The art of contemporary jewellery making

Precious: excellence in contemporary jewellery


The latest exhibition to open at the Queen Victoria Art Gallery marks the first exhibition in more than 20 years dedicated to contemporary jewellery.  

Featuring works by 16 jewellers, Precious: excellence in contemporary jewellery explores the rich diversity of talent, skill, and creativity of artists exploring the intersection between art and body adornment. 

Jewellers on display include Diane Allison, Katherine Brunacci, Emma Bugg, Kate Case, Janine Combes, Anita Dineen, Lola Greeno, Shauna Mayben, Carl Noonan, Sean O’Connell, Emma Robertson, Gabbee Stolp, Linda van Niekerk, Anna Weber, Vicki West and Lillian Wheatley. 

Creative Arts and Cultural Services General Manager Shane Fitzerald said the exhibition offers an intimate look at the craft of contemporary jewellers.  

“This exhibition offers an insight into the art of jewellery makers and the unique methods they use to create their work,” Fitzgerald said. 

“To showcase this exhibition at the Art Gallery at Royal Park is a great opportunity for our visitors to explore a diverse selection of local, national and international jewellers and their work.   

“A range of methods are on display within the exhibition, offering a fascinating exploration of contemporary jewellery making.” 

Tasmanian jeweller Carl Noonan said 3D printing technology offers new possibilities that were previously impossible with conventional metalsmith techniques. 

“The fun bit is the beginning [of the process] when I draw obsessively in my diaries,” Noonan said. 

“If the idea is good, I then create it in CAD on my computer and send it to be 3D printed in Belgium. They are then finished on my bench in a shipping container 40m from the ocean in Waubs Bay, Bicheno.” 

Jeweller Emma Robertson said she aims to provide a second life to the natural resources used within her work.  

“Being able to use elements from nature connects me to culture,” Robertson said.  

“I love to use kelp, shells, quills and fibre. It’s also pushing the limits of these elements and trying things that have not been done before. 

“I have been fortunate enough to be mentored by Elders within our community and Aunty Verna Nichols has been an amazing mentor to me. I love the work that both her and Aunty Leonie Dickson have done, and well as Aunty Jeanette James, Aunty Vicki West and Aunty Lola Greeno. There are many amazing Aboriginal women I look up to.” 

Precious: excellence in contemporary jewellery is now showing at the Queen Victoria Art Gallery (2 Wellington Street) at Royal Park until 1 October with free entry.  

Issued 11 July 2023.