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J.F.:"My contribution in this context (Munich Jewelry Week - Venice Design Week) is a thought on the potential value of the self-expressive customization of jewellery (co-jewellery*) as a field of research. This is what I have been doing for almost twenty years, still, I can’t decide if I am a romantic relic or if I have a privileged view into a territory that still seems to be largely unexplored. I wanted to express this reflection in the form that is most congenial to me. I thought first to present a piece realized with a client, but I could not resist the challenge of creating something ex-novo: this is how Jocale took form".

Co-jewellery* links to the most ancient, universal and powerful trait of jewellery: the semantic load. A key factor to reverse the common course of meaning transfer: it is the owner to be affirmed by the jewel and not the jewel that gives the owner an identity/status (economical or intellectual).
Co-jewellery* is about the client, but not merely about executing wishes or being part of the production. J.F.:"The client relates to the aesthetic and sensibility my creations convey, choosing to connect and to trust me, or not“. It is about preciousness, but not merely about luxury. J.F.: "Often we re-use inherited jewellery or other materials provided. Once, a client and me made a bracelet out of a metal implant extracted after surgery, we created a memorial after a loss, we created an engagement ring with stones from the beach they met, we transmuted wedding rings after divorce (client melt it personally)... „.
Observing the jewellery in its natural habitat offers information about people’s usage of it, with self-narrative, psychological, even therapeutical repercussions. Food for thought to dig into jewellery’s core.


The creative process has multiple dimensions: it is a collaboration, a dialogical exchange with the jewellery piece being its final distillation. There is the client and the seller, while the boundaries between artist/audience, maker/owner are fading.
J.F.: "My creativity is both challenged and alimented by new input, I am working in a liminal space. Therefore I stick to words I trust: I am a goldsmith, I make jewellery. Is this a constraint to my expression or is it an enrichment preserving me for auto-referentiality?". Exploring the "otherness" is a necessary and illuminating process. It is as well an embrace of the "known" in terms of rethinking its prerogatives. Could achieving a bigger engagement with society draw from the precious and intimate relation jewellery has with it intrinsically? Josef Friedrich ́s Jocale is an invitation to consider if there is space for a more conscious and enriching usage of co-jewellery*, independently of its position in the contemporary jewellery discourse.

J.F.:"I wanted to find a kind of artistic "instrument" that could be comparable to my role and input in the creative process with the client. Still, in my intention, the result should have been defined mostly by the meaning the client chooses to convey: I opted for borrowing the antique visual-art technic of Anamorphose to conjunct those elements. The design of the necklace takes its shape from the message the owner wants to convey. Only the reflection on the cuff ́s mirroring surface reveals it. The essence of the object and its appearance are blended in a contortion that defines its aesthetic, concealing and revealing the personal, emotional value. I chose conventional forms (necklace, cuff), conventional materials (silver, gold) to intuitively relay and comprise the proper characteristics and traditions of jewellery.".


Critical text and interview with Josef Friedrich by Dr. Phil. Ester Sposato-Friedrich.


*That is the name we use to define self-expressive customized jewellery created by the collaboration, cooperation, dialog between the client/wearer (but also co-maker) and the goldsmith/student/designer/artist/maker.

Do you have a co-jewel especially important to you and/or with an interesting story you wish to share? We created an open space below to discuss, with the idea in mind to put together an online exhibition of co-jewellery*: share your opinion with us >.



The Jocale presented is finalist at the prestigious Venice Design Week 2022 and reveals an elephant´s head reflection: a reference to "Swans Reflecting Elephants" by Salvador Dalí, that inspired Josef Friedrich´s research into Art and Optic. 


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J.F.:"The name Jocale is a vulgar Latin term meaning "plaything"possibly related to the etymology of „Jewellery“: I wanted to emphasize the dimension of fun and enjoyment I associate both with wearing jewels and affirming our uniqueness, a key factor to embrace who we are.".

Photographer/Concept: Jan Frommel; Video/Concept: Anja Wechsler;
Model: Leonie Koberling, F-Models; Make-up & Hair: Iris Martin

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