Over the weekend, I had the immense pleasure to view Maker and Muse, the new exhibit on Women and Early 20th Century Art Jewelry at the Richard Driehaus Museum. I can’t tell you how wonderful it was. The words sumptuous and gorgeous, among many superlatives come to mind when trying to describe the 250 pieces of Art jewelry that is on display. The exhibit is spread out over 5 rooms in the museum (which by the way, merits a separate visit) and is divided into 5 themes–British Arts and Crafts, American Art Jewelry represented by Louis Comfort Tiffany, Jewelry as Art in Germany and Austria represented by the Jugendstil movement, French Art Nouveau and Chicago Arts and Crafts Jewelry. These different movements were unified in their rejection of industrialization and their desire to return to the artisan and the handmade. More importantly, they made extensive use of materials like silver, semi-precious stones and enamel that were previously considered not good enough for fine jewelry.
The exhibit is particularly resonant for me because it celebrates the work of some of the first women to work in the field of jewelry. Prior to the early 20th century, making jewelry wasn’t considered proper work for women. It took a significant cultural shift before it became acceptable for women to work in this field. As a jewelry designer, I owe a great deal to these pioneers.
Fortunately for us, the Museum allows photos to be taken as long as it is without flash so I can share with you some of the highlights. The exhibit will run until 2016 so if you have the chance, to see it, I highly recommend that you do so, you will not regret it.
Here now are some of the pieces on display. As this is a picture heavy post, please read on after the page break…