In times of high technology, the expected Industry 4.0 and the gradual transformation of working positions, the meaning of traditional crafts successively lags behind. Only in this dynamic time does VSB-TUO come up with something extraordinary. The university believes in traditional crafts, thus linking the technical disciplines and merging them into an original idea. As a result, a handmade jewellery collection has come to life.
The idea of creating its own original jewellery in form of gifts for personalities was born in the university during the year 2018. The interesting concept of the university’s own design jewellery competed with commercially easily accessible and truly beautiful objects by respected jewellery and bijouterie companies that decorate a good many personalities.
The Faculty of Mining and Geology together with the Faculty of Materials Science and Technology, both of them the oldest faculties at VSB-TUO, have put together their strengths and knowledge accumulated in the last 170 years of mining engineering to create an interesting unit that resulted in the joint realization of the particular pieces of jewellery.
To make the idea come true, minerals were chosen which, thanks to their specific colourfulness, paired with the used metal created interesting combinations – we talk about amethyst, agate, jasper, porcellanite and sodalite. All of the minerals were carefully sliced up and polished into shapes and sizes defined beforehand. The technology of casting the particular pieces of jewellery was not easy. It was necessary to select metals or alloys which not only go together with the jewel itself but also pour easily. Every shape of a jewel is specific – the size differs, it needs various amounts of metal material to be produced. Thus, the choice of the material was fundamental since it was necessary to create and choose the right pouring technique. Eventually, silver and gold were chosen. Both metals make an indeed splendid fusion with the selected minerals. The final jewellery work was one of the most difficult steps in the process and consisted in an exact placing of the stone into the poured metal, fixing it against falling out or damage, cleaning it and generally finishing it up.
The graphic designs for the jewellery was entrusted to students of the technical high school Střední odborná škola umělecká a gymnázium in Ostrava which actively cooperates with the university. The students’ graphic designs resulted from the assignment of VSB-TUO. The designs were supposed to be connected with the university as such – its history and the present day. It was very interesting to see how devoted the students were to the project, to talk with them about what had led them to their designs and how they were thinking during the production process of the particular pieces of jewellery. At the same time, they were supposed to be able to create all the pieces on their own. The students’ designs resulted in 15 original final works. The university chose five of them which were then implemented into practice.
The interconnection between a high school and specialized departments of VSB-TUO, thus a narrow link between the students and the teachers during the joint process of creation, is one of the unique experiences of mutual cooperation, trust and enjoying the results of the work. All works in the process of jewellery production depend on the experience and skills of the older colleagues who pass the know-how directly to the students. To do so, they do not need the world of online media and supertechnology. The only thing they need is the authority of the older colleague as well as the fact that the colleague has the know-how and can do something. They are good at their profession and not afraid of creating things with their own hands. They can catch the students’ attention and pass the experience on to them. It is great that students are interested in such activities even in today’s globalized world where the human hand is gradually replaced by the virtual world, augmented reality or computer abstraction.