Diamonds—to say nothing of emeralds, rubies, and sapphires— have long then the best friend of fashionable women and innovative jewelry designers. Jewelry masterworks also offer a window into different cultures and raise intriguing questions about human needs, desires, status, and the fashioning of identity. Stefanie Walker, lecturer for the Smithsonian-Mason MA Program in the History of Decorative Arts, highlights the major objects, makers, and trends from the 19th century to today and investigates jewelry in a variety of contexts.
10 to 11 a.m. Origins, Materials, and Techniques.
Gems, silver, gold; tiaras, earrings, necklaces, brooches, and rings.
11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Victorian Age and Belle Epoque
Influences from the Near East, India, and Japan. Revival styles: Gothic, Renaissance, and Rococo.
12:30 to 1:45 p.m. Lunch
Participants provide their own lunch.
1:45 to 2:45 p.m. Art Nouveau
Emphasis on naturalistic forms and unusual materials; Rene Lalique; the Arts and Crafts movement; Wiener Werkstaette; Louis Comfort Tiffany’s gem-studded pieces.
3 to 4:15 p.m. The Modern Era
The emergence of international companies: Faberge, Tiffany, and Cartier; Art Deco jewels; postwar pieces from Paul Flato, Fulco di Verdura, and Jean Schlumberger; 20th-century jewelry as art; Harry Winston and others.
To take a virtual tour of the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems, and Minerals in the Natural History Museum, click here.