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Art Jewelry Is Coming to the Driehaus Museum

Maker & Muse: Women and Early Twentieth Century Art Jewelry debuts this coming Valentine’s Day.

Frederick James Partridge (English, 1877-1942) for Liberty & Co. (English, established 1875), Tiara with Corn Design, c. 1900. Collection of Richard H. Driehaus.   Photo: John A. Faier, 2014, ©The Richard H. Driehaus Museum

They say that clothes make the man, but plenty of Golden Age movie stars and debutantes would surely add that jewelry makes the woman. See for yourself if all the buzz about diamonds being a girl’s best friend is true at the Driehaus Museum’s next major exhibition—Maker & Muse: Women & Early Twentieth Century Art Jewelry—which opens on Valentine’s Day 2015.

The exhibition will showcase the stunning jewelry collection of Richard H. Driehaus, who’s been privately collecting Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts jewelry since the ’90s, and this will be the first time the collection will be on display to the public. Along with Driehaus’ motherlode, the Chicago History Museum will be contributing gems, as will other museums and collectors all over America.

Like other art forms, jewelry production has cycled through trends and eras, and Art Jewelry isn’t just your everyday diamond solitaires. Art Jewelry was created between the late Victorian Era and World War I, a time when women’s roles in society were changing drastically and industrialization was reinventing the world. The jewelry reflects this exciting, tempestuous climate; curator Elyse Zorn Karlin cites a “rebellion against the strictures of the past and a look toward an exciting, less-encumbered future” as one of the driving forces behind the movement. It’s less restricting-diamond-choker and more delicate lines, imaginative shapes, and bright colors. You’ll want to reach through the glass and try the bijoux on yourself. (Please don’t.)

General admission is $20 for adults. For more information, visit DriehausMuseum.org/maker-and-muse.

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