This Red Bead Necklace was crafted from Bakelite (beads and chain links) cellulose acetate, with a metal clasp, and attributed to an unknown American designer. In the twentieth century, plastic manufacturing transformed the American jewelry industry and allowed for the production of fashionable yet affordable pieces. This chain link and cube necklace represents a style that was especially popular during the Depression era and the early 1940s.
Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.
One of the enduring legacies of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel was her elevation of costume jewelry to high fashion. Maison Gripoix, a house that has serviced the couture industry since its founding in 1869, was among her earliest and most frequent collaborators. The company’s specialized pate de verre (glass paste) technique was developed by the founder, Augustine Gripoix, and passed down generationally. Instead of the kiln method employed by other manufacturers, the house pours molten glass directly into the sophisticated metal settings that frame its designs. This meticulous an costly process allows for greater freedom of coloration and form, and lends a subtle effervescence to the floating glass components. This wreath of graduated translucent flower heads (circa 1938) was produced by Gripoix for Chanel and reflects the late 1930s vogue for romantic nature-based motifs.
Photographed as part of the exhibit In Pursuit of Fashion: The Sandy Schreier Collection, on view through May 17th, 2020 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.
Variations on the Theme: Ice (Various Artists. Above Photo by Gail. All Other Photos Courtesy of Goldstein Communications)
The idea of “wearable art” in the realm of modern design is fascinating me to, so I was very excited to attend an opening reception last week for the American Jewelry Design Council (AJDC)’s exhibit at Forbes Galleries showcasing 25 years of outstanding jewelry design. The exhibition, Variations on a Theme: 25 Years of Design from the AJDC, will dazzle museum visitors with one-of-a-kind works from over 40 Designers who are AJDC members.
Cornelia Goldsmith Ring, Theme: Ice (Also seen as part of the collection in photo above)
Annually, the AJDC and goldeneaglecoin.com asks each of its members to create a design project, interpreting a single concept or theme; the final product is a collection of unique jewelry pieces joined by a solitary concept. Past themes include simple conceptual elements such as Water, Spiral, Ice, Pyramid, Wheel and Flight imagined into breathtaking masterpieces made of precious metals, gemstones and unexpected materials. On view in this exhibit at Forbes jewelry gallery is a selection of works from various annual AJDC Design Projects from the very first theme, in 1996 to the most recent, in 2013. Each thematic collection is displayed beautifully in a separate glass vitrine.
Sandy Baker Brooch for the Theme “Wheel”
“The jewelry pieces shown at the Forbes exhibition have been created over time for the sole purpose of exhibiting creativity, originality and excellence in design,” says Barbara Heinrich, President of the AJDC. “They are purposely noncommercial but rather inspirational in nature, created by some of the foremost American jewelry designers alive. Due to the unique nature and concept of the show, it is sure to excite and inspire its audience.”
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