The Feel of the City: Jewelry from Centers of this World at Pforzheim Jewelry Museum
Jewelry pieces reflect the environment in which they are worn, and the vibrant social life found in large metropolises has always offered opportunities to wear beautifully crafted pieces, whether opulent or understated. Opening next week, The Feel of the City: Jewelry from Centers of this World at Pforzheim Jewelry Museum retraces the relationship between social situations and jewelry design through the centuries, with about 100 pieces some dating back to Ancient Rome.
A vibrant social life has always been fertile ground for a richly varied jewelry culture, explains Cornelie Holzach, the museum’s director and curator of the exhibition, noting that many skilled artisans settled in cities where sufficient people were able to afford expensive jewelry, so competition was fierce in such metropolises for interesting design and high craftsmanship. “In this exhibition we are spotlighting the interrelationship between jewelry and the history of culture with the focus on urban life,” she explained
The Middle Ages, for example, saw the development of the free cities, where wealthy burghers were numerous, and created a solid demand for jewelry. Later on, jewelry was often the “admission ticket” that opened the doors to life at court. Inspired by the atmosphere of the world’s metropolises, famous goldsmiths and jewelers created some magnificent pieces.
The exhibition includes early jewelry examples, such as gold pendant earring from Asia Minor (Troy) dating from 2400‑2200 BCE, and a bracelet delicately crafted from solid gold dating from the 1st century CE, as well as an impressive example of wedding jewelry created in the Renaissance: a parrot pendant lavishly decorated with gold, pearls, gemstones, and enamel.
The wide spectrum of jewelry objects also includes avant-garde Art Nouveau creations, a pair of elegant clip brooches created by Cartier and a sparkling Tiffany brooch featuring superbly cut gemstones. There is even an exquisite, stylish golden cigarette case by Tiffany that once belonged to the famous art collector and horticulturalist Bunny Mellon, a confidante of Jackie Kennedy. And, last but not least, an eccentric brooch, designed for fashion designer and Vogue editor Diana Vreeland by Jean Schlumberger before he became a long-serving designer for Tiffany.
The Feel of the City, Jewelry from Centers of this World is running at the Pforzheim Jewelry Museum July 7 to November 1, 2015.
as first published on BlouinArtinfo.com