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GEMZ is a talent accelerator programme initiated by Current Obsession to support a new generation of young makers as they develop their voices. The main goal of the programme is to foster relationships between young creatives, cultural institutions and the industry. In April 2022 the open call for the second cycle of GEMZ is released.  

The name of the programme amalgamates the definitions of gem – referring to a gemstone and simultaneously an “outstanding person or thing” – and Generation Z. The successors of the millennials grew up with the limitless possibilities of the worldwide web, where place and time play no role. This generation, mastering a strong online social presence and identity, defies long-cherished traditional views. Hierarchy and authority don’t mean much to Generation Z, diversity, equity and inclusion all the more. Conventional views on gender and sexuality are questioned, ethnicity and family identity are thoroughly examined and (re)defined.  

But no polish without friction: While not everyone welcomes the new generation – which repeatedly encounters misunderstanding from older generations – with open arms: it is undeniable that Gen Z offers an interesting, multi-faceted lens in relation to the contemporary jewellery medium.  

Through the three main stages of the programme – Exploration, Development, Presentation – Current  Obsession provides the participants a variety of opportunities to strengthen both their creative and business  development. Finally, it concludes with an exhibition during OBSESSED! Jewellery Festival 2023.

Curious to apply? Find all the info you need below. Eager to join as a programme partner? Please get in touch via 

GEMZ is supported by the
Creative Industries Fund NL.  

Open Call GEMZ Cycle II:

Current Obsession is looking for a select group of young makers, curators and writers, whose way of working and thinking is  exemplary for the current and future state of the contemporary jewellery medium. We invite creatives from the field of jewellery and beyond, that through their work explore the meaning of adornment. Are you a recent graduate – BA or MA, graduated within the past 5 years – or self-taught, and founded your practice within this timeframe? Please feel free to send in your application.  

Before sending in your proposal, please make sure to read all the programme info below. 

Your application should include: 

1: An up-to-date resume including contact details and information about your education, work experience and an overview of exhibitions you have been a part of. File format: PDF of max. 1 MB, please name the file as GEMZ Resume *inset your own name*
2: An up-to-date portfolio (max. 10 pages) showcasing your work through imagery, possibly video and  written statements about the inspiration, concept, and creative process leading up to the works. File format: PDF of max. 10 MB, please name GEMZ Portfolio *inset your own name*
3: A cover letter (max. 750 words) including :
• A brief introduction.
Your motivation to join the programme.
The type of work you would like to develop as a part of the programme (mention both a conceptual or narrative focus as well as the use of techniques and materials you would like to focus on).
File format: PDF of max. 1 MB, please name GEMZ Cover Letter *inset your own name*

The submission deadline is 01-07-2022, 23.59 PM Central European Time (CET). Applications can only be submitted through email. Please send your application to: 

Applications that are incomplete or sent in after the deadline can unfortunately not be taken into consideration.

Selection procedure:

Submissions will be evaluated by a total of four commission members. Two members of Current Obsession – co-founder and creative director Marina Elenskaya and GEMZ programme manager Frank Verkade – will be joined by two external commission members, experts to be selected from the working field. 

The commission will select based on the following: 

  • The artistic and substantive quality that the applicant shows through their portfolio and motivation letter.  
  • The degree of innovation in technology, use of materials and methodology in relation to contemporary jewellery and related mediums such as fashion artifacts, wearables and digital arts, amongst others.  
  • The extent to which (the work of) the applicant reflects on current economical, social, cultural and / or environmental matters. 
  • The distinctive and exemplary nature of the applicants’ practice. 

From the submissions, a total of 30 will be selected to join phase 1 of the programme. Based on the outcome, a selection of 8 – 10 applicants will continue to the final stages of the programme. 


The programme will consists out of the following phases: 

Phase 1: Exploration
September – December 2002 

Through a series of four online Q&A’s with renowned practitioners from the working field, participants will be motivated to explore the fringes of the contemporary adornment practice as well as their position therein. Guided by the CO team, a project plan will be formulated by the participants to prepare them for the next phase of the programme. Based on the project plan a total of 10 applicants will move on to phases 2 and 3.

Phase 2: Development 
January – July 2023  

The applicants will develop a series of new works, based on their previously formulated project plan. The  works will be exhibited and published as a part of phase 3 of the programme. Current Obsession will support participants through a financial contribution as well as offering talent guidance throughout the process.

Phase 3: Presentation
September – December 2023 

The newly developed works will be exhibited during OBSESSED! Jewellery Festival 2023 as a part of a GEMZ group show. The works will be documented visually and framed textually for exhibition and publication  purposes. 


Participants need to take the following into consideration: 

  • Applicants must be able to produce work remotely, either in their own studio space or local workshops. 
  • Participation comes free of charge. However, Current Obsession does expect an investment in time. Therefore, individuals who are in full time employment or education, can not apply.

If you have any further questions, please get in touch via: