Symposium Jewellery Matters – Context and Material Research

On 15, 16 and 17 November 2017 the Rijksmuseum organised the international symposium Jewellery Matters. Context and Material Research. This symposium is organized on the occasion of the publication Jewellery Matters (Rijksmuseum/Nai010 publishers – Summer 2017). In this richly illustrated book, art historian and design expert Marjan Unger offers a theoretical and multidisciplinary framework for the study of jewellery. The symposium addresses some important topics presented in the book. One of these topics, Jewellery and Fashion, will be the highlight during the evening program on November 15th.

About the book

Its history is long: jewellery is worn worldwide and has an endless variety of forms and meanings. But the fundamental question of why people wear it is rarely addressed. By giving an answer to the question ‘why jewellery matters’, Marjan Unger develops a set of standards that can serve as a model for the study of jewellery with new impetus and appreciation.

About the symposium

beeld Pendant in the form of a cock, Germany, c. 1600 Speakers from different fields within the jewellery world will be invited to present on two main topics. In general, the first day of the symposium will focus on jewellery in context. We will look at jewellery from the perspective of the visual arts, from a sociological point of view and discuss the way in which appreciation of heritage is translated in today’s jewellery business.
The second day will address the use and study of materials. How does material research aid in the identification, dating and provenancing of pieces of (historical) jewellery? How do we deal with material coming from endangered species? How are cutting-edge developments in materials and techniques incorporated into student training programs in various institutions?

The symposium will be held in English.


Download program (pdf)

Other events

If you like jewellery then November promises to be the month to spend in the Netherlands! Beside the symposium in the Rijksmuseum, a number of jewellery related exhibitions and events will open in the week preceding and following the symposium. More information

Plan your stay

Amsterdam is very busy during the month of November, so we recommend you book your hotel soon! We encourage you to book your hotel via this booking website to guarantee the best rates.


Registration closed on 10 November.

The registration fee includes a conference programme book, refreshments and lunch, an evening event on 15 November (to be booked separately) and a complementary 2-day entrance 16-17 November to the Rijksmuseum.

Evening event 15 November

As a symposium delegate we invite you to join us for the evening programme (19.30-22:00) on 15 November, but you have to register for it (only valid in combination with a symposium ticket).

Special guest: Victoire de Castellane (Creative Director of Dior Joaillerie, Paris).

Cancellation policy

Requests received in, on or before 30 September 2017 are eligible for a 30% refund. Refunds will not be honoured after 30 September 2017.

Thanks to our benefactors

The symposium is made possible with the generous support of The Tiffany & Co. Foundation through a grant to the King Baudouin Foundation United States, as well as an anonymous bequest.



15, 16 and 17 November 2017

  • 15 November – 19:30-22:00
  • 16 November – 9:00-17:45
  • 17 November – 9:00-17:00


Auditorium, Rijksmuseum


Regular Ticket

€ 250

Student Ticket

€ 140
Please send us proof of your student ID before purchasing your ticket (