of the Jury of
the 26th International Competition for the Design of Jewellery with Amber
issued on 21 February 2022 in Gdańsk

The Jury:

  • Monika Brugger, France
  • Anders Ljungberg, Sweden
  • Yutaka Minegishi, Japan
  • Katarzyna Rzehak, Poland
  • Theo Smeets, Netherlands

Theo Smeets, Netherlands was elected the Chairperson of the Jury

At an online session on 21 February 2022, the Jury assessed 202 entries submitted
in the Competition with the topic Amber as a Reward! by 160 artists from 32 countries: Iran, Poland, Latvia, Belgium, Germany, Russian Federation, Argentina, Finland, Lithuania, Japan, Italy, Hungary, Sweden, South Korea, Spain, Slovakia, Netherlands, Czech Republic, France, Great Britain, Mexico, Turkey, Portugal, China, Austria, Australia, Estonia, Canada, Ukraine, Taiwan, Romania, Israel.

Out of 202 applications, the jury, consisting of Monika Brugger, Katarzyna Rzehak, Anders Ljungberg, Yutaka Minegishi and Theo Smeets, has selected three pieces that relate not only to the subject of “Jewellery as a Reward” but also highlights conceptual aspects of amber as a material to think and talk through. Besides that, it was decided to hand out an honourable mention. The jury was completely unanimous regarding the four selected pieces as they spoke to a contemporary dialogue with the material biography of amber.

The Jury awarded the following prizes:

Grand Prize:

sponsored by the Mayor of the City of Gdańsk, PLN 10,000:
Emma Carrau Bueno, Italy / 141168 – Amber Drops Pattern Necklace
“Amber Drops Pattern Necklace” fascinated all of us at first sight. It shows how a piece of jewellery can change its face and character depending on how you hold it, wear on what occasion or under what kind of light. Two worlds intersect, fabric and jewellery, to form a piece that builds an unexpected fluidity drop by drop. By linking two opposing materials, one ancient, the other contemporary that can be ecologically challenged, the piece opens up contemporary questions about how we live out and perceive our environment. The drops form themselves around the thread like dew in the early summer morning. This creates a structure of ephemeral beauty in dialogue with the concept of time in amber. The method of mixing amber powder with resin also reminds us of what amber once was, namely resin. The object combines the mathematical rigor and repeatability of the modules with the emotionality and warmth of amber. The pleasure of wearing it, the pleasure of returning to the original values of the material is like a reward. There is a strong tactile quality coming through even the pictures of this work. You can easily imagine the emotional aspect of wearing a piece like this with drops dripping down on your chest. A highly sensuous jewel which rewards the body as well as the eye of the beholder.

Amber Prize:
1 kg of amber sponsored by the International Amber Association + an exhibition at the IAA Gallery
Alberto Dávila, Mexico / 202391 – Still Here
The ultimate delicate and sensitive way to use amber is shown by “Still Here.” It might concern some political issue but its poetic expression covers all. It is a most unexpected and happy marriage of two materials. Still, the visual simplicity of this piece really puts focus upon amber as a material. Resin, as a liquid becoming frozen in time to form amber makes us aware of time. This piece shows in a most poetic way, the short moment of when liquid appears on a net, just before it disappears. At first, we envision a bracelet like a fence, a barricade, forming an enclosure around the arm. Like an image, a metaphor of our contemporary world. Adorned by almost invisible pieces of amber, as a call to look closer, perhaps the beauty of the world will thus overcome the brutality and oppression of the fence mesh. There is a poetic use of amber here, a liquid, reminiscent of morning dew or tears. A very current yet timeless work!

Silver Prize:
Sponsored by the Gdańsk International Fair Co – 1 kg of silver
Tadeusz Jaśkowiak, Poland / 621013 – Medal
A very unique and punk piece. “MEDAL” makes us think what contemporary jewellery can mean today. It is rebellious, rough and cynical but also humorous and arrogant. An example par excellence of upgrading material by a creating a powerful image. This is a piece that highlights the methodology and iconography of jewellery. By using the sandpaper as a band for the medallion, the labour that went into the making of the piece is made visible and is connected to the concept of jewellery as reward. Worn, the medallion becomes perhaps a small moon in your pocket carrying with it the biography of amber. Obvious and yet complex. A piece full of contradiction, soft and rough, bright and dark. A contribution that binds us as much to manufacturing as it questions the portability of honours. An image that is in concurrence with the medals we saw at the Olympics, yet also honouring the blood, sweat and tears before an award can be won. A conceptual medal which is not a medal, more a discussion around the traditional formula of the prize. The use of amber in the highest value position perfectly corresponds to the title of the “Amber as a Reward” competition. The artist has been able to lift the single two materials to an powerful image that has nothing less or more than absolutely needed: a highly efficient work!

The Jury decided to award the following honorary mention:

Inna Monastyrna, Israel / 941910 – Amber City
“Amber City“ convinced the jury as it presents an intriguing combination of materials: a piece of rusty chain with a variety of stones and amber together on top. We rated this a good example of a contemporary cocktail ring which looks perfect in the show case but doubtless also on a finger.
An extremely aesthetic, fresh, and original object, that has this “afterburner effect“: you can’t get it off your mind!

The Jury selected 16 further works by the following artists for publication in the digital AMBERIF DESIGN AWARD 2022 CATALOG and for display at the photographic exhibition:
010283, Bogumiła Adamska, Andrzej Adamski, Poland
030697, Anna Monika Zaharenko, Latvia
030960, Alain Roggeman, Belgium
031270, Ewa Wiśniewska, Poland
050651, Julia Obermaier, Germany
156088, Petra Boehler, Germany
170472, Marcin Tymiński, Poland
170851, Ruudt Peters, Netherlands
264912, Adriana Lisowska, Poland
431803, Petra Boehler, Germany
628722, Edyta Estkowska, Poland
716020, Liliana Teodora Nicut, Romania
758642, Xihan Zhai, China
765253, Magdalena Maślerz, Poland
767676, Maja Woźniak – Purgal, Poland
123456C, Katarzyna Wasielewska, Poland

Due to the pandemic situation, the meeting of the Amberif Design Award 2022 Jury was held online. The content of the above verdict was confirmed via e-mail., by Theo Smeets, the Chairperson of the Jury on 22.02.2022 (16:15)

Publication in a digital catalogue:

Curator`s Statement
In spite all the difficulties around the pandemic times the Amberif Fair organisation very bravely carried on with their prestigious competition and invited jewellery designers to get inspired by amber again. 160 designers from 32 countries took their chance. The topic of the year 2022 – Amber as a Reward – addresses various layers: the makers who are rewarded by the fantastic characteristics of Amber when designing and making the piece; the wearers reward themselves by choosing amber as a symbol of warmth, softness and long tradition; the spectators will be fascinated when seeing the entity of piece and wearer. These were the criteria for the jury session. First, the international jury from various backgrounds and countries took a selection of their favourites. These candidates formed a pool which was discussed and filtered again. In this discussion, the jury members agreed to a shortlist of 16 outstanding designs which will be presented in the catalogue. The unanimous agreement about the three prizes was achieved soon and the happy winners will be celebrated during the Amberif Fair in March.
Barbara Schmidt 2022