A trip to the Schmuckmuseum

Pforzheim is a town in the Baden-Württemberg state in Southern Germany. It has long been a capital of jewelry making and goldsmithing within the region, and used to have a large school for goldsmithing and watchmaking. These days the university at Pforzheim offers a broader curriculum, but still includes a degree in jewelry making.

Not far from the school campus, along the river Nagold, is the Schmuckmuseum. The Schmuckmuseum (Jewelry Museum) represents the history of jewelry and jewelry-making from the late bronze age to the 20th century. In addition, they regularly have special exhibits focusing on a specific era or style.

I was there in September of 2018 and the museum was relatively quiet, so I was able to see all the exhibits and I didn’t feel rushed at all. They allow photographs in all areas except for the current special exhibit. Somehow I missed getting a photo of the outside of the museum, which is a beautifully-designed modern building on park grounds near the center of the city at the conflux of the Enz and Nagold rivers.

Earrings, Hellenistic period, about 200 BC. Gold and garnets.

In its historical collection, each and every piece is a masterpiece of metalwork. The earrings above are from the Hellenistic period, about the 2nd century BC, and are made entirely of gold with garnets set on the wings. The detail is amazing. the perched bird is less than an inch high and yet there is delicate filigree on its wings around the garnet, and detail on the leaves which make up the bird’s perch.

Read on: Schmuckmuseum, part two