In this case, all that shimmers is indeed gold! The Design Indaba Expo 2006, which runs from the 24-26 February, takes the crown for mounting the largest curated exhibition of contemporary South African jewellery to date
Whip out those sunglasses - and the credit card - in preparation for the collective shimmer that will be emanating from the jewellery sector at next year's Design Indaba Expo. With the number of fine jewellers, goldsmiths and silversmiths already at 25, the show will no doubt be big on the bling, the ring, the necklace, bracelet, anklet...
Most importantly, this is a curated event, and not merely an assemblage of anyone willing to show their wares. Jewellery curators Jennifer Fair, Beverley Price and Geraldine Fenn, who are jewellers and exhibitors in their own right, have evaluated each and every potential exhibitor. There have been an encouraging amount of "Yeses" from the curators, thanks to the high standard of the work, showing that the event has garnered the support of the contemporary jewellery community. In fact, the curator process itself has been the subject of interesting internal debate among the curators in the attempt to correctly position the Expo as the country's premier contemporary jewellery event.
In this process, the hand-made piece has been privileged above the machine-made or laser-cut work. Beaders who do not create their own beads by hand have been redirected to the craft sector of the Expo floor.
This means that the majority of the jewellers in the jewellery sector will be presenting pieces that incorporate precious metals and stones. Others will show "gems" created from more experimental, unconventional materials such as car reflectors, old coins, plastic, enamel, or perspex.
All nine of the boutique jewellers who showed at the last Expo in February are returning to the event in 2006, accompanied by a host of new exhibitors drawn not only from Cape Town and Stellenbosch, but from as far afield as Pretoria, Joburg and Durban, giving the jewellery sector a nationwide reach. The Design Indaba Expo is pleased to welcome back the jewellers who helped to make the 2005 event a success, and to open its arms to the increased number of brand new talents.
Because boutique jewellers tend to operate by word of mouth, mostly on private commissions, and are scattered across the country, they are often difficult to find unless you are in the know. The Expo thus constitutes a …erm, golden opportunity to see a significantly wide range of these jewellers clustered together at once. It's their time to shine. Visitors will be able to revisit their old favourites as well as discover work by 2006 Expo newcomers such as Cape Town-based Peter Eastman, who is more usually known in his guise as one of this country's upcoming painters. Then there are the widely respected Gautengers Elizabeth Loubser, Dorothea Annandale and Anel Marie. Not forgetting Somerset Studio, Safia Salaam of the Ruth Prowse School of Art, Bousquet Creations, Firpetals, Frieda Luehl…Jewels, all of them.