German version: "Warum eröffnet eine Goldschmiedemeisterin ein Schmuckmuseum?"


Why does a Master Goldsmith establish a Museum of Jewelry?

This small, privately owned Museum of Jewelry is not interested in impressing visitors with material value but in demonstrating the exciting interplay of everyday-use suitability and masterly design. It is about usefulness in perfect harmony with esthetics, a merging of art and life. It is about practical skills and the virtuosity of craftmanship as imagination is materialized through disciplined and accurate realization. Creative mastery of craft techniques of 6000 years ago up to the latest developments in precision mechanics, electronics and laser technology are a prerequisite for bringing inventiveness to bear in all its facets. Each piece of jewelry is an invention both in form and design, and in workmanship and technical execution. The most varied materials are used - not just gold, platinum and silver in all types of alloy but also other metals, gemstones and minerals, pearls, corals, synthetic materials, feathers, sea shells, snail shells, ivory, hairs, woods.... all materials can be worked with - but they also require the skill to exploit their specific properties.

Applied art often is considered rather irrelevant and of little consequence - a second-class art. This misinterpretation has led to a discrepancy between cultural significance and public awareness. A culture dominated by banal items of exclusively profit-oriented mass production urgently requires educating the awareness for quality. This need for developing personal esthetic criteria must, however, not be confused with posing a standard of what should be considered "good taste." Such a standard for an alleged good taste has been established long ago under the name of design. There is, in fact, a distinct lack of criteria to appreciate and evaluate items of jewelry art. With emeritus status being given to Professors Fritz (Heidelberg) and Buddensieck (Bonn), there are now no longer any art-history courses available at German universities dedicated to the segment of applied art.

This inadequate level of knowledge is mirrored by the treatment of the subject in the media. Incompetence and the resulting uncertainties lead to scanty coverage. Thus the public suffers from a permanent lack of information with regard to applied art. Our country, highly encumbered with debts, allows itself a fascinating abundance of excellent new museum buildings with enormous follow-up costs. All of these museums are dedicated to "proper art." But the inadequate image of applied art renders impossible the provision of public funds even vaguely approaching such dimensions. There are few financial allocations to this area, or none at all.

In view of these circumstances, and in a sort of naive idealism, I simply felt I had to establish a private Museum for Jewelry and Information Centre for Jewelry Art.

Franziska Kelz-Blank, Master Goldsmith