Round and Flawless

Editorial design for research project on cultured pearls. Starting with the most traditional form of jewellery, the pearl necklace, this project investigates the contemporary environmental and production contexts of pearl farming. The human and non-human activities are intertwined during the growth of a single pearl. The cutting of the pearls – as a form of anatomy – shows these activities in the concentric layers of the pearl. This cut, as a small lens opens up and acknowledges the larger contexts a single pearl can connect. This research has resulted in an editorial project and a series of objects, the latter you can see here

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Round and Flawless

Research, text, object and photos by Irma Foldenyi, cultured pearl, 2020-2021


When cut in half, a cultured pearl reveals it’s internal secrets: layers of years of growth by it’s protective oyster around an artificial core inserted by humans. The oysters lay in farms, the farms lay in sweet and saltwater, organised by farmers, cleaners, oyster health practitioners, hatchery technicians, divers and pearling boat operators to eventually be sold, made and displayed as a strand of opaque pearls. ‘Pant suits, silk shirts and formal skirts’ may very well be the context where these traditional pearl necklaces will be marketed for.

Because of the distance or disconnectedness I feel from perfect, round and flawless pearl jewellery, I made an attempt to research with a direct, hands on approach to see what lays behind the impenetrable, secretive and shiny surface.

With a curious gaze, running through the MRI like pearl slices, tiny maps appeared. These maps visualise the pearl industry: layers of interactions between humans and non-humans became transparent. Through this tiny cross-section, relationships and multi-species interactions between communities such as Chinese nucleus producers, oysters, farmers, jewellers and wearers can be decoded.

The overview of this interconnectedness opened a new aesthetic choice for re-assembling a pearl jewellery. By making a necklace with pearl slices that display their inherent logics of production, the aesthetics of the pearl necklace updated effortlessly into a vulnerable, strong, feminine and transparent appearance.

If we would turn relations around, and let oysters determine pearl production, would we ever wear pearl necklaces?



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edited and designed by Irma Foldenyi for Studio Sieraad, Sint Lucas Antwerpen

Edited from the 10 years (2008-2018) of photo and correspondence archive of the Jewellery Department, Sint Lucas Antwerpen, the Lookbooks display carefully selected photos of works from the bachelor course in conversation with questions found in communication with students. With texts by Liesbeth Den Besten, Evelien Bracke and Ben Lignel.                                                                                                                  Email to for a copy.

Printed with the support of the Karel de Grote-Hogeschool.



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Bracelets are Made for Difficult Times

May 20, 2019, Monday evening Talks, Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam

A talk by Jewellery Perspectives at Gerrit Rietveld Academie, departmemnt jewellery – Linking Bodies. A conversation with a selection of our favourite books related to jewellery. Inspirational items that doesn’t necessarily focus on the jewel itself but on its renewed definition in today’s society.


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About Jewellery Perspectives

Jewellery Perspectives: maker, client, material and world is a research project of Evelien Bracke and Irma Földényi. Jewellery is mostly presented and addressed as an autonomous object and portrayed without context, but jewellery is meant to be present in the real world. Underlying social, political and cultural processes for conceiving a jewel even if addressed often remain hidden. This project doesn’t necessarily focus on the jewel itself but is particularly interested in researching its renewed definition in today’s society, researching contemporary contexts and building new ones beyond the protective confines of the artisanal workshop. The as-found and constructed contexts can be turned into production sites for renewed interactions in the process of defining jewellery.

By going beyond current developments we aim to explore how jewellery can address societal issues or environmental dilemma’s, respond to contemporary contexts and reveal new and existing relations and networks. Could jewellery for example give geopolitical insights or even test or represent the shifting idea of Europe? Can jewellery take on a relevant role again in contemporary society? We consider the artistic process as important as the final result (object, jewel) and are aiming to open up and to make visible the complex processes of a designer working with a social context.

This website displays references for jewellery outside the field of jewellery, as well as interventions, objects and exhibitions developed by us. By visiting 6 disciplines such as architecture, literature, film, economy, history and science, we develop interventions, interviews and associative relations between makers, clients, materials and the world. Supported by Stimuleringsfonds creatieve industrie nl.

text by Evelien Bracke and Irma Foldenyi                                                                                                    concept by Evelien Bracke and Irma Foldenyi                                                                                        webdesign by Irma Foldenyi                                                                                                                    programming by Firma 103







‘Stones Against Diamonds’

A project by Jewellery Perspectives, curated by Evelien Bracke.

‘Stones Against Diamonds’ is a research project on the diamond company De Beers by Marge Monko. Read here the text by Evelien Bracke
at Tallinn City Gallery
January 12 – February 11, 2018

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Images courtesy of the artist and Tallinn Art Hall.

Design and construction of the vitrine: Kaisa Sööt
Photography: Karel Koplimets, Marge Monko.


For What it’s Worth

Nov 11, 2019, Talk at Obsessed! Jewellery Festival, organised by Current Obsession, Amsterdam

For What it’s Worth’ – a talk on how people review jewellery on online platforms like Amazon or Alibaba.
As part of our collaboration project ‘Jewellery Perspectives’ we followed different voices and insights on a simple golden necklace. Thank you so much @currentobsessionmag for inviting us as part of OBSESSED! festival and having a great conversation on what we can learn from this research in the conceptual jewellery context.

Editorial design: Irma Foldenyi, Research: Irma Foldenyi & Evelien Bracke

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‘Stones Against Diamonds’ by Lina Bo Bardi

reference for jewellery in architecture

Lina Bo Bardi (1914-1992) was a prolific architect, designer and thinker, whose work spans across architecture, furniture, stage and costume design, urban planning, curatorial work, teaching and writing. ‘Stones Against Diamonds’ deftly present Bo Bardi’s writings in a timeline of her life. Beginning with the start of her career in Italy, we see her move to Brazil, and her time in Bahia and Sao Paolo. Through these essays and the accompanying photographs and sketches, the book gives a welcome insight into the thoughts of one of the lesser-known women architects.

‘My love for Brazil has fuelled my love of gems. this is a country of marvellous stones, such as the quartz crystals that you can pick up from the ground in the mountains of Mina Gerais, in the tablelands, or even in Sao Paulo state, where some years ago, I found some really beautiful ones, perfectly polished by nature.’  ‘Well, all of this is a prelude for calling for designers in Brazil to start working with these gemstones, which are unjustly tagged semi-precious’ said Lina Bo Bardi.

In 2015 Isaac Julien made a film ‘Stones Against Diamonds’ for Rolls Royce that was inspired by the letter written by Bo Bardi. The artist and his crew travelled to the remote Vatnajokull region of South East Iceland, shooting the film inside caves formed over thousands of years.

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Andersonite – Mineral of the Anthropocene

reference for jewellery in science

‘Andersonite is an uncommon to rare mineral that occurs in oxidized uranium-bearing hydrothermal polymetallic deposits and can also be of post-mine in origin as coatings on the mine walls. Localities for Andersonite include in the United States, Austria, England, Sweden, the Czech Republic, and Argentina, among only a few others. ‘


Handbook of Mineralogy, Anthony et al (1995) and MSA