Say it with Jewellery!

Students explore new avenues in Jewellery & Accessory Designing in Department of Jewellery Design, BNU.

Humans have a very deep, thoughtful and complex association with personal objects and artifacts. The desire and need to ornament ourselves, has been prevalent throughout times, be it symbolic or precious;  Little do we know how much in our daily lives, we consciously or sub-consciously ‘socialize’ and engage with ornaments & artifacts. The Greeks, The Taxilans, the Egyptians, the Parisians, the Rajs, jewellery, objects and artifacts from all of these time periods had one thing in common: they were cultural snapshots, as to why they were worn, what they were wearing, and what was the relationship between the wearer and the ornaments and how their value evolved symbolically with time.

Pakistan, like their South Asian counterparts, has inherited diversity in a culture of creativity & skilled craftsmanship, in both gold and silver jewelry. Pakistani jewelry today reflects a unique glimpse of time and tradition, combined with skilled craftsmanship and attention to detail.

Launched in 2003, the Beaconhouse National University’s Department of Jewellery & Accessory Design has been seeking to explore the context of jewellery & accessory making, through newer and critical perspectives, by questioning the very early interactions and status of jewellery in different periodical connotations and cultures, and then assuming and developing new roles of jewelry, thus opening new avenues in Jewellery & Gems Industry of Pakistan.

Providing a quality platform for research, designing & fabrication of Jewelry, the department sets to create a challenging new career choice for aspiring jewellery designers, artists and students from the Art & Design community, by embracing new contexts and new materials in the definitions of Jewellery in Pakistan.

Apart from multi-disciplinary approach which awaits students undertaking the Jewelry Design as a four years Major Program (the first of its kind in Pakistan), the Jewelry studio iis fully equipped with  machines and, metalsmitthing tools to serve a diverse range of techniques and processes for fabricating designs and prototypes in metals and alternative contemporary mediums. Parallel to fabrication and crafting, design is taught parralle to further narrow down the gap between the ‘designer’ and ‘maker’, and to introduce aesthetic sensibilities in jeweler artists. Designing in jewellery is not only taken as an initial stage that precedes production, or as a ‘technical draft’ laying out feasible solution to colors, materials, textures, product types and sizes, but infact, designing in jewellery is finally being realized as a separate whole foundation or ‘psychology’ of giving a concept and idea and adding ‘value’ in its own creative genre.
Professional collaborations with sectors like PCSIR, SMEDA, Pakistan Gems & Jewellery Development Corp.(PGJDC) has given the Jewellery Department a much needed input from industrial expertise, whereby students have been able to undertake research and utilize techniques of laser engraving,  hallmarking, quality control, as well as training and seminars by foreign and local consultants to prepare them for a career oriented approach towards their degree program.

Since the past three years, the Graduate shows of the Jewelry Department have not only been witness to the enormous level of sophisticated designing and fabrication, but also reflect a whole new level of self-expression, which is clearly setting trends for today and the future of the design and Gems & Jewelry Industry in Pakistan. The 8 months of concepts grappling, trying to undertake bold challenges, experimenting with new configurations and different materials, has been such a brave & daring approach.

These young jeweler artists, metalsmiths and designers are living and exploring in their own space of ‘personal adornments’, creating new markets, selling appealing old collections to a niche market  who are conscious of their identity and culture, and want to make their presence more memorable through a completely new language of jewellery, accessories and objects!

And this year’s Jewellery Degree show once again, saw the studio fill up with queer little objects and ornaments of aesthetic delight- from precious to canny, from copper to ceramic, questioning intriguing placements on the body….concepts of dreams, downfalls, circus tricks, coffee culture…we were dazed for a while as to how in the end, these concepts really transformed into a collection of ‘must –haves’! How do we really end up making artistically mastered forms, that can be at the same time contemporary, yet there is still recurring evidence of a ‘legacy forgotten’?

And it never ends here. Once the students have graduated, they embark upon the second phase of their artistic development and further identify their own jewellery lines within aesthetic and professional parameters; continuously building new vistas in designing, fabrication, research and retailing jewellery, and most importantly, to reduce the void between art and craft of jewelry in Pakistan. The graduates of this program end up managing their own labels of studio jewellery and accessories design in Pakistan, as well as go ahead to pursue specialized courses, to managing high-end quality jewelry stores in Pakistan.

And yet, we are certain of one thing: While Jewelry as an art entity is a new market in Pakistan, and there is so much to celebrate and pursue in this territory, the willingness to experiment, the boldness of ideas, and realizing the need to professionally contribute to  the  art & design world are just few of the notions that can turn the tide around for Pakistan’s Jewellery Industry.

Amina Rizwan- June , 2010, Lahore

Students explore new avenues in Jewellery & Accessory Designing in Department of Jewellery Design, BNU.

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