Jewelry as Art

Christine Kuan
Jan 18, 2013 4:16AM

When I first moved to NYC, I used to work at an antiques gallery which sold jewelry predominantly from the Victorian Era. While the 19th century is generally considered to be the beginning of industrialization and modernism, it was also, in many ways, a time rife with old-fashioned sentimentality. Jewelry of this period often incorporated elaborate designs woven out of a loved one's hair, as in this brooch from the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. 

What's also surprising about Victorian jewelry is that it is extremely lightweight because the pieces are hollow (gold was VERY expensive!). The only way you would know that is by handling it -- just as experts in ancient Greek vases or Fabergé can tell whether something is real or fake just by picking it up. Which is why I think if you really want to know jewelry as an art form, you need to wear it. I'd start learning by wearing a piece by Taher Chemirik!

Christine Kuan
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Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019