Carnegie Museum of Natural History Presents Luxe Life: Masterpieces of American Jewelry

September 28, 2007

September 28, 2007 Pittsburgh, PA…The Carnegie Museum of Natural History is pleased to announce the opening of Luxe Life: Masterpieces of American Jewelry to coincide with the inauguration of the museum’s new Wertz Gallery: Gems and Jewelry on September 28, 2007.

Guest curated by Charlie Scheips, Luxe Life draws inspiration from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s long tradition and methodology of display of artifacts
and specimens for its world-class collection. The exhibit features three major tableaus in the museum’s newly installed Wertz Gallery that will house the museum’s permanent collections of gems and jewels as well as special exhibitions. These three major tableaus will feature masterpieces of American jewelry design spanning from the mid-19th century to the present by some of the country’s greatest jewelers and will be presented in specially created “natural” settings representing the flora, fauna, and celestial realms from which these important jewelry designers drew upon for inspiration. Major pieces by historic American jewelers such as Tiffany & Company, Traebert- Hoeffer-Mauboussin, the Newark Group, and Cartier as well as individual master designers such as Paul Flato, Alexander Calder, Donald Claflin, David Webb, Paul Gillot, Tina Chow, and Fred Leighton. Many contemporary American jewelry designers are also featured including Nicholas Varney, Joel Arthur Rosenthal (JAR), Michele Oka Doner, Lynn Nakamura, Ricardo Basta, and Katey Brunni.

The history of American jewelry reflects the history of America itself. Key pieces featured in the exhibition range from the nature-inspired and patriotic jewelry of the late 19th century, to fashion and Hollywood influenced work of the mid 20th century to the most important American jewelry designers working today. The exhibition includes a spectacular Alexander Calder necklace and tiara as well as a Mauboussin bracelet that was once owned by Mae West.

In all, the exhibit will be feature almost 100 pieces of stunning and historic jewelry. In addition to exhibiting Luxe Life, the new Wertz Gallery will also exhibit pieces from the museum’s extensive gems and jewelry collection. Wertz Gallery is named in honor of Ronald W. Wertz, longtime president of the Hillman Foundation. The creation of Wertz Gallery is part of the expansion and renovation of Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems which was opened in 1980. Exhibits in Hillman Hall present minerals in the manner of sculpture, shown for their beauty as well as their physical properties and economic uses. Luxe Life will be accompanied by a gallery brochure for visitors to the exhibition.

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