Jewelry, the World's Oldest Art Form

By Sierra Petro


Last week was New York City's first week of events dedicated to jewelry and the art of jewelry making. The Print chronicled The Met's new jewelry exhibition, which opened Monday, and some NYC Jewelry Week events.


"Jewelry is the world's oldest art form," reads one of the first descriptions of the artifacts that fill The Met's new exhibition, Jewelry: The Body Transformed. The exhibition is a must-see and is on display until Feb. 24.


The exhibition shows the use of jewelry in relation to faith, culture, and practicality. What is special about jewelry in terms of fashion is that it is a luxury.


"Whether made from precious gems or sharpened pencils, these objects excite our desire to be looked at-- to flaunt and display," reads another description.


Below are two pictures from the exhibition. The first item is made from gold and the second from paper, paint, coal, glue, and linen.

Egyptian hair rings from the tomb of Princess Sithathoryunet, Lahun (ca. 1887-1813 B.C.). (Photo by Sierra Petro)

Necklace by Attai Chen (ca. 2011). (Photo by Sierra Petro)

We went to Artists and Flees in Soho next to speak to some artists that came for NYC Jewelry Week.


Esmeralda Ospina makes edible gems. Ospina's brand, For Love & Ganache, is a chocolate company based in New Jersey. Ospina was at the event with her son Diego, who works with gems as a jewelry designer. Ospina, who attended The International Culinary Center, collaborated with her son on the luxurious line of chocolates pictured below. The chocolates are made from molds of gems and are then hand-painted.

Some chocolate gems (all made with Fair Trade certified cocoa). We had a sample, and they taste as luxurious as they look. (Photo by Sierra Petro)

Jewelry is made for the body and crafted intricately by the body. At Artists and Flees, tips were posted to ensure a healthy body even through repetitive movements that are involved in making jewelry.

This installation about the body helped observers realize the physical labor that goes into making jewelry. (Photo by Sierra Petro)

Appreciation of hands. (Photo by Sierra Petro)

Emerging talent was also a part of NYC Jewelry Week. We met Maya Rose Weiss, who graduated from Pratt in May with a degree in jewelry design. Weiss learned how to do the weaving technique she used for her pieces displayed, in North Carolina at Penland School of Craft.


"The real interest with me in weaving is that I'm using this one piece of string that is so linear and that I can create these 3-D forms with it. Sometimes I'll hide things inside like wool, rose petals, and pearls," said Weiss.

Weiss' collection on display at Collect Whitespace, a pop-up exhibition. (Photo by Sierra Petro)

"I try to figure out new ways to weave into different shapes," said Weiss. The necklace pictured has a hollow feel. (Photo by Sierra Petro)

Which piece of jewelry do you like to display on your body? Join the conversation and let us know in the comments!

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