Learn about the ideas, materials and wide variety of practices shaping jewellery and body adornment, from antiquity to the present day.


Week 1
Considering both historical and contemporary works in the NGV Collection, learn about the social and cultural importance of jewellery and body adornment throughout the world, and discover how conservators care for, classify, handle and preserve jewellery as objects of art and design.
Week 2
Identity and Place
Jewellery and body adornment can be used as an expression of personal identity and can reflect culture, time and place. What are the ways that designers select and work with materials that connect objects and place, and the symbolic meaning such materials possess both now and in the past?
Week 3
Ritual, Ceremony and Status
Whether displayed as a demonstration of wealth and prestige, or worn in special ceremonial contexts, jewellery forms a unique visual language that is easily understood by people with common community ties. This week, consider the role jewellery and craftsmanship plays in societies and cultures around the world.
Week 4
Values and Sentiment
Explore the ways in which jewellery production reflects changing societal values and the politics of materials. Identifying links between historical and contemporary practices, learn how jewellery making techniques continue to evolve, mirroring emerging attitudes and ideas.

Course objectives

  • Describe the social, cultural and political importance of jewellery and body adornment in both historical and contemporary contexts.
  • Compare and contrast the various functions and roles that jewellery and body adornment have performed in different environments.
  • Identify and discuss the meaning of materials and the significance of the techniques used in the production of historic and contemporary pieces of jewellery and body adornment.
  • Examine and interpret the work of key national and international jewellery designers and makers.
  • Investigate the collection, care and display of objects of jewellery and body adornment in the context of museums, galleries and private collections.

Enrolment options

Standard Course Enrolment

Includes 8-week access to learning materials from the course start date.


  • General: $59
  • NGV Members: $53

Premium Course Enrolment

Includes 8-week access to the learning materials from the course start date and four virtual study sessions led by an NGV educator providing an opportunity to discuss the weekly content in a small-group setting.

Capacity is limited for this enrolment. Lunchtime study sessions are delivered online via Webex.


  • General: $159
  • NGV Members: $143

Course dates are yet to be announced. Please our interest to keep up to date about future courses.


Lola Greeno
Cape Barren Goose, 2004
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased with funds donated by Supporters and Patrons of Indigenous Art, 2004
© Courtesy of the artist