Happy Sunday, all!

So I mentioned in my last post that I’m in Pforzheim, which is a small town in Southern Germany,to do an internship. Well that is what I’m doing, for two weeks, in a type of precious metals company. I won’t go into the ins and outs of it because honestly interning is never really worth reporting on in fine detail (filed some papers, got coffee, stuttered my way through the day in German, etc). The town itself is quite…quiet. To give you an example of the type of town it is, I had to buy new earphones the other day because mine broke, and was told there was no electronic store in the town. The only place selling earphones was a children’s clothing shop, and the earphones are designed to look like foxes nestling in your ears. I have bought them, for the record – they were €5 and I really like foxes, despite me now looking insane. But that is a good indication of the kind of town I’m staying in.

Anyway, one delightful little find which I’ve really enjoyed was the ‘Schmuck Museum’ (Jewellery Museum) in the middle of town.

I’m a bit of a jewellery freak anyway. I work in a jewellery store at home in Dublin when I’m not at college, so I’m constantly surrounded by twinkly things that I could only dream of one day affording. Anyway, when my boss suggested she take me to the museum instead of spending the rest of the day filing invoices in the logistics department, I obviously jumped at the chance. The small but modern building turned out to be just round the corner from my hotel, and after the most nourishing lunch I’d had since arriving here (no more bread rolls stolen from breakfast, hurrah!), I was left to my own devices for an hour while she went to a meeting elsewhere in the building.

 

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Gold and tourmaline Baroque brooch, 19th century

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The first exhibition I went to was the change in jewellery through the ages. There were little bronze, gold and stone pieces from at long ago as the Bronze Age (3000-ish BC) – loop earrings, bangles, brooches, the lot. Then obviously the pieces got more and more recent, through the extravagant pieces dripping with diamond and precious stones of the 18th and 19th centuries, until we reached the modern collections starting in the 1980’s which were made with all sorts of materials including steel and enamel.

In my last post I complained about rooms full of countless similar little objects from times gone by, and I suppose to a degree this exhibition was literally that. But I just find it fascinating that for literally thousands of years, and in all areas of the world, jewellery has remained such an important part of fashion and of society. That classic Bond theme tune by Shirley Bassey, ‘Diamonds Are Forever’? It’s not far wrong.

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Irish Bronze Age bangle
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Detail of gold and leaf Japanese funeral wreath, c. 600 BC
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20th century tiara with gold, pearls and enamel
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Namibian warrior’s bead and cloth headpiece
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Leather and wood headpiece, Northern Thailand
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Decorative gold-plated platypus (one of my favourite pieces)
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19th century diamond and tourmaline brooch
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Acrylic and polyester bangle, 1998

This is obviously a tiny little selection of pictures from the hundreds of objects to see, but you can see the differences in style throughout the centuries. I love thinking about the people who would have worn each piece – what their role was in society and how they came to have the piece, who made it for them, etc, etc. My mind wanders a lot.

The second place which I stumbled upon yesterday on a post-study walkabout was a gorgeous little chocolatier, Hussel Confiserie.

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From the outside it’s could be any run-of-the-mill sweet or gift shop. But on noticing some sweets through the window in packets decorated with pictures of pigs, I wandered in to be greeted by a true wonderland of treats in all forms. It was one of those kinds of nightmares where every time I thought I’d chosen what I needed and delivered a little bundle of goods to the counter, I noticed something else – a pair of marzipan mice in clothes, a handcrafted chocolate rabbit speckled with edible glitter; you name it, I saw it and loved it.

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I had four butter truffles in different flavours, including champagne. Possibly wouldn’t go for that again – the alcohol was so powerful in it that it made me stop and wince in the street. Vanilla was by far the best. 

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Aside from the gorgeous goodies, the lady behind the counter was an absolute charm, and didn’t even mind that I had to act everything I wanted to say out because my brain was fried and couldn’t think of any German words.  Having said that, she was probably relieved when I finally shuffled off, laden down with truffles in all flavours and a wide range of farm-animal themed lollipops.

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Miffy lollipops? Yes please, I’ll take the box. 

I think everywhere I go I’m able to sniff out the shops stocking novelty treats, which I suppose it’s a bad quality in a person. Tomorrow after work I’m going to a specialist tea shop which was closed yesterday, but the walls are top to bottom filled with drawers of tea. I must pop in, even purely to smell the air in there. It’d be rude not to.

Anyway, I must pop off now. I’m very busy – I have Legally Blonde downloaded and a Japanese takeaway to order. Such is ‘working’ life.

Enjoy your Sunday, and ’til next time,

 

K. x

 

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