Into the arts

Radical Jewelry Makeover

February 15, 2024 

Through our new Into the Arts series, we aim to complicate and expand what we understand arts and humanities to be. Over the coming months, we will confer with those who make and study these concepts across campus, bringing you stories and recommendations that hopefully stretch our minds and bring us a little closer together. 

Perusing online Valentine’s Day gift guides, diamonds and sterling silver adornments dot the page. A heart-shaped pendant here, a shiny ring there. But as we investigate the materials and labor going into these would-be tokens of affection, it turns out, not all that glitters is gold. 

Research is clear: industries around mining and processing metals and gemstones carry with them significant humanitarian and environmental tolls. An exhibition and long-term project at the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design is aimed at better understanding and highlighting alternatives to just this.  

From July to September 2023, the Eskenazi School worked with the artist-run nonprofit Ethical Metalsmiths and other universities to stage Radical Jewelry Makeover: Midwest, which solicited and accepted donations of jewelry from community members. IU artists then joined those from six other Midwestern institutions to sort donations and create new pieces of jewelry and other sculptural objects that honor their origins and the environment. 

The exhibition, now up in the Grunwald Gallery, opened with a symposium that featured presentations from experts across the metalsmithing and jewelry design community. 

Event Details  

Exhibition: January 19 - March 2, 2024 

Grunwald Gallery hours: Tuesday–Saturday, 12–4pm. Closed Sunday and Monday.  

Image right: Necklace made from reclaimed materials by Aric Verrastro (M.F.A. '15)