Masterpieces of American Jewellery Masterpieces of American Jewellery, the first museum exhibition to focus exclusively on America’s jewellery heritage, will be on display at the Gilbert Collection, Somerset House, London, from 15 Febr
his wife. The jewelled sculptures of a stallion and mare were commissioned by the American heiress Barbara Hutton from the well-known animal sculptor Herbert Haseltine who completed this three-year project in 1949 and drew his inspiration from India. The gold horses’ heads and necks are carapaced with rubies, sapphires, emeralds, diamonds and oriental pearls and stand 38.1 cm high on rock crystal bases.
Pastimes. Americans wanted jewellery that reflected their leisure interests, whether they were sporting activities (fishing, sailing, racing and hunting) or cultural (ballet). Claude Arpels’s friendship with the famous choreographer George Balanchine led Van Cleef & Arpels to create a series of exquisite jewelled, rose-cut diamond, platinum and gold ballerinas, inspired by the great dancer Anna Pavlova.
High Style. High society and Hollywood stars alike commissioned and wore stunning pieces of jewellery. Cole Porter commissioned Paul Flato in 1940 to make a dazzling aquamarine and ruby belt buckle necklace for his wife Linda while Joan Crawford favoured pieces by Raymond C. Yard such as her elegant 1935 diamond and platinum bracelet. Major pieces by Tiffany, Marcus & Co., Cartier, Paul Flato, Van Cleef & Arpels and Harry Winston, dating from the turn of the century to the 1990s, will be on show. Amongst the most extraordinary is a Crown of Thorns brooch designed by Jean Schlumberger in 1947 for Millicent Rogers, the Standard Oil heiress, in morganite, diamonds and gold, and the gold cuffs made by Van Cleef & Arpels for Jackie Kennedy Onassis. The two most recent pieces in the exhibition are a glittering blue butterfly of Montana sapphires, diamonds, silver and gold by Joel Arthur Rosenthal (JAR), circa 1987, and a Tahitian aubergine-coloured pearl necklace with a diamond and pearl clasp by Assael International from the 1990s.
This is the second major exhibition of jewellery to be staged at the Gilbert Collection, following Jewels of JAR two years ago which attracted some 50,000 visitors.
Notes to Editors
The National Jewelry Institute was established in 2002 as a non-profit organisation whose mission is the preservation of and education about fine jewellery. It also fosters and supports the training of students studying the jewellery trade, including sponsored apprenticeships, in order to help them learn the exacting techniques of fine jewellery craftsmanship and to perpetuate the integrity of this important artistic tradition.