AFA Summer 2017 - page 84

here are jewels that take our breath away, flights of fancy wrought in precious metals and fine
gems admired not only for their value but for their artistry (Fig. 1). Then there are pieces we
choose to wear every day: a fashion necklace that makes a playful statement or classic pearl
earrings to match a suit, around which we spin anecdotes about where we found them or when
our betrothed “popped the question” (Fig. 2). Whether a fashionable accessory or a family
heirloom (Fig. 3), jewelry helps us tell stories about ourselves, our families, and our lives.
This spring Historic New England presents
Mementos: Jewelry
of Life and Love
, at the Eustis Estate in Milton, Massachusetts.
Shown with complementary textiles, portraits, and photographs,
the exhibition draws on Historic New England’s collection of
approximately 2,500 pieces of jewelry and related adornment,
spanning the eighteenth century to the present day.
Organized in themes that echo the storytelling power of
jewels—Celebrate, Remember, Tour, Collect, and Create—the
exhibition showcases souvenir charm bracelets, diamond brooches,
hair necklaces, and fashion jewelry worn in New England.
Exemplifying Historic New England’s jewelry collection is a silver
bracelet that belonged to Lydia Chace of Providence, Rhode
Island. It was possibly a gift from her mother, Ella (Fig. 4).
Engraved 1884 dimes, polished first to remove their original
Fig. 1
: Bracelet, New York City, ca. 1880. Charles Hein (working 1878-1880), patentee;
possibly Hale & Mulford (1872-1883), manufacturing jewelers, New York City. Gold. Historic
New England; Gift of the Stephen Phillips Memorial Charitable Trust for Historic Preservation
Jewelry of Life and Love
By Laura E. Johnson
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