News from the Netherlands Crossing Borders

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Curated by Liesbeth den Besten and Alexandra van Strien-de Groot, News from the Netherlands: Crossing Borders showcased the work of two Dutch contemporary jewelers, Liesbet Bussche and Koen Jacobs, for New York City Jewelry Week 2019Bussche and Jacobs embrace an uninhibited approach to jewelry, and by referencing the wearing and use of jewelry, they succeed in stirring our imagination. Both artists share a good sense of ‘jewelry-ness,’ and their craftsmanship, inquiring minds, rich and wide choice of materials and techniques make us aware of jewelry in new ways. A marionette turns into an ornament for one’s personal space, a wooden jewelry box becomes an intimate monument for a dropped necklace.

Liesbet Bussche’s ongoing research into the presence of jewelry in our daily life has resulted in an iconic series of blueprint posters 11 Pieces of Jewelry Every Woman Should Own (according to the Gemological Institute of America), as well as Urban Jewellery projects in Amsterdam and Namur, and delicate jewelry boxes made of luxurious wood with inlaid mother-of-pearl necklaces. Her project Streets and Stones merges the street and minerals into a box filled with twelve beautiful but odd stones shaped after scientific models of minerals. 

Koen Jacobs’ touching marionettes recall childhood memories and are inspired by children’s drawings of animals. Skeleton structures are highlighted with colorful ornaments from pearls, resin, and amethyst to sand and shells. The marionettes are enlivened by playing with them. Jacobs has also created shoulder pieces, pendants, and brooches as ready-to-wear off-springs of his marionettes.

Sunday, November 17 at 4:00pm – Opening reception featuring a conversation with the artists.

Tuesday, November 19 at 9:00am and Thursday, November 21 at 10:00am – Gallery Talks with curators Liesbeth den Besten and Alexandra van Strien-de Groot.

News from the Netherlands: Crossing Borders is made possible with the support of Creative Industries Fund NL.

“My work is about jewellery. Through research I create my own view, balancing on the borders of the jewellery domain. My work is about the city.”

Liesbet Bussche

“My work is about reliving memories of my childhood. An escape to a child’s naive dreamworld, where they playfully discover the world around them and the beauty of nature.”

Koen Jacobs


  • Liesbet Bussche

    Liesbet Bussche has lived and worked in Amsterdam since 2007. After studying cinematography and working as a TV reporter, she changed course, studying jewelry at Sint Lucas Antwerp and the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. Her practice is based on the interplay between jewelry, the city, and the intimate and public nature of adornment. Her Gerrit Rietveld Academy graduation work was a guerilla intervention in the city of Amsterdam, including "Urban Jewellery" objects and posters. She has been a lecturer at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy Jewelry Department since 2016 and is a researcher at Sint Lucas School of Arts Antwerp Jewelry Department. She exhibits her work regularly and is an invited speaker at conferences. Her artistic work includes self-initiated and commissioned installations, objects, and printed matter. She also writes articles about jewelry as a social-cultural phenomenon.

  • Koen Jacobs

    Koen Jacobs started his studies at the Vocational School for Gold and Silversmiths, Jewelers and Watchmakers in Schoonhoven, Netherlands, where he took the four-year course in gold and silversmithing. Subsequently, he spent a year studying at Alchimia School of Contemporary Jewelry in Florence, Italy, and further at the Rietveld Academy Jewelry Department and the Jewelry Class at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. He graduated from the Rietveld Academy in 2017. He has also worked as the assistant of Ruudt Peters since 2014. Jacobs' "Artificial Kingdom" marionettes were nominated and awarded in competitions in 2017, 2018, and 2019. His work has been exhibited in different international jewelry exhibitions in The Netherlands, Italy, and Finland, and was part of Preziosa Young 2019 in Florence, Munich, and Paris.

  • Liesbeth den Besten

    Liesbeth den Besten is an independent art historian working internationally as a writer, curator, advisor, teacher, and lecturer in the field of crafts and design, with an emphasis on contemporary jewelry. She has curated exhibitions in The Netherlands and abroad. From 1992–2016 she worked for the Françoise van den Bosch Foundation, and served as the chair beginning in 2000. From 2013–2019 she was a member of the AJF Board and Publication Committee. She has taught jewelry history at Sint Lucas Academy of Art in Antwerp, Belgium since 2016. She is a member of the Asenbaum Research Project for the Dallas Museum of Art, together with Beatriz Chadour (London), and Damian Skinner (New Zealand). den Besten is one of the initiators of SSC, which aims to create a secure and sustainable place for private jewelry collections in the Netherlands. Along with Gijs Bakker, Ted Noten, and Ruudt Peters, she is the initiator of the two-years temporary MA Challenging Jewellery at the Sandberg Instituut in Amsterdam, which started in September 2018. She is the author of On Jewellery, a compendium of international contemporary art jewellery (Arnoldsche 2011).

  • Alexandra van Strien-de Groot

    Alexandra van Strien-de Groot began her studies in the jewelry department of Gerrit Rietveld Academy, where she discovered her passion for the organization of events and exhibitions. In 2014, she graduated from the Erasmus University with a thesis on the Dutch contemporary jewelry market. After her graduation, she worked as a project manager for the Stichting Sieradencollecties, a foundation that aims to preserve private jewelry collections. She is now the project manager of the MuseumDepotShop, which sells deaccessioned pieces from Dutch museums, and also works as a freelance online marketing specialist and organizer of cultural events.