ADC Jewellery Exhibitions

Australian Design Centre (ADC) has a long history of exhibiting contemporary jewellery. Marion Hosking: Jewellery and Lola Greeno: Cultural Jewels are both part of the Living Treasures: Masters of Australian Craft series that have toured extensively across Australia as did Art on a String: Aboriginal Threaded Objects from the Central Desert and Arnhem Land. In 2017 we presented Bulay(i):Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Artists with Indigenous Jewellery Project featuring 40 Yolngu jewellers and our touring exhibition Obsessed: Compelled to make features the work of two prominent contemporary jewellers. In 2019 we presented Profile 2019: Contemporary Jewellery and Object Award a biennial award exhibition in partnership with the Jewellery and Metalsmiths Group of Australia, NSW. 

In other exhibitions, through our retail activities and through Sydney Craft Week, we have endeavoured to chart the development of a particularly Australian aesthetic in this art form to show the exceptional craft practice, innovative use of materials, sense of place and sources of inspiration for Australian artists.

Research Process

Initial research for Made/Worn built on the book Place and Adornment: A history of contemporary jewellery in Australia and New Zealand by Damian Skinner and Kevin Murray.

A curatorial team, led by ADC CEO and Artistic Director Lisa Cahill with ADC Creative Strategy Associate Penny Craswell and external advisors Melinda Young, Kevin Murray and Margaret Hancock Davis, worked through 2018, meeting on several occasions to clarify the exhibition concepts, creative rationale and selection of artists for the project. 

The development of this project was funded with the assistance of an Australia Council Contemporary Touring Initiative grant awarded in 2018. 


The themes and artworks in Made/Worn: Australian Contemporary Jewellery are explored through four essays, 'A Well-Worn Country' by Kevin Murray, 'Material Investigations' by Penny Craswell, 'Constructing Identity' by Margaret Hancock Davis and 'Everything and Nothing: Jewellery Beyond Adornment' by Melinda Young.

Essay: A Well-Worn Country

The Australian landscape has been an ongoing and vital influence on contemporary jewellery. Read more in this essay written by Kevin Murray for Made/Worn: Australian Contemporary Jewellery.

Essay: Material Investigations

The artists in the exhibition Made/Worn: Australian Contemporary Jewellery explore materials in a variety of different ways, writes Penny Craswell from Australian Design Centre.

Essay: Constructing Identity

Jewellery is powerfully connected to identity. Margaret Hancock Davis writes about how jewellery can affect the wearer and how contemporary jewellers express their own identities.

Essay: Everything and Nothing: Jewellery Beyond Adornment

Contemporary jewellery practice sits at the crossroads of craft, design, and art. Through the work in Made/Worn: Australian Contemporary Jewellery, Melinda Young readdresses the idea of wearability and the different values of adornment.