GEMGEM  Dovecot Studios, Edinburgh

3 October–8 November

GEM, the result of a collaboration between the British Council and Turquoise Mountain, an Afghanistan-based organisation established in 2006 which aims to revive and promote Afghan craft and design worldwide, illustrates the role of creative industries in improving livelihood and the extent of UK-Afghan collaboration. The 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.

On show was specially commissioned jewellery created by Turquoise Mountain artisans alongside pieces of contemporary jewellery design by UK designers including Pippa Small, Hattie Rickards, Vicki Sarge and Melanie Eddy. Curated by Melanie Eddy and designed by Will Shannon, Gem explored the process and traditions behind gem-cutting in Afghanistan and examine how these techniques are applied to contemporary jewellery.



About Melanie Eddy Melanie is involved in jewellery design and manufacture through facilitating creative and professional development – projects undertaken include research, writing, editorial work, teaching and exhibition installation and curation. She has undertaken contracts with institutions and corporations as varied as Swarovski, Transitions Optical, the Victoria & Albert Museum, Thames & Hudson, Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design, The Crafts Council and The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths’. Trained in Bermuda, Canada, New York and London; she holds an MA Design: Jewellery from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. She is a Director of The Association for Contemporary Jewellery, a licentiate of The Society of Designer Craftsman and is involved in The Society of Jewellery Historians.

In the autumn of 2010, through the British Council, she undertook a two-month applied arts creative residency at Turquoise Mountain’s Institute for Afghan Arts and Architecture in Kabul, Afghanistan. She has continued work in Afghanistan maintaining a relationship with Turquoise Mountain by consulting on a voluntary basis and recently worked with Afghan NGO and UK charity, Future Brilliance, on a project taking jewellers and gem-cutters from Afghanistan to Jaipur, India for skills enhancement and apprenticeship style training. She was delighted to be asked to curate GEM for the British Council and to be involved in bringing contemporary jewellery and gemstones from Afghanistan to the UK.
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