Hello friends, I hope your week is off to a rousing start! Today, I’d like to share with you a recap of my first ever jewelry conference. A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon the website of the Association for the Study of Jewelry and the Related Arts or ASJRA. According to its website, it is an organization devoted, (as its name implies), to the “advancement of jewelry studies as well as the dissemination of knowledge to anyone interested in the history of jewelry”. I was intrigued by such a group and signed up to join right away. Then to my great delight, I learned that the group’s annual conference was on Women and Early 20th Century Art Jewelry, which in turn is the subject of Maker and Muse, the fantastic jewelry exhibit currently running at the Driehaus Museum (read all about my visit to that exhibit here and here). I was especially excited because I loved the exhibit and two of the speakers–Elyse Karlin and Yvonne Markowitz, had written jewelry books I really enjoyed.
Upon arrival, I got my first surprise of the day, I got to meet two fellow Instagrammers —Gem Gossip and Bell Flower Bay. These two ladies have an amazing feed and it was such a pleasure to meet them!
I’m happy to report that the conference was as interesting and absorbing as I could have hoped for. The speakers were clearly all experts in their respective fields and I certainly came away with a more in depth knowledge of the topic. Of course I took this opportunity to ask some of them to sign my books. Pictured below is Yvonne Markowitz, the first ever curator of the fabulous jewelry department of Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts.
What was even more cool about the conference was seeing all the fantabulous jewelry being more by the attendees. And since it was a jewelry conference, it was perfectly acceptable to admire the jewelry and ask to take pictures of them. Fortunately for me, everyone I asked agreed and now I can share them with you all.
I started with these fabulous rings from Daniele of Gem Gossip and Jenn of Bell Flower Bay. Aren’t these rings lovely?
This next lady is actually a descendant of Edmund Bokor, one of the silversmiths of the famed Chicago Art shop whic had its heyday during the early years of the 20th century. The jewelry she’s wearing were made by him.
I loved the matching bracelet with its massive amethyst.
This next lady had on a fabulous Art Nouveau horn pendant made by Elizabeth Bonté, whose delicate work is also featured in the Maker and Muse exhibit. She was very much inspired by Lalique and was one of the few jewelers specializing in the use of horn. These pieces of Elizabeth are quite rare now and it is very difficult to authenticate her signature.
Another lady came all the way from Australia to attend the conference. She and her husband are passionate collectors of jewelry and collectibles from the British Arts and Crafts movement. Of course her necklace of choice was a pretty silver and amethyst necklace from that period.
This pretty pearl piece is from the Boston School of Arts and Crafts and was made in 1910 by Josephine Hartwell Shaw. Pearls featured greatly in the Arts and Crafts movement but those chosen were chosen more for their aesthetic value rather than their intrinsic value. As such those that were asymmetric or irregularly shaped found their way to the jewelry of this period.
Another lady’s necklace featured the curved lines and enamel work that was very characteristic of the Art nouveau movement. This piece dates back to 1890.
But I’ve saved the best for last. One lady had on a fabulous Henri Vever pendant. Vever was one of the prominent jewelers in Paris during the turn of the century and he wrote what is probably the definitive work on 19th century French jewelry. He was also a collector of art, notably of Japanese art and prints. I’ve only ever seen his work in pictures or museums so it was a real treat to see one up close. Alas, I dared not ask to hold it. But I did manage to take a photo. It was a superb piece.