The Dazzling New MFA Jewelry Exhibit

Image courtesy of the MFA

The first, and frankly easiest observation to make about the new Jewels, Gems and Treasures: Ancient to Modern exhibition that opened last week at the Museum of Fine Arts is that yes, it is small. Roughly 75 pieces, nestled away in the new Rita J. and Stanley H. Kaplan Family Foundation Gallery, range from Nubian shells and tusks dating as early as 2400 B.C. to a 1990’s Harry Winston masquerade mask glittering with diamonds, rubies, and sapphires in an American flag motif. But while the vast amount of time represented by relatively few treasures means that no complete picture emerges of any one era, the impact lies not in the collection but in the tiny details.

Earrings and a brooch made from taxidermied hummingbirds are beset with ruby eyes. The 17th century German rosary shown here There are many different facets (pun duly noted) to take in. My personal favorites were the 17th century German rosary shown above, and a Verdura tiara from the 1950’s that mimics Native American feathers. Take the time to regard each piece with care, for detail makes the small limitless.