When I was invited by the psychosomatic ward of the "Wilhelminen" hospital in Vienna to realize a jewellry project, I started to reflect more profoundly on one of the most important functions of jewelry: its social meaning. Unlike any other medium, jewelry allows people to exchange pieces of evidence of their affection. This also becomes obvious in the long tradition of friendship or love jewelry. Many of you might remember your own adolescence, when you exchanged friendship rings such as a separated heart, simply in order to assure each other of your mutual friendship.
The importance of friendships particularly for young people who - due to their disorders and hospital stay are unable to have direct contact with people outside for a longer period of time - resulted in the concept of the jewelry project X-change: creating a symbolic level for these friendships through the medium of jewelry. In my opinion, the project succeeded with the help of the in-house teachers at the hospital and the children and adolescents concerned because they could realize ideas as well as experience the personal gain when they creatively confronted themselves with others – family members, friends from outside or members of their group in hospital, who were then generously given pieces of jewelry.