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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Apartment Jewels

a project by Jewellery Perspectives

What kind of new relations can we imagine between a maker and a client, between jewellery and architecture? What can be the role of the designer?
In this series of interventions we took the position of the maker and agreed with a client to deliver several pieces of jewellery. By creating 5-minutes prototypes using her personal belongings within her own apartment, these jewellery interventions are a result of the designer, stepping into the life of the client and letting itself become vulnerable in a personal context.

see the full series

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intervention by Irma Foldenyi

photo by Nastassja Bosch


Jewellery Matters Symposium at Rijskmuseum

a presentation by Jewellery Perspectives at Jewellery Matters Symposium, organised by Marjan Unger, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 2017


‘Welcome in the Anthropocene: You have entered a new material epoch’

‘Il y a une nouvelle terre, cette terre agitée et sensible à nos mouvements, qu’on ne connaissait pas et qui est une terre nouvelle’. Bruno Latour

Human beings have so fundamentally altered the geology of the planet, that scientists named a brand-new geologic epoch after us: the Anthropocene. Many scientists say the Anthropocene started on July 16, 1945, when humans detonated the first atomic bomb and left a powerful chemical marker in the geological record. Other experts say the exact beginning may be a bit fuzzier. Regardless of the precise date, one thing is certain: our footprint on the planet – based at least partially on the materials we’ve created, moved around, or just left behind – will be visible for millions, or even billions, of years.

In this new era of the Anthropocene, scientists note that humans have produced unusual new materials like radioactive fallout from nuclear tests in the 1950s and 1960s, or ‘plastiglomerate’, an indurated, multi-composite material made hard by agglutination of rock and molten plastic. A recent scientific paper catalogs hundreds of these new materials, and estimates that humans are responsible for roughly 4% of all the minerals on Earth. Some formed along the slippery walls of mines, where cool, moist air reacted with sooty particles of iron ore; others were created in the depths of the ocean as ancient shipwrecks were eroded by the salty sea. Due to the relative distance we have from these materials, the changing epoch is still a rather abstract notion to us creatives. What will these materials become, how can they enter the material flows of the contemporary world and what can the role of jewellery designers be in this paradigm shift?

The Anthropocene addresses us: it compels us to re-think how we – as researchers or creatives from the fields of design, jewellery or the arts – can position ourselves in this new material world. How can such a world today offer potential futures for jewellery practice in the 21st century? Can the engagement with this new material world become the new work environment, the laboratory, which operates beyond the protective confines of the artisanal workshop? This contribution is a statement of purpose for radically interdisciplinary modes of research and practice of jewellers in the Anthropocene.

Jewellery Perspectives is a research project by designer Irma Földényi (HU, based in Rotterdam) and curator Evelien Bracke (BE, based in Antwerp). By mapping various fields such as science, economy, literature, politics and film among others, the project’s aim is to research and share new contexts where jewellery design could reset its worldly relevance.

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‘A is for Adjudant, P is for Paperweight’

an installation by Jewellery Perspectives, 2016, Paleis Soestdijk, Netherlands

‘A is for Adjudant, P is for Paperweight’

‘What if a desk is a landscape, a paperweight a jewel, a workspace an island. What scenario’s could be projected on the white scene in the Adjudant’s Room? And what are the symbols and occupations related to this work environment? Zooming in and zooming out, in and out of a Royal realm.’

Jewellery Perspectives was invited by Studio Makkink & Bey to work in one of the former offices of the dutch royal adjudant – the assistant of the queen or king – in the Palace Soestdijk, on the occasion of the exhibition ‘Bal’, which took place in the Palace. Inspired by the way how the worktables of the Royal Family and the Royal Adjudant are shown on photos, our installation re-visits the workroom of the adjudant.

As a link to the administrative work of the adjudant, the tables carry large paperstacks with paperweights. These paperweights are found object as well as objects designed by us, all referring to the work and the distinctions of the adjudant. As an additional layer to our research, Sandberg Institute graduate architect and writer Annee Grøtte Viken collected documents and wrote texts about a fictional character of an adjudant.

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