Jenny Berich discovers the hidden treasures from the world’s largest archipelago.
After six years in the Australian limelight for all the wrong reasons, Indonesia is now gallantly determined to win back the hearts and minds of Australians not only as a travel destination but as the source of a wide range of quality merchandise – including high-end jewellery.
With a population of over 250 million, Indonesia boasts a rich artistic and cultural heritage that, due mainly to poor economic conditions, has remained largely unrecognized by the rest of the world. But now, thanks to the country’s strong economic growth in recent years and equally strong business development programs particularly the “the creative economy”, some of the country’s most talented artists and craftsmen are being given the opportunity to make their mark on the world stage.
For example, Indonesian First Lady, Madame Hj Ani Bambang Yudhoyone, has headed Mutumanikam Nusantra, a non-profit organisation established in late 2006 to help develop the country’s jewellery industry locally and internationally.
The organisation was set up to help many of the country’s small jewellery operators who struggled to make a living from their trade despite their abundant talent – in particular those whose livelihoods were severely affected by the Bali bombing in 2002, the tsuanami in Aceh in 2004 and the earthquake in Jogjakarta in 2006.
Mutumanikam Nusantara currently provides help to 150 small businesses manufacturing a diverse range of quality jewellery featuring gold, silver and precious and semi-precious stones – as well as the famed Bali pearls and local stones, wood, and coral.
The organisation’s help for the jewellers includes design development and innovation, quality control, financial support, marketing, legal assistance, training, workshop establishment and displays at international exhibitions including BaselWorld, JCK Show in Vegas, and International Jewellery Tokyo.
Meanwhile other more established jewellery businesses in Indonesia are continuing to thrive independently. Designers such as Maha Blanco Jewelry, Narezvarie Jewellery, Reny Feby, Permata Bunda and Ansor’s Silver
are all making names for themselves at home and abroad with many of their pieces on display at the prestigious Alan Alan department store in Jakarta which showcases the best of Indonesia’s crafts and designs for well-heeled locals and international travellers.
Indeed it seems that the time has come for Indonesian jewellery to take its rightful place on the world stage.
For more information on Indonesian jewellery visit http://www.indonesianjewels.com or contact the Indonesian Trade Commission in Sydney on (02) 9252 8783.