Courtney Durka’s collection, Hidden Value, is an exploration of value and what is determined as valuable and what is not. The starting point for her collection, was determining how value is shown and viewed within the field of jewellery. When researching what was seen as valuable within jewellery, the financial value of the pieces was consistently brought up, either through the questioning of her peers or her research of academic texts such as Jewellery Matters by M. Unger and S. Van Leeuwen. The financial value of jewellery held more importance than the actual design of the piece. This was particularly obvious in her exploration of the fine jewellery and attitudes towards it.
Through her collection, she wanted to show how value influences the perception of jewellery, in particular fine jewellery which is heavily valued for its use of precious materials. Using this as a starting point, she settled on the idea of using actual currency to show that the financial value of the materials used within fine jewellery is so heavily emphasised. Coins became the obvious option having been used in art and jewellery for millennia, with even the Royal Mint creating jewellery from out of mint coins, yet they are disregarded and unwanted by so many. She decided to take these coins and give them a higher value, raising them into something that is far more desirable.
She has used 2 Pence bronze coins, an often overlooked and unwanted coin. The bronze coins were minted from 1971-1992, until the Royal Mint saw that the coins, with their determined value of 2 Pence, were actually worth more in bronze metal weight, and so replaced them with the copper plated steel coins we see today. With her collection, she wanted to give value back to the undervalued 2 Pence coin through the use of silver solder, gemstones and gold jump rings, whilst making the coin the main feature of the jewellery pieces. The irony of the piece being that the main financial value of the jewellery, is hidden in the joins and connections.