Published: June 20, 2006
The full range of American and European jewelry from The Newark Museum’s extensive decorative arts collection is being brought together for the first time in the new exhibition titled “Objects of Desire: 500 Years of Jewelry.”
This never-before-seen survey of the jeweler’s art currently on view features more than 200 objects, encompassing a wide variety of styles and materials used from the Fifteenth Century to the present day. Visitors can view these masterpieces through February 18.
The exhibition explores the myriad meanings of jewelry and the ways in which people wear it to express themselves – affection, honor, faith, mourning, affiliation, as well as status can be conveyed.
The meanings are examined through a dozen thematic sections: Faith and Fashion; Watches – the Value of Time; Commemoration and Remembrance; Cameos, a Window to Antiquity; Mourning; Souvenirs; Hair and Head; Accessories; Bracelets; Necklaces; Men’s Jewelry; Jewelry as Fashion; and Jewelry as Art.
Highlights from “Objects of Desire” include Seventeenth Century silver crosses belonging to the imperial family of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia; a one-of-a-kind minaudiere created for heiress Doris Duke by New York jeweler Fulco di Verdura; a striking silver and labradorite necklace made by Georg Jensen.
Other standouts include an amethyst pendant made in 1890 byCharlotte Newman, who was the first woman master jeweler inEngland’s traditionally all-male jewelry industry, and anextraordinary brooch of enormous Australian black opals designed byLouis Comfort Tiffany for Tiffany & Co in the 1910s.
A number of the pieces of jewelry in this exhibition were made in Newark, where 90 percent of American gold jewelry was produced for more than a century. From the 1860s to the 1950s, Newark produced fine jewelry for all of the luxury retailers in America, including Tiffany and Cartier.
In conjunction with “Objects of Desire,” there will be a daylong symposium on July 10, from 10:30 am until 4 pm, about America’s passion for jewelry and the jewelers who make it.
In addition to Ulysses Grant Dietz, the museum’s curator of decorative arts, the guest speakers are Janet Zapata, a jewelry historian and independent curator; Yvonne Markowitz, curator of Egyptian art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and Jeannine Falino, independent curator, former curator of decorative arts, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Co-sponsored by the Society of Jewelry Historians, the sessions are priced at $45 for the entire day ($35 for members) or $25 for a morning or afternoon sessions.
For information, 973-596-6550 or www.newarkmuseum.org.
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