Theme: Future Thinking

Husband-and-wife team Geraldine Fenn and Eric Loubser have long created their own fine-art jewellery. In 2006, on a mission to champion the niche field, they founded Tinsel Gallery, a platform for other local artists to exhibit and sell their work.

“Our field of contemporary jewellery is very small in this country, and the only way to change this is to support each other, and ensure our work is seen and appreciated.”

For Fenn, the joy of creating contemporary jewellery comes from “getting to play with” a huge variety of objects, from precious metals to gemstones, pearls, beads, vintage items and even bone, wood and plastics. “The only limit is your imagination and willingness to experiment with different materials.”

Fenn and Loubser are committed to passing on the many technical skills of jewellery-making, and have both taught at various institutions. “For us it’s about more than transferring skills, it’s about nurturing a passion and enthusiasm for contemporary jewellery in the next generation.”

As part of this mission, the duo also started a museum of pieces they, and Loubser’s mother, fellow jeweller Liz Loubser, have collected over the years. “It comprises mainly contemporary work dating from the 1980s to the present, but it also contains vintage pieces, incredible beaded and bone pieces from various ethnic groups in Africa, and amazing brooches made by prisoners in the camps during the Boer War.”

While the museum is small, Fenn finds it very inspiring. “It’s a lovely reminder of how connected humans are across time and space,” she says. “The urge to make beautiful things to adorn our bodies with and imbue them with sentiment, is truly universal.”

100 Beautiful Things is presented by the V&A Waterfront in celebration of South Africa’s creativity, compassion, ingenuity and resilience. Every week we will be showcasing five amazingly beautiful creative things that make us proud. It is curated in partnership with Platform Creative.