a ring is a ring is a ring showcases the work of a year-long collaboration between students of three leading European Jewellery Schools: Alchimia: Contemporary Jewellery School, Florence, Italy, Hochschule Trier, Idar Oberstein, Germany and British Academy of Jewellery, London & Birmingham, UK. In this series, we interview the students who participated in the project.
Can you tell us a little more about the piece you have on display in the show?
Both my pieces are a different combination of three old and already worn rings which I found in an antique shop. The reason why I chose exactly those three rings out of a box of hundreds of rings was that I saw a generation path in these chosen ones. My imagination lead me to the idea of combining daughter, mother and grandmother to one solid ring so they can be together (again). I made moults out of the three rings and casted them into three silver rings. What happened in this process is all the stones from the original rings became silver metal. Every ring had some missing stones and gaps, were still gaps. This imperfect detail stayed as an imperfect details. I find imperfection is beautiful, so I made it by setting sapphires into it. I believe that it shows your imperfections instead of hiding them. I remixed this mix of rings and made a second ring, this time with a combination of pink gold plated silver, silver, bronze and cubic zirconia. There is a movement included in this ring to show the independence of each ring and how strong they become when they are well-fitting together.
So the show is titled A RING is A RING is A RING, can you tell us what a ring is to you?
A ring for me is a valuable piece of jewellery with a memory, which I want to keep it as close to me as I possibly can. Also, a ring is an object what tells you a story.
What other pieces in the show do you find interesting and why?
As I was in the middle of this journey, I have seen all my classmates growing in their process. I don’t have a specific favourite piece in the show as I have seen a lot of super interesting transformations from a stupid idea full of tears and sweat, to a great contemporary piece of jewellery. I believe that this journey that we made, is even more important than the pieces themselves.
This was a collaborative project and included 3 other schools, what was the experience like and what have you learned from it?
I considered this Erasmus project is a great opportunity, to realise that jewellery has so many different aspects. Our group had so many varieties in culture, thinking and creativity that it opened my eyes for another ways of designing my jewellery. We stepped out of our comfort zones as I let my feelings lead the design instead of my technical sight. For sure, it was not an easy thing to do and it was kind of scary because I was not familiar with this part of me. But it made me find my balance between art and techniques, which I want to use for my designs in the future.
What is your background?
I would like to introduce myself, my name is Ineke Dekker, 21 years old. I am born and raised in a beautiful village at the south west coast of the Netherlands. After I finished my high school, I went to Antwerp, Belgium, because there was a school ‘Technicum Noord Antwerpen’, where they teach you everything about goldsmith. I learned how to melt and alloy my metal and how to finish my piece. I learned about gemstones and how to sketch jewellery designs. I had lessons in 3D design and followed a stone setting course in the evenings. I really loved all of it and I became better and better. In my third and last year of this school, my teacher organized a trip to London to visit the V&A, the Goldsmiths Hall, Goldsmiths Centre, the crown jewels at the Tower of London and the British Academy of Jewellery based in the Hatton Garden. After we came back from this trip, I got inspired and started thinking about following a course at this Academy, and so, I applied. I went on the plane to London and did my bench test and they welcomed me to the Level 4 of Jewellery Manufacture & Design. I learned a lot of new techniques and developed my skills. It was super interesting for me to see how they did things in London comparing to what I’ve learned in Antwerp. We finished our 10 months course working on this Erasmus project. Now, I’m a Quality Control Intern at De Beers.
Why have you become a jeweller?
Why I become a jeweller? Well, I am a lucky person I suppose. Because I never really knew what I wanted to study or what I wanted to do. I only knew that I wanted to do something creative, something with design, something with my hands, something with my brain, but what was it? I never thought about what a goldsmith exactly is until I came up with this sudden inspiration. It felt like I found where I was looking for. So I asked the jewellery shop in my hometown if I could have a look into the workshop to see what they were doing and what it was like. They felt me enthusiasm and I researched for education in the industry. And this is how it all started! It’s so satisfying if you finish your piece of jewellery and it became something precious and it all made with your own hands! Especially if you can make somebody happy with something that you worked on with all your passions and emotions.
What are your plans for the future?
I have recently started my internship as a Quality Controller at De Beers where I hope to gain a lot of work experience. My dream in the future is to have my own successful business where I can design and make valuable and unique jewellery. I love the whole process from drawing the design to manufacturing and to see the smile on the customer’s face at the moment when he or she is wearing it.
Why should someone visit the show?
The reason why you should visit our exhibition is because all the rings together forms a source of inspiration as each one of them is totally different and reflects something about each person. I think it’s beautiful to see that 33 students from all corners of the globe came together and completed the same briefing with so many varieties in result. You will see that every student interpret the project in their own ways.