Transformational jewellery: practice-based research on the relationship between transformation and emotional attachment

Kim, Min Sun (2015) Transformational jewellery: practice-based research on the relationship between transformation and emotional attachment. Doctoral thesis, London Metropolitan University.


The chief aims of this practice-based research are to investigate the nature of attachment between person and object in respect to transformation; to find ways in which objects (jewellery) can be transformed to engender a wearer’s emotional attachment; and to demonstrate the different ways of applying such transformations that are pertinent to jewellery. This research has developed a certain type of transformation, which slowly makes traces on the surface of jewellery over time, and is used as an effective way to engender a wearer’s emotional response.

The research is situated in the field of contemporary jewellery, and is specifically related to emotion and sentiment; a category of jewellery that relates to the wearer’s emotional feeling. The scope of the study extends to research on emotional design since this research focuses on user experiences in developing emotional relationships with the object and on how the designer/maker can promote the formation of such an attachment to the object. Two practical experiments have been conducted in this research to determine and construct appropriate and effective characteristics of transformation that engender an emotional relationship between the jewellery and its wearer, through the examination of the transformational character of emotional objects and the interactions that people have with transformational jewellery. These two experiments involve the process of making in order to provide a way of thinking through the hand manipulating a material. The use of this material thinking, develops a more broader understanding of the relationship between the transformational object and emotional attachment.

Towards the end of the research, a definition of transformational jewellery is constructed that identifies its four important elements. It also provides two sets of practice work that demonstrate the findings and that facilitate the communication of the author’s tacit knowledge gained from the experiential knowledge.

This research expands the field of contemporary jewellery by involving studies of emotional design and applying the element of transformation to create an emotional relationship between jewellery and its wearer. This specific transformation, which has been identified in both text and practical works, constitute the main contribution to knowledge in the field of contemporary jewellery.

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