Heaven & Hell. The State of the Jewellery Industry

Year: 2007-2015

Medium: Photography & Jewellery Installation.

Digital C-type print mount on Dibond with walnut frame, 1125 x 950mm

Wooden podium and Glass Box, 124 x 24 x 24mm

Diamond & 18ct white gold earrings. 10cm x 10cm x 0.5cm

EDITION: Of 1, in private collection.

Integrating Lebrusan’s profile as a visual artist and ethical jeweller, Heaven and Hell probes ethical questions within the jewellery industry. Against the backdrop of separate scenes from the Garden of Earthly Delights by Dutch artist, Hieronumus Bosch, the model wears two different pairs of gold earrings. Earring (right) is made with Fairtrade 18ct gold from Oro Verde Mining Cooperative in Colombia and the diamonds are sustainably sourced from the Diavik mine (Canada). Earring (left) is composed of diamonds and gold from unknown provenance which could have derived from unethical sources, from conflict to smuggling. The individual panels, Heaven and Hell, prelude to our world unfolding from its pristine origins of paradise to a man-made ‘hell’.

Heaven & Hell zooms in on the debate of ethics vs aesthetics as today’s aesthetics can no longer claim immunity from environmental and human right considerations. The process of gold mining that uses cyanide and mercury is the most dangerous form of mining which heavily impacts the ecosystem and extension of land. Diamond extraction in countries such as Angola, Sierra Leone, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), are linked to abuses of human rights that fuel conflict, leaving both the land and innocent civilians unprotected. How can we incorporate more sustainable practices into our culture and where do we begin as consumers? Heaven & Hell calls for a paradigm shift for consumer aesthetics surrounding care – care for the Earth and communities affected, as well as our engagement with the material world.