry makers at the outset of their professional careers, each of whom brings her unique viewpoint.

Ariel Lavian

Curator