Soul of substance

Dominique Labordery

Words cannot quite capture the sense and meaning of the work of contemporary jewellery artist Dominique Labordery. Even images struggle to translate the deep intensity and powerful simplicity of a piece that passes through her hands.

Labordery’s work is about framing the beauty of material. It is the material itself that articulates a shape or boundary, which she intuitively frames into an object. I deliberately choose the word ‘object’, because the word ‘jewellery’ might reduce her creations to an accessory. With the ability to stand alone, as well as in dialogue with their wearer, Labordery’s objects strike a fine line between sculpture and jewellery.

In her studio in Düsseldorf, where she moved to a few years after graduating from St Lucas University College of Art and Design Antwerp, Labordery carefully considers her materials. Gems are chosen for their colour nuances and subtle beauty or imperfections. Precious stones and minerals, mostly agate, sometimes hematite, azurite or morganite, are then combined with supports of silver, bronze or Corian.

Guided by the materials, her geometric shapes work to isolate the beauty of nature’s whimsically-formed crystals. The isolation is a gesture of focus, concentration and patience – for her as a maker, as well as for the beholder. In a very humble manipulation, Labordery elevates the treasures of nature that have been growing over centuries into self-contained, wearable sculptures.