17th July – 28th Sept 2008

Antique meets Contemporary

Memento Mori
‘Bury Your X’ brooch by Claudia Stebler - ceramic, pearls,
with ‘Forget Me Not’ brooch - enamel, onyx, pearls C1850

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About Us


A remarkable exhibition of contemporary and antique jewellery exploring the timeless themes of power and politics, life and death, laughter and love.

Memento Mori
‘Not lost but gone before’ – our response to death and loss has long been expressed through jewellery, from the shapes and colours, to the motifs and materials. Traditionally worn to symbolise our own mortality, the mourning of a loved one or to record the passing of time, examples of Memento Mori jewellery include Georgian skull rings and sparkling Forget-Me-Not lockets and brooches. Taking their cues from such tradition, contemporary jewellers Constanze Schreiber and Claudia Stebler have created quirky representations not only of loss through death, but also through the ending of a relationship, divorce or leaving behind a place or a person - with the associated feelings of sadness, rage, relief – even joy! Using symbols such as skulls and skeletons, cross bones and coffins, they communicate this range of emotions through pieces such as Stebler’s ‘Bury Your X’ brooch and Schreiber’s ‘dead head’ brooch, delicate ‘in memoriam’ pendant and a chain of pearls to symbolize tears - black ones which are hollow and light, white ones which, on closer inspection, turn out to be tiny little skulls. A lock of hair has always symbolized romantic remembrance of a loved one, but it was the Victorians who made its use into a highly fashionable art form, either encasing hair in bejewelled rings and lockets or weaving or plaiting it into whole pieces such as earrings, pendants and crosses. Contemporary jeweller Melanie Bilenker uses up to 2,000 of her own hairs to create each one of the deceptively simple scenes depicted in her pendants – from reading a book to taking a bath – the minutiae of daily life is captured and treasured.

Now & Then runs from 17th July to 28th September 2008. Salts Mill is open weekdays from 10am – 5.30pm and weekends 10am – 6pm. For further information call 01274 599790.

Artists taking part in Memento Mori are: Melanie Bilenker; Constanze Schreiber; Claudia Stebler.
Memento Mori Antique pieces
Other themes: Sentiment & Sex; Power & Politics; The Lighter Side.