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GEM: Contemporary Jewellery and Gemstones from Afghanistan in Edinburgh

GEM: Contemporary Jewellery and Gemstones from Afghanistan in Edinburgh

7 September 2014
by Marion Lean

We are pleased to announce that our GEM: Contemporary Jewellery and Gemstones from Afghanistan will be opening at Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh from 3 October – 8 November 2014. Dovecot Studios is a one hundred year old tapestry studio, now homed in a beautifully renovated Victorian swimming pool in the heart of Edinburgh. As well as housing the tapestry studio, their gallery space hosts exhibitions on contemporary craft, design and fine art.

GEM is an exhibition of jewellery, gem-cutting and contemporary practices from Afghanistan originally produced as part of the British Council’s South Asia season in autumn 2013 curated by Melanie Eddy and designed by William Shannon.  The exhibition is a collaboration with Turquoise Mountain, a Kabul based organisation which promotes Afghan craft and design to the wider world, and includes specially commissioned jewellery created by artisans from Turquoise Mountain.  

These are shown alongside pieces of contemporary jewellery by UK designers including Melanie Eddy, Vicki Sarge and Pippa Small. These makers, all of whom visited and worked at Turquoise Mountain, were inspired by Afghan design, processes and gemstone usage to develop new pieces. GEM explores the process and traditions behind gem-cutting in Afghanistan and examines how these techniques are applied to contemporary jewellery. The British Council and Turquoise Mountain have collaborated for several years. GEM illustrates this continuing work with local and international artisans to promote cultural activity in Afghanistan and to revive and develop the country’s traditional arts. The exhibition brings to life the personal stories of the jewellery makers and gem cutters, exploring how arts and culture can contribute to the rebuilding of a post conflict country. Finally, it highlights how UK – Afghan collaboration has helped inform UK jewellery thinking and contemporary design.

The visit to Dovecot Studios is a fitting progression for the exhibition and reflects Dovecot’s ethos of contemporary craft paired with tradition and internationalism.

Dovecot Studios, 10 Infirmary Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1HL 

10 Infirmary St, Edinburgh EH1 1LT10 Infirmary St, Edinburgh EH1 1LT