Jewellery, worn by, made by, Leiden
3 June 2018

JEWELLERY - made by, worn by

In this exhibition, Wereldmuseum Leiden – the Netherlands’ national museum of ethnography – will be presenting the largest collection of jewellery ever to be displayed in a Dutch museum. Almost 1000 items of jewellery by designers from all over the world will guarantee a feast for the eye, as well as plenty of surprises and no small measure of wonder. 


Ended | This exhibition was on display until 3 June 2018 in Wereldmuseum Leiden (formerly known as museum Volkenkunde) . 

As well as exploring how people around the world adorn themselves, the exhibition will also zoom in on the makers, the techniques they use, and the extraordinary stories of some of those who wear the jewellery.

Winner from the Bibi van der Velden bracelet contest is known

Trudi Glas from Amsterdam is the lucky winner of the jewellery that was part of the contest at the JEWELLERY -- made by, worn by exhibition. On June 12th she received the jewellery; a special bracelet made from silver, mammoth ivory and diamonds, designed by Bibi van der Velden. Trudi was chosen at random from 1300 submissions. Trudi visited the exhibition with her granddaughter Eva. They both enormously enjoyed the various jewellery on display and their background stories. Especially the section 'make your own jewellry' based on a design from Cat Priem was something that stood out to her.

Uitreiking Sieraad

Gold, silver, natural materials and glass

People’s need to adorn themselves is universal and as old as humanity itself. Every conceivable material is used for the purpose: shells, fruits, seeds, bone and stones, as well as the usual gold and silver, and of course precious stones like diamonds, sapphires and rubies. Jewellery makes people more attractive, and it often has a deeper meaning. But one aspect that is sometimes overlooked is the people who make the jewellery and the materials and techniques they use. This exhibition will change all that.

Ode to jewellers

The exhibition will thus be an ode to jewellery makers. Crafts and techniques that date back centuries, such as gold- and silversmithing, tell tales of culture, history and identity. The exhibition will feature the most beautiful items of jewellery from the collections of Museum Volkenkunde, the Africa Museum, Wereldmuseum Rotterdam and the Tropenmuseum, from delicate gold pieces made in Asia and South America, items made from a huge range of natural materials from Oceania, silver jewellery with special meanings from North America and the Middle East, to beadwork from Africa.

Old and new

Besides jewellery from its own collection, which spans several centuries, the museum will also be showing recent pieces by designers from all over the world. Their work demonstrates their love of traditional techniques, motifs and materials, which they use as inspiration for new applications, occasionally combining them with new techniques. This produces some exciting and impressive pieces, like the rings designed by Johanna Dahm, who learnt the Asante gold casting method from a master goldsmith in Ghana, West Africa. One unique element of this exhibition is the five designers who have been invited to take a new look at the collection. In a workshop specially set up for them in the exhibition, they will make an item of jewellery inspired by the museum’s collection. Visitors will also have the opportunity to make a piece of jewellery to take home.

Workshops and jewellery atelier

A unique part of the exhibition consists of the five jewellery designers that were invited to look at the collection with a new perspective. In a specially designed atelier in the exhibition they will make a jewellery inspired by the museum collection. Visitors will also get the chance to work on this by themselves and get to take their own jewellery home with them.