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Review by Maja Houtman

Since 2002 we have had an International Jewelry Art Fair in the Netherlands called SIERAAD (which means ornament or jewel). It started as a side show to a modern art fair in Enschede, in the east of the country. In 2005 it moved to the RAI in Amsterdam and since 2008 it has been held in a beautiful location in the Gasholder on the
Westergasterrain, also in Amsterdam. The fair takes place each year in the first week in November from Thursday through Sunday. The strength of this fair is that the participants are all jewelry makers--there are no retailers.


Around 200 designers and goldsmiths show the wide range of their creativity, working traditionally with gold, silver and gems or conceptually, with new materials and techniques. About half of the participants come the Netherlands. The other half is largely from Germany and England, but designers also come from Israel, Japan, Switzerland, France, and Spain.


Compared to 2009, the participation of young, beginning designers has more than doubled. These designers have the opportunity to participate in SIERAAD with a so-called “chair”, a small eye-catching exhibition space that keeps their expenses within limits.


Every year SIERAAD invites two colleges to present their most talented students. In 2010 students came from the Fachhochschule in Idar Oberstein and Saimaan AMK, Saimaan University of Applied Sciences, Fine Arts, and Jewelry in Finland.

The number of visitors has increased every year and in 2010 was around 8000. SIERAAD visitors come from all over the country and jump at the chance to see something unique that is not for sale anywhere else. The fact that they meet the artists in person also plays an important role in their joy of buying.


Connected to the fair is a design contest, "New Traditional Jewelry" which, from now on, will be a biennial event. Each contest has specific theme. This year it was "TRUE COLOURS."


The distribution of the prizes takes place on the first day of the Fair. The nominated and winning pieces tour in an international exposition.  For more information, please see: .


As a gold and silversmith who is passionate about my trade, I look forward to this fair each year.  When I was an assayer at the Dutch assay office WaarborgHolland, I saw all the new designs when they came in for hallmarking. Now I have to try to keep up my knowledge in a different way. This fair is wonderful--so many very different goldsmiths and jewelry designers together!

An all time favorite is Cees Post. His style can be described as “graphic-constrictive” with a monumental ethos. He developed a way to solder, with mathematical precision, small strips of sterling silver on a silver surface, creating angular shapes which he combines into graphic, flat or three-dimensional compositions that he finishes with an 18 karat gold rim. When he is not satisfied with the result, he throws it into the melt and starts over again. He used to make rings and some small objects, but now his pieces are brooches.


He says that next year will be his tenth (and last) time at the fair.  I hope it isn’t.

Book : Een grafisch concept, Cees Post,

ISBN 978-90-70003-19-7



The porcelain jewelry created by Judith Bloedjes is unique. After opting out of a career in social studies that didn't make her happy, she  went to a master thrower who, in four years, taught her to make pottery.  She worked as ceramist with porcelain and then, in 2008, began courses in goldsmithing.  Judith wanted to combine her skills by using porcelain with silver. Her instructor told her that, because porcelain is an insulator, soldering silver around it would be practically impossible. Judith was stubborn, however, and proved that she could do it. She now makes highly wearable porcelain jewelry with an industrial appearance. Her journey into combining porcelain and silver led to a broad diversity of unique jewelry.

A book on her work was published last September. There is a small amount of text in four languages and lots of pictures.

Judith Bloedjes, porcelain: silvent moves.

ISBN 978-90-815951-1-7



Marian Sturkenboom creates fascinating silicon flowers. She studied gold and silversmithing at Schoonhoven, in the Netherlands. She later took monumental design, drawing, and painting at St. Joost in Breda. This resulted in ornaments made from colorful silicon rubber. Marian's combinations of traditional silver rings and chains with these light ornaments are a "feast to wear"--the combination of silicon rubber and photo-chromic dye gives the ornament both exuberance and a quiet atmosphere. Sometimes pearls are enclosed in the rubber and sometimes they shine through the material.  Though they appear delicate, her designs are very strong.


Jacomijn van der Donk was educated at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam. Her work was quickly acknowledged after graduation when it was bought by several museums in Europe. (That work is pictured on her website.)

Around 2002, she started a series of work with brushes with stripes of alternating colors of goat hair--some with black and white and some with gray or red. She also cut up painters' brushes and transformed them into playful chains. She later combined them with lacquered chains from birch wood.

In the last few years she has worked with pebbles that she collects herself. She searches until she has “a couple” before combining them into a ring. She cuts and polishes all of the stones herself. Who could have thought that such humble material would lead to these jewels?


A great surprise this year was the presentation of the work of Eelco Veenman. He was educated at the Design Academy, in Eindhoven, then at the Dutch Art Institute (AKI 2/Artez),also in Enschede.  He wanted to create his own designs so he went to Schoonhoven to learn goldsmithing.

In 2004 he started his own workshop making jewelry. Because he basically used one shape as a theme for his work, his pieces from that time are highly recognizable.  Since then he has made both wearable and non-wearable jewelry. Because of his broad education, he is able to work in different forms--both small and big. He enters jewelry competitions as as well as those for large landscape sculptures.

This year he created a carriage on which he showed only seven pieces. Only two chains were wearable--both monumental in size.



Peggy Bannenberg first went to Schoonhoven, but received her diploma at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie.


She made a small series of fine brooches. Often she blackened the silver and used gold leaf for accent.

Later she crushed quail eggshells and used them as inlay in chains and rings. Quite well-known is her island series--small circular brooches with or without colorful inlays.

Since 2006, she has been working with anodized aluminum making trefoil chains.


She continues to develop new work, combining all her skills, including enameling. Her latest project is jewelry made with rapid prototyping. She designs with a computer and, with this technique, bracelets and rings “come out of the computer” in nylon. They look almost indestructible and feel good.


Completely new to this fair was Fabienne Vuilleumier from Switzerland. She presented her work on a “chair” stand. She first studied to be a physiotherapist, but later attended and graduated from the Haute Ecole d'Art et de Design in Genève. She created fascinating jewelry using a thermoplastic material used by physiotherapists to make braces.  Using this material, she binds enormous rock crystals onto silver or gold rings, sometimes with a little colored stone peeping up from underneath. Bracelets with gems or pearls bound into the synthetic material look alien.  A silver chain with hundreds of little white pipes moving though the links looks massive but is very wearable and light. I hope she will return. 

Of course this is only a small sample of what was at the fair, at the website you can find all the participants and the links to their websites, when they have them.


I would like to recommend also Aletta Teunen,; Dorit Shubert,; Tamara Grüner,; Hartog & Henneman,; Ute Decker,;  John Aristizabal,; Simone Brewster,; Sabrina Meyns,; Isabell Schaupp,; Alexa Maria Klahr,; Dubbelop (jan Matthesius and Pauline Barendse,


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Review by Maja Houtman
Web design by Marbeth Schon
Photographs courtesy of
Cees Post, Judith Bloedjes, Marian Sturkenboom, Jacomijn van der Donk,
 Eelco Veenman,
Peggy Bannenberg, and Fabienne Vuilleumier

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