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Dear (Contact First Name),
Photo: Susan Cummins

The contemporary jewelry community is like a small town. Some people go about their lives without much curiosity or passion, and some are hungry for more and seek out knowledge in the unknown territories. You, as a member of AJF, represent one of those seekers. We send out writers and scouts to the edges of our territory--the unknown--to see what is going on out there, and they return back with reports that appear on our website. We post these articles, stories, and interviews for all to read, but only the seekers will read them.  


Thank you for supporting our frontier adventure with your donations.


I continue to believe that to grow a healthy marketplace and culture with credibility you need three things: a strong secondary market; good critical and scholarly books and articles; and museum acquisitions that create legitimacy for the practice. Art jewelry doesn't have all those things yet, but AJF is doing everything we can to support these aspects of a healthy contemporary jewelry scene. Our website is kicking ass! It is one of the very few places you can read timely reports and thoughtful, critical reviews of various events and issues taking place in the international contemporary jewelry world. What are you interested in hearing about? Contact me. 


Hand + Made: The Performative Impulse in Art and Craft 
I just finished reading Hand + Made: The Performative Impulse in Art and Craft with essays by Glenn Adamson, Namita Wiggers, and Valerie Cassel Oliver. It is a fairly quick read, thought provoking, and relates to a show at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. You can find a review on our website. But don't forget that if you order the book from our website though our Purchase link we get a kickback from Amazon. Whoopee!


Hope to see you in Munich at Schmuck. Let me know if you will be there so we can be sure to connect.


Best wishes,


Susan Cummins

Chair, AJF


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Rijksmuseum, photo: Myra May


Due to high hotel charges and a lack of good rooms available in September, we have changed the date of the AJF trip to Amsterdam.  




Our main hotel will be the Sofitel, located in the heart of the city. Please let us know of your interest and make your reservations now for the best rates.


Georgenhof, Munich, Germany

The annual gathering of jewelers and jewelry enthusiasts called Schmuck will take place in Munich from March 6th-10th. Because it can be difficult to find a list of those invited to participate, I have attached one here.


Just for you, AJF has planned an intimate gathering on Thursday, March 7th at 7:30pm in a private dining room at the beautiful restaurant Georgenhof (located in Schwabing at 1 Friedrichstrasse). The dinner will cost 40 euros or approximately $55 per person. Please sign up ASAP on our website under Travel > Registration and Payment.


This will be an excellent opportunity to spend time with friends and make new acquaintances. 



The AJF Board sent you a questionnaire last fall, and many of you answered it. Thank you. We thought you might want a summary of our findings and how we plan to respond. The survey was distributed to all AJF members and a large group of non-members. Here is a summary of what we learned and what we are planning to do:

    Zimmerhof 2012, Germany, photo: Ben Lignel 
    Members overwhelmingly associate AJF with information. Our website and blog content are highly regarded and position AJF as a knowledgeable resource.
  • Both members and non-members feel that the most important mission of AJF is to be an advocate for the field.
    • AJF is taking its role as advocate and information provider seriously. Based on what we learned, we are positioning the organization as a guide to all that is contemporary art jewelry. Our website and blog will continue to feature critical writing, interviews, and informative content. Our first book Contemporary Jewelry in Perspective will be published next September, solidifying this mission.  
  • AJF is differentiated from other organizations by its international scope, singular focus on art jewelry, financial support of the field, and diversity of membership. It is perceived as the only organization that bridges all groups--makers, collectors, curators, writers, museums, galleries, and academia.
    • We will continue to embrace all parts of the art jewelry community and reinforce this message in our communication. It was only a few short years ago that AJF was a collectors' group.  
    The Assemble Conference 2012 in London, photo: British Craft Council 
    You told us you love our events--you just wish there were more of them in more locations, and in some cases, that they were more affordable for all.
    • This past year, we held­­ 11 events in the US, UK, and Germany. We will continue to try to find opportunities that allow members to interact in person. Member events help build the sense of community many of you are seeking. Unfortunately, most events are held in bigger cities to take advantage of the larger audience of contemporary jewelry enthusiasts. Because we know you can't all travel to these locations, we will be sure to post reports and pictures on our website, in our newsletter, and on Facebook. We will also look at other possibilities, such as providing video coverage of our events.
  • Several of you raised an issue that we have heard before--broadening financial support beyond emerging artists.
    • During 2013, our grants committee is re-evaluating all of our awards, both for makers and institutions. Stay tuned.


We thank everyone who participated in our survey. Your feedback is very important to help us shape our brand, guide our positioning, and ensure that we are providing content and benefits that you value.  

Constance Abernathy, Carved Amethyst Owl Necklace, photo: RAGO Auctions


RAGO Auctions sold two Constance Abernathy

necklaces--one for $2625 and the second for $1375.  


MAD Museum has her necklaces in their collection.


Stefano Catalani, photo: Derya San Photography


Bellevue Arts Museum (BAM) has undertaken a series of important surveys of American contemporary jewelers over the past few years. Damian Skinner had the opportunity to speak with Stefano Catalani, Director of Curatorial Affairs/Artistic Director.   


Damian Skinner: Why do you think jewelry is popular?

Stefano Catalani: It's about objects, things that you can touch. It doesn't have the sacredness of a painting or sculpture, which demands distance and reverence. In my opinion, jewelry's function as body ornament lowers our threshold of reverence. Its perception as an object to wear provides an entry point to its sculptural dimension and aesthetic and cultural values. Read more... 


Galerie Rob Koudijs, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Galerie Rob Koudijs plays a critical role in the Dutch jewelry community. Rob Koudijs responds to some questions posed by Kamal Nassif.

Kamal Nassif: What do you hope to achieve with your gallery? How do you measure success?


Rob Koudijs: We think contemporary jewelry is a great medium. For more then 30 years, jewelry artists have managed to surprise us and tempt us to buy and wear their work. With Galerie Rob Koudijs, we have the opportunity to support the careers of artists who have excited us for many years and to introduce new, fresh, and promising talents. We enjoy contributing to the development of this field immensely!

Read more... 


This month, we feature the following galleries on the AJF website:

Galerie Elsa Vanier
Jardin d'hiver
until March 3, 2013
Facéré Jewelry Art Gallery
Women Working Words
February 6 - 26, 2013
Hanna Hedman: Black Bile
January 31 - March 16, 2013

Taboo Studio
Put a Ring on It
February 15 - March 22, 2013
J. Cotter Gallery
Au Courant
until April 2014
Shibumi Gallery
Maya Kini: Silk
February 2 - March 31, 2013






We received a letter from Ward Schrijver who wanted to react to--and complement--the article written by Liesbeth den Besten on the closing of Louise Smit's gallery. The content of the letter sheds some light on the second half of the gallery's history, and so we decided to publish it.


The Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum
Washington, DC, USA
July 20, 2012 - February 3, 2013

The Vigeland Museum 

Oslo, Norway

January 18 - February 10, 2013

Curated by Susan Cohn

Design Museum

London, England

December 5, 2012 - March 3, 2013   


Un peu de terre sur la peau 


Appledorn, The Netherlands

until March 24, 2013 


Otto Kunzli: The Exhibition

Die Neue Sammlung, Pinokotek Moderne

Munich, Germany

March 9 - April 7, 2013 


Chicks on Speed and Lisa Walker present

Touch Me Baby I'm Bodycentric, a Mulitmodalplosion!

City Gallery

Wellington, New Zealand

March 2 - April 21, 2013


From the Coolest Corner 

The National Museum, The Museum of Decorative Arts and Design

Oslo, Norway

January 19 - April 21, 2013


Helen Britton: The Things I See  

Die Neue Sammlung (New Museum of Arts and Design)

Nuremberg, Germany

February 7 - April 28, 2013 


What is it that renders contemporary jewelry precious? 

From our Reserve Holdings: Inauguration of a New Permanent Exhibition Room Devoted to Contemporary Jewelry

Musee de Design et d'arts Appliquies Contemorains (MUDAC)

Lausanne, Switzerland

Ongoing from October 19, 2012 
Museum of Fine Arts
Boston, Massachusetts 
July 19, 2011 - July 1, 2014

Curated by Gail Brown

SNAG exhibition online


On the home page of our new website, there is a changing list of the interesting, strange, and wonderful ways that contemporary jewelry is hitting the headlines. Find out what has been attracting our curiosity at AJF Recommends...