Jacqueline Rabun reflects on her modernist jewellery design as part of NYC Jewelry Week

Jacquline Rabun’s exhibition, ‘Meditations on Modernism: Thirty Years of Jewelry Design by Jacqueline Rabun (1990-2022)’ considers her work alongside Nordic jewellery designers

jewellery pieces and portrait of Jacqueline Rabun
Jacqueline Rabun, right, and her sculptural ring, left
(Image credit: Jacqueline Rabun at Mahnaz Collection)

Jacqueline Rabun’s exhibition on modernist jewellery design, part of NYC Jewelry Week, is currently on show at New York’s Mahnaz Collection gallery, with ‘Meditations on Modernism: Thirty Years of Jewelry Design by Jacqueline Rabun (1990-2022)’ considering the impact of the cultural movement.  

‘It is important for me to exhibit my work in America after living in London for the past 32 years,’ Rabun says. ‘I wanted to bring it home. I also feel it is important to inspire and educate the next generation of jewellery designers through this exhibition.’

jewellery pieces

A sterling silver Lamellae cuff, by Zaha Hadid for Georg Jensen, 2016

(Image credit: Mahnaz Collection)

The retrospective of Rabun’s career so far is accompanied by Nordic modernist jewellery works, which encompass a brutalist simplicity often reflected in Rabun’s own pieces, displayed both in her early and current work for Georg Jensen and in her minimalist new designs featuring hand-carved gemstones.

‘The exhibition is a journey that begins with my early work, “Raw Elegance”, a series of hand-sculpted pieces cast in sterling silver and the journey to a more refined expression in my current designs,’ Rabun adds. ‘We will also showcase works from my long-term collaboration with Georg Jensen and my limited-edition pieces for Carpenters Workshop Gallery. My interpretation is through a more minimalist approach to design, extracting what is not necessary and leaving what is important for the wearer to experience.’

jewellery pieces

A cabochon sapphire, ruby, diamond and 18 karat gold bangle, by Hans Hansen, c. 1965

(Image credit: Mahnaz Collection)

ring

Piece by Jacqueline Rabun

(Image credit: Jacqueline Rabun at Mahnaz Collection)

Nearly 120 pieces of jewellery will be on display in a criss-cross of cultural references, demonstrating a shared commitment to sensual and sculptural forms. ‘In certain ways, Jacqueline follows in a line of pathbreaking female Nordic modernist jewellers who took geometric circles and encased them in eye shapes, as Nanna Ditzel did, or softened sharp angles using strong curved lines of gold, as in the case of Torun,’ says Mahnaz Ispahani Bartos of the Mahnaz Collection gallery. ‘While Jacqueline’s work begins later, her time with the extraordinary firm of Jensen and the broader Nordic region’s history of modernism, ranging from brutalism to minimalism to high naturalism clearly left its mark. Her jewels are multisensory – you can see them, touch them, stroke them, search for their hidden secrets, take to heart, and most importantly wear them on your body. These are hallmarks of her work. There is so much here from which the current generation of jewellers can learn.’

For Rabun, the exhibition is a tangible documentation of her career so far. ‘I am proud of the entire journey and how I have evolved and found my voice through my work,’ she says. I have learned that I have acquired the art of patience and perseverance.’ 

‘Meditations on Modernism’ will be on view November 14 – 18, as part of New York Jewelry Week

mahnazcollection.com

jewellery pieces

An early, smoky quartz, rock crystal and sterling silver collar, by Theresia Hvorslev, 1960

(Image credit: Mahnaz Collection)

Hannah Silver joined Wallpaper* in 2019 to work on watches and jewellery. Now, as well as her role as watches and jewellery editor, she writes widely across all areas including on art, architecture, fashion and design. As well as offbeat design trends and in-depth profiles, Hannah is interested in the quirks of what makes for a digital success story.