As a maker, a wearer, and a viewer of contemporary jewelry, Melinda Young is interested in jewelry beyond its life as adornment. This interest extends to the processes that engender that object, the actions that describe making, and the notion that to “wear” or be adorned with jewelry does not necessarily mean that it is in a traditionally recognizable form.
Within contemporary jewelry practice, the materiality and value of jewelry is questioned; sites of adornment and the process of making are interrogated. The scale and scope of adornment comes into play, as does a (re)consideration of what we consider the jewel or precious object to be. In this essay, Young hopes that, by unpacking (undressing?) the works of contemporary Australian makers Helena Bogucki, Emma Fielden, Catherine Truman, Claire McArdle, and Tiffany Parbs, presented in the Australian Design Centre’s national touring exhibition, Made/Worn: Australian Contemporary Jewellery, an understanding of the significance of the works can be reached. Via these works, ideas of wearability and the different values of adornment can be re-addressed. This essay argues that the least “wearable” works in the Made/Worn exhibition are amongst those where the body itself is most noticeably (and viscerally) present.