Looking Back at 2023 – Art Jewelry Forum

AJF’s mission is to boost the visibility and value of contemporary art jewelry. When you join us at our events and visit our website, you get to know the talented artists from around the globe who create this fascinating work, the devoted gallerists who promote it, the passionate collectors who cherish it—and that’s just a start.

 You meet like-minded people who love the jewelry that makes you think, the jewelry that uses humor to challenge the culture, the jewelry that explores contemporary issues like sustainability and political events, the jewelry that subverts notions of what and how jewelry should be.

 Thanks to your support, we published 110 items in 2023. We also hosted 

  • eight AJF Live events 
  • a free panel discussion on collecting called AJF in Conversation: Endless Love—Adoring Contemporary Jewelry, at New York City Jewelry Week
  • AJF in Conversation: Trade a Pin/Tell a Story, during Munich
  • a joint book presentation with Arnoldsche Art Publishers, also during Munich, for North by Northwest: The Jewelry of Laurie Hall

Please consider joining AJF or making a donation to help us continue to present original content from the field’s most fascinating voices to inform, educate, and encourage critical thinking.

This recap highlights some of our most interesting accomplishments this year.

Khanya Mthethwa, Umswenko—Ndlovukazi
Khanya Mthethwa, Umswenko—Ndlovukazi, 2019, necklace, photopolymer resin, thread, photo: Matome, photo editor: Pixel65

We awarded the 2023 Susan Beech Mid-Career Grant

Khanya Mthethwa won $20,000 to support a project that reimagines the designs of indigenous cultural objects with 3D printing. The South African artist talks about her win here. She was also our guest on AJF Live on December 14. 

Catherine Blackburn x Rykelle Kemp, Future Vision
Catherine Blackburn x Rykelle Kemp, Future Vision, from the Convergence Collection, 2022, facepiece, smoked moose hide, antique and vintage beads, caribou hair, brass and sterling details, white topaz stones, leather backing, 7 ½ x 7 x 6 inches (191 x 178 x 152 mm), photo: Patrick Shannon

Catherine Blackburn was one of the finalists for the Susan Beech Mid-Career Grant. A multidisciplinary artist and jeweler, she commonly addresses Canada’s colonial past in her work, often prompted by personal narratives. Read our interview with her here.

Rita Soto, Illa Manka, horsehair, photo courtesy of the artist

The Chilean maker Rita Soto was the other finalist for the Susan Beech Mid-Career Grant. Watch her here, on AJF Live, to find out about her fiber-based processes and techniques.

David Bielander, Portrait of Bielander Wearing Pinocchio Necklaces, 2020, carved and waxed assorted wood, some from a confessional, photo: Center for Art in Wood

We published The Quick Guide to Art Jewelry

Are you new to art jewelry, or looking for a way to understand at a glance what makes a piece of jewelry art jewelry? Check out this page!

We published 19 interviews this year

Here are some selections:


Lorena Lazard, In the Beginning 13
Lorena Lazard, In the Beginning 13, necklace, soil from the artist’s garden, iron, 340 x 125 x 10 mm, photo: Elena Ayala

Lorena Lazard seeks to unveil what can’t be seen but remains there to be discovered. She uses soil in her work in part because it stores memories, giving an identity and a sense of belonging. It also serves as a metaphor for the substance we’re created from. The Mexican maker’s work integrates elements from her various heritages and the sociocultural memories that accompany them. Read the interview, which was a reader favorite, here.

Work by Patricia Domingues
Brooch by Patricia Domingues, photo courtesy of Brooklyn Metal Works

Patricia Domingues uses chisels and hammers to create mesmerizing landscapes out of gemstones. Go here to find out more about her practice.


Tamara Marbl Joka, Mirror of the Past
Tamara Marbl Joka, Mirror of the Past, 2022, brooch, silver, concrete, 3 ½ x 3 ⅛ x ⅜ inches (90 x 80 x 8 mm), photo: artist

Tamara Marbl Joka won the prestigious Herbert Hofmann Prize in 2023. Read the interview here.

Work by Art Smith and Verma Nequatewa
Among the jewels you’ll find at Mahnaz Collection: Art Smith, a copper prototype neckpiece, ca. 1975, and Verma Nequatewa (Sonwai), a silver and wood height inlay bracelet, 2020, photo: Hee Jin Kang

Mahnaz Collection specializes in original jewelry made by transformational, independent jewelers active from the mid-20th century to the present. Learn more about the gallerist, Mahnaz Ispahani Bartos, here.

Museum of Craft and Design
Museum of Craft and Design, photo: Henrik Kam

Elizabeth Shypertt, the jewelry manager at the Museum of Craft and Design Museum Store, told us about her career—she cofounded Velvet da Vinci. Do you wonder what qualities she looks for in the jewelry she stocks? Find out here.

Necklace by Eunseok Han
Necklace by Eunseok Han, photo courtesy of Pistachios

In this interview, the owner and director of Pistachios Contemporary Art Jewelry, Jessica Armstrong, describes strategies the gallery has taken to help it thrive over the decades.

AJF Live

This is where you get to see jewelry luminaries and jewelry live, in front of a camera, hear them go in-depth about their work, and ask them questions. Nearly all of these events cost nothing. The ticketed ones help us raise funds to keep the rest of our programming free. Can’t attend the day of the event? We’ve got you covered. We record them all and post the videos on our website.

Sulo Bee, C4ZP4RZ_B3ZERKER, photo courtesy of the artist


Watch the video of the event with Sulo Bee here to find out all about how they started in jewelry and see their fascinating work.

Geraldine Fenn, Beads for Power Series: Patriarchy
Geraldine Fenn, Beads for Power Series: Patriarchy, 2020, brooch, silver, vintage African glass trade beads, steel pin, 2 ⅛ x 1 ¾ x ⅜ inches (55 x 45 x 10 mm), photo: Sarah de Pina

In November, we were treated to a virtual tour of makers from South Africa. Watch that event here.

Jiye Yun, Pillars—Snake
Jiye Yun, Pillars—Snake, selected for Schmuck 2023, photo courtesy of the Schmuck exhibition

Caroline Broadhead showed us some of the work she juried into the Schmuck special exhibition in Munich and told us what drove her selections. This program was an audience favorite. Watch here.

Cristina Celis, Pearl Necklace
Cristina Celis, Pearl Necklace, 2015, glazed stoneware with oxide lines, photo courtesy of the artist

In AJF Live Goes to Mexico, Lorena Lazard introduced us to her own work and that of three other important contemporary jewelry makers: Cristina Celis, Martacarmela Sotelo, and Raquel Bessudo. Watch here.

 We published 14 articles in 2023

Highlights included:

Judit Fritz, Content
Judit Fritz, Content, 2023, brass, silicone, borosilicate glass, photo: artist. In the practice of the recent MFA graduate from Sweden’s Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts and Design, jewelry is used as a method of self-examination. Appearing as hybrids of prosthetics and laboratory devices, her creations dissect the idea of the human body and its extent, ultimately portraying the human body in a web of multiple material systems.

In Meet the Outstanding Students of 2023, faculty from AJF member schools identified one outstanding grad or undergrad from their current class. This article, which got so many clicks, presents the best work in the form of a photo essay. Keep your eyes on the trajectories of these ambitious new makers—they represent the next generation of jewelry artists! More.

Mai Zarkawi, Al Masaha (The Space)
Mai Zarkawi, Al Masaha (The Space), gold-plated brass, photo courtesy of the artist

An essay about jewelry from Southwest Asia and North Africa titled We’re Not Stuck in the Past, We’re Dealing with the Present. Read it here.

Pals show off their Taylor-Swift-inspired friendship bracelets, photo: Haley Brennfleck

While writing about the friendship bracelets Taylor Swift’s fans make and swap, Carrie Yodanis mused about how jewelry connects us. Read it here.

Songezo Baleni, neckpiece
Songezo Baleni, neckpiece, 2010, 18-karat yellow gold, silver, photo: artist

Nina Newman’s exploration of how South African contemporary jewelers have crafted a distinct design identity for their nation. Read the piece here.

Bill Smith, Body Ornament
Bill Smith, Body Ornament, modeled by Merème, photo: Aida Sulova, image courtesy of Aida Sulova and The Jewelry Library

Four weeks of recaps of all the articles we’ve published by or about Black Americans, to celebrate Black History Month:

  • Demetri Broxton and Angela Hennessey, whose work is jewelry adjacent, here
  • Find art historian, curator, and professor Sebastian Grant’s research on historical Black figures who shaped jewelry today here
  • Get links to AJF Live videos that feature Black makers—and not only Americans—here
  • A list of additional articles about Black makers who didn’t fit into the above categories appears here
Masumi Kataoka, Brooch, from the Out of Longing series
Masumi Kataoka, Brooch, from the Out of Longing series, 2022, copper, enamel, sterling silver, stainless steel, 3 ½ x 2 ¾ x 2 ¾ inches (90 x 70 x 70 mm), photo courtesy of the artist

The month of May saw a celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. We featured writers, educators, gallerists, and makers in the field here.

Pat Pruitt, Blossom Necklace
Pat Pruitt, Blossom Necklace, titanium and zirconium, photo: Juanita Moonstar

In November, we spotlighted the articles we’ve published about Native American makers to mark Native American Heritage Month. Check out that article here.

Anke Hennig, Shades of Blue
Anke Hennig, Shades of Blue, necklace, rayon, polyester, nylon, sterling silver, photo courtesy of Thereza Pedrosa Gallery

On Offer published 24 times in 2023

Twice a month, AJF member galleries feature the most intriguing adornments from their stock. Ready to drool? See them all here.

Ring by Jiro Kamata, photographed for the Ring Redux exhibition, photo courtesy of the New Orleans Art Museum

Have You Heard had 23 installments

We publish the latest news in jewelry twice a month. Want to hear about exhibitions, auctions, books, events, and so much more? Go here to see them all, with the most recent one first.

We published eight photo essays

Our photo essays give you information packed into a fun, bite-size and image-centered way. Take a look at some of this year’s offerings:

Kent Raible, Sheriff of the New Frontier, 18-karat gold, fine silver, amethyst, garnets, moonstone, loaned by the American Jewelry Design Council, photo: Nathalie Mornu

When you attend the annual gem show in Tucson, Arizona, don’t miss the studio jewelry that’s on permanent exhibit at the recently opened Alfie Norville Gem & Mineral Museum in the city’s downtown. See some of what’s on display in this crowd-pleaser of a photo essay, here.

At Fabrice Schaefer's shop and studio
Danielle Gori-Montanelli tries on a ring by Fabrice Schaefer, with Rose Roven and Susan Cummins behind her, photo: Linda Peshkin

AJF’s September 2023 tour to five cities in Switzerland was crammed with studio visits, exclusive behind-the-scenes at museums, gallery stops, great meals in great company, and more. See all the fun here.

(Left to right) Karen and Michael Rotenberg at the opening of MAD About Jewelry, photo: Jennifer Altmann

Jennifer Altmann captured the mad vibe at the opening of MAD About Jewelry. See highlights of jewelry worn at the benefit preview here.

(Left to right) Susan Coddon, Lynn Batchelder, and Gail Hufjay
(Left to right) Susan Coddon, Lynn Batchelder, and Gail Hufjay during a pop-up, photo: Jennifer Altmann. Batchelder won AJF’s Artist Award in 2016. She bases much of her work on drawings, translating the quality of the drawn line into metal.

See AJF’s July 2023 trip to the Berkshires here. Members tried on Art Smith cuffs, visited prominent galleries, met one of the field’s enfants terribles (Ted Noten), and more.

Banafsheh Hemmati, The Sun, from the Architecture series, 2011, ring, silver, radius: ¼ inch (6 mm), photo courtesy of the artist. “This collection is a boundary between my early works, which were adapted, and my later works, in which I have looked at retrospective motifs with a broader view,” says Hemmati. “I refer to it as the self-appropriation of tradition. The basis of this set is Islamic geometry.”

Banafsheh Hemmatti was born in Iran in 1974. She shared her work, which dismantles the order of Islamic geometry, with us here.

 We published six reviews

Our writers covered both books and exhibitions. Some highlights:

Aaron Decker, Morning Star 2
Aaron Decker, Morning Star 2, 2023, photo courtesy of Restringing the Pearl

Readers loved the review Beryl Perron-Feller wrote about Restringing the Pearl, at The Jewelry Library, in NYC. Everyone has a pearl story. That was the essence of the show, and audio recordings (also available as text transcripts) appeared center stage. As the curators intended, the stories really did lead this exhibition. More.

Margit Jäschke, In the Evening
Margit Jäschke, In the Evening, 2015, brooch, silver, cardboard, epoxy, synthetic stones, 110 x 60 mm, photo courtesy of Arnoldsche Art Publishers

Margit Jäschke: Kairos spans a period of three decades of the artist’s work. The book is more about the images and the perception of them by the reader than about the text, says the reviewer, Esther Doornbusch. Nothing in this monograph seems to have been left to chance: It has been meticulously attended to and provides a beautifully presented picture of Jäschke’s rich oeuvre as an artist. Check it out here.

Craig McIntosh, Tweeter
Craig McIntosh, Tweeter, 2023, pendants, pakohe, cord, largest 5 ½ x 2 ⅜ x 1 ⅛ inches (140 x 60 x 30 mm), photo: Funaki

Gallery Funaki exhibited Craig McIntosh: Memory, Boundary and Place in September. The artist’s work and practice is broadly concerned with questions about how we listen to, are aware of, and respond to the environment—and particularly how non-Indigenous people can critically approach and respond to natural materials. See the review here.

Catarina Silva, I'm Late, I'm Late, for a Very Important Date!
Catarina Silva, I’m Late, I’m Late, for a Very Important Date!, 2023, earrings, wood, oxidized silver, 19-karat gold, zirconium, wrapping paper for chocolate, cashew lacquer, 1 ⅝ x 1 x 1 inch (40 x 25 x 25 mm), photo: Pedro Tropa

Catarina Silva: Once upon a Time …, which was on show at Galeria Tereza Seabra, is about the mysteries of love, desire, and memory, all wrapped up in the foil used to protect chocolates. Read about it here.

Front and back cover of Cold Sweat Suor Frio
Front and back cover of Cold Sweat Suor Frio, photo: Eduardo Sousa Ribeiro, courtesy PIN. The front features Christoph Zellweger’s Ampoule pendant, 2021. The back shows Typhaine Le Monnier’s Viseira necklace, 2020.

Monica Gaspar reviewed Cold Sweat Suor Frio, the printed legacy of the 1st Lisbon Contemporary Jewelry Biennial, a public event that included exhibitions, colloquia, and masterclasses in various venues across Lisbon in the fall of 2021. The lengthy book accomplishes several things at once. It documents the title exhibition in its various locations. It showcases stunning works of contemporary jewelry and historical artefacts. It gathers the papers given at the colloquia. And, finally, it is a precious object, carefully designed and lavishly illustrated. More here.

 We published eight obituaries

Unfortunately, a number of luminaries in the field passed away this year.

Kadri Mälk
Kadri Mälk, photo: Tanel Veenre

Liesbeth den Besten and Tanel Veenre wrote about the Estonian maker Kadri Mälk, who died in the first hours of 2023. Veenre’ described Mälk as a woman of darkness and an admirer of the feral here. Den Besten, whose text is here, described her as a dark, romantic, and spiritual being.

Anton Cepka
Anton Cepka, photo: Matus Cepka

Jana Machatova penned a remembrance of her professor, Anton Cepka, one of the earliest makers of contemporary author jewelry. Read about the late Slovak maker here.

Karl Bollmann
Karl Bollmann, photo: Kadri Mälk

The important Austrian collector Karl Bollmann was remembered by Helen W. Drutt English (here) and Tanel Veenre (here).

Sharon Church
Sharon Church, photo courtesy Helen Drutt, Philadelphia

The American maker and educator Sharon Church was eulogized in an extraordinary, poetic reminiscence by Lola Brooks. Find it here.

Claude Chavent, Cage
Claude Chavent, Cage, brooch, platinum and gold, photo courtesy of Viceversa

Here, Christian Balmer wrote an homage to the French bijoutier Claude Chavent.

Attai Chen with one of his sculptures
Attai Chen with one of his sculptures, photo courtesy of Patti Bleicher

A number of people paid their respects to the Israeli maker Attai Chen. Read their words here.


See the exhibition catalog for Galerie Reverso’s Bla Bla Bla in our Digital Library

We published 15 new items in our Digital Library

Some highlights of those include

  • A gallery sheet listing artists and artwork for Is Your Contemporary Jewellery Body-Positive?, which was on exhibit in Australia. It’s here.
  • A video of Wearing the Colours: Jewellery and the Women’s Suffrage Movement in Britain by AJF member Elizabeth Goring. Watch it here.
  • Simon Marcus Swale’s dissertation, The Way We Lived? It discusses the theoretical frameworks and studio practice for his project, which focused on globalization. Find it here.
  • Creating the Creative Marketplace, by AJF member Warren Feld, on the business of craft. Read it here.

Our Digital Library is full of interesting things about art jewelry—such as essays, magazine articles, reviews, books, schedules of events, and more—and they range over a wide span of time. Visit it here.

Fiscal sponsorship

AJF’s fiscal sponsorship program provides financial management for projects in the art jewelry field. Individuals and groups can’t accept tax-deductible donations or apply for grants because they are not a nonprofit—except through fiscal sponsorship. AJF is a nonprofit, so our program can receive and manage the grants and donations you’ve received. You can use those funds for your art jewelry project—it might be research, curatorial, creating new work, educational projects, etc. Projects produced through this program may include academic scholarship, curatorial projects, creation-based proposals, educational community projects, and more.  To learn more and to apply, visit our website, here.

The new book Dead Souls: Desire and Memory in the Jewelry of Keith Lewis was produced through Art Jewelry Forum’s fiscal sponsorship program

AJF has a tiny staff of two, so you can understand why we’re so pleased with these accomplishments and very proud of our writers. But your support is critical as well. None of our programming would be possible without your memberships and donations. Thank you! We’re excited about what lies ahead for 2024.

© 2023 Art Jewelry Forum. All rights reserved. Content may not be reproduced in whole or in part without permission. For reprint permission, contact info (at) artjewelryforum (dot) org

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